What the Chinese Student Outcomes for Fashion | Intelligence, BoF Professional | Instant News


London, United Kingdom – For 24-year-old Serena Wang, the plan is to get a bachelor’s degree and start a master’s program in business management at a London university in the fall. Then came Covid-19.

Last month, Mr. Wang’s family persuaded him to postpone his lifestyle in London – shopping at Selfridges, a weekend trip to Paris – was arrested. “The virus itself is still and is still a major concern, but everything related to class is in the air,” Wang said at Zoom’s call from his family home in Chengdu, where life has largely returned to normal. “My parents are also worried about revival [anti-China] hate crime so we wait to see what happens. “

Wang is not alone. A survey published in April by the British Council revealed that about a quarter of respondents (Chinese students who were scheduled to study abroad in the UK) tended to cancel or postpone their plans.

The virus itself is and is still a major concern, but everything related to class is in the air.

Over the years, students from the mainland – more than 40 percent of the UK international cohort last year and 33 percent in the US and Canada – have brought large spending habits with them. NAFSA nonprofit education estimates that between 2017 and 2018, Chinese students contribute $ 13 billion to the US economy, while Chinese state media, China Daily reports that they spend an average of £ 2 billion ($ 2.4 billion) in the UK each year.

These expenses exceed tuition and accommodation, extend to retail, luxury and hospitality. And whether students postpone their plans to study abroad or cancel it altogether, fashion schools, luxury brands and the broader industrial ecosystem in places like New York and London will feel the ripple effect.

Live (and study) at home

For some students, a change of plan will be a temporary blip. “Those who want to go abroad will wait to go to them dream school, “ the word Tasha Liu, founder of the Shanghai Labelhood based incubator designer. Liu argues that, although the decline in overseas Chinese studies can last for a year or two, globalization will last international education will still exist interesting choice for some people. But for others, that won’t happen.

It doesn’t help that after the global Covid-19 outbreak, anti-Asian sentiment is at an all-time high. Last month, UN Secretary General António Guterres warned that the pandemic had spurred “a tsunami of hatred and xenophobia, scapegoating and unrest,” while data from the London metropolitan police showed that racial crimes against Asians, especially Chinese descendants, rose 66 percent from the same period of the year. then. In Arkansas, senators Tom Cotton and Marsha Blackburn this week launched a “Secure Campus Act” bill that would restrict student visas for Chinese STEM graduates.

Respond to reports that the Trump administration is working canceled the visas of thousands of Chinese postgraduate students based in the US and researchers who have ties to universities affiliated with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News, “They should not be here in our spy schools.”

For people like Wang, these reports become harder to ignore. “One of [my friends] I was looking for work in the city and decided to search in Shanghai and Chengdu instead. “

Western universities – including fashion schools – have grown financially dependent on Chinese citizens, who as foreign students in Britain for example can pay almost triple the local costs. An exodus on the scale of a survey conducted by the British Council will hit institutions where it hurts.

The school has prepared itself for the overall decline. The University of England’s education agency warned that the impact of the crisis on international student fees could mean the loss of £ 7 billion (about $ 8.5 billion) in lost revenue for the coming academic year – equivalent to one third of all tuition fees. Meanwhile, the Australian University estimates that losses could add up to 14 percent of total revenue this year.

Those who want to go abroad will wait to go to the school of their dreams.

“Filling up the majority of the funds will not be possible,” he said Olya Kuryshchuk, founder and editor in chief of 1Granary, a creative platform that connects students and graduates from major fashion schools such as CSM and the New York Parsons Design School. He predicted that the less prestigious players would be hit hardest and expect schools to start combining courses – or cancel everything.

London Art University (where CSM and London College of Fashion is a constituent) declined to comment for this story. Parsons, who closed his building at the end of March, “had to face some harsh reality due to the Covid-19 crisis,” fashion dean Jason Kass told the BoF.

“There will be lots of empty places that will be filled by schools by opening up a much wider group of students, which will drain the last talent from less prestigious schools,” Kuryshchuk said. A silver line, he added, is that top fashion schools will be encouraged to release “sub-standard” programs to offset cost reductions.

Some suggest that change can be beneficial fashion school in China – at least in the short term – such as Shanghai Donghua University and the Beijing Fashion Technology Institute, which have a reputation for focusing on technical skills that will get graduates employed with big brands because of creativity. “We are a brief moment of advanced Chinese fashion education,” Kuryshchuk said. The surge in demand for fashion programs locally will also encourage investment by and joint programs with foreign fashion institutions and groups, added Ortelli & Co. Implementing Partner Mario Ortelli.

“I can’t imagine the Chinese fashion industry not taking this opportunity [upgrade] their own fashion education system is strong and stores talent and funds at home, “Kuryshchuk said.

Extracurricular Fees

Cost is not the only thing paid by Chinese students when studying abroad.

Living in cities like London – short Eurostar or long flights from Milan or Paris – means visiting Chinese students and friends and family can comfortably buy European fashion brands and develop deeper ties with labels and retailers. “Chinese students really like shopping,” said designer Susan Fang, who graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2015. “Some of me [student] friends are Selfridges VIP clients and every time their family visits them, they will buy lots of luxury goods. “

Chinese customers accounted for 90 percent of growth in the luxury market last year and pre-pandemic, 83 percent of the country’s millionaires plan to send their children to study abroad. According to Ortelli, several brands can be expected to be affected if Chinese students leave large numbers of foreign universities. “International learning is a positive thing for luxury brands and has been growing until now.”

However, he noted that reactive brands can avoid sales losses by rethinking their store chains and allocating appropriate inventory – something they should have done because Covid-19 accelerated the repatriation of luxury spending to the mainland. Each city (and every point of sale within the city) will be affected differently depending on various factors, including exposure to Chinese students.

If you study in Shanghai and stay at home, you might get more income and spend more on luxury.

“If I look at luxury spending in Vancouver, a big component is done by Chinese students and their visitors. Changes in the flow of international students must make them rethink their footprint there, “Ortelli said. “If I’m in New York or Paris, they don’t carry as much weight and therefore my distribution there is not very affected,” Ortelli said.

Even though living or being near the brand home market is very good for brand awareness, luxury players who invest smartly in retail experience and digital marketing in China can still benefit in the long run. “If you study in Shanghai and live at home, you might get more income that can be thrown away and spend more on luxury. So there is no exact formula, “Ortelli said.

From School to Showroom

In recent years, Chinese designers have honed their craft at institutions abroad – such as Fang, Samuel Gui Yang, Shushu / Tong, Angel Chen and Ximon Lee, just to name a few – helped put the country’s fashion industry on the map.

“Through studying abroad and building their business in Shanghai, special and talented young designers are building bridges between China’s growing fashion industry and other capitals,” said Liu from Labelhood. “They are critical of this globalization. Altogether greater than the sum of its parts. “

Fang, for example, said that missing attendance at top fashion schools could deter many prospective fashion students from valuable opportunities in the industry. “I’ll be devastated if I can’t go to [Central Saint Martins]… I can’t imagine what my career is like now. You cannot learn this online. “

And although the demand for study abroad will eventually return post-pandemic, there are other forces at play. Kuryshchuk points out that Covid-19 only accelerated the exodus of not only Chinese students, but international students in general, from the British fashion industry. “Don’t forget Brexit, rising costs for international students, in fact so [almost] it is impossible for graduates to get a visa or job after graduation [or] brand launch speed and then fails. “

In terms of changes and disruptions in the fashion education system, the potential departure of Chinese students is only one piece of the puzzle. Kuryshchuk noted that the rise of lesser-known European institutions – such as Paris’ IFM and the Swedish School of Textile – and opportunities that developed across Europe meant that other capitals would make London run for money. “The British fashion industry and we all need to work hard to ensure Britain remains at the top of the fashion pyramid.

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