Yu’s ambition was to promote all of the designers and identify the ones that could be successful on a global scale with the appropriate funding and support. Last night, she awarded Chenpeng’s Peng Chen the top prize: one million renminbi, or $150,000; the opportunity to sell his collections at Harrods; and a year-long mentoring program with Only the Brave’s Renzo Rosso. Yu also announced three additional prizes: Susan Fang took home the Yu Prize Creative Pioneer Award in partnership with Piaget, a prize of 300,000 renminbi (or $45,000); Donsee10’s Danqi Chen picked up the Yu Prize Sustainability Champion award in partnership with Rémy Martin for a bag made from “grape leather” upcycled from the winemaking process, with a prize of 100,000 renminbi, or $15,000; and At-One-Ment’s Wanbing Huang won the Yu Prize Infinite Beauty award in partnership with Yumee for a project inspired by the makeup brand’s signature lipstick, with a prize of 100,000 renminbi, or $15,000.
“I hope to build our own e-commerce team with the prize fund,” Chen tells Vogue. “Because of COVID-19, it [has] become crucial for designers [to] not only think about how to express their creative ideas, but also make sure customers can understand our creativity without the presence of a physical show or traditional retail environment. I always think that good ideas should be easily understood, and the more people, the better. E-commerce is the most essential tool of all in this day and age. We have seen such success stories. And I am hoping to launch a model that’s suited for a designer brand like us. In addition, as part of a young generation of Chinese designers, I would like to do my part in ensuring the global success of ‘created in China.’ ”
In the next few months, Yu and her team will introduce Chen and the other winners to contacts throughout the industry to nurture their businesses in China and abroad. “It really helped to have a local, but also truly global jury when evaluating the finalists,” Yu adds. “We hoped to find winners that can be successful in their home market as well as around the world.”
For those in Shanghai, all 16 finalists’ collections will be displayed in “The New Wave of Chinese Fashion” exhibition at HKRI Taikoo Hui mall until April 25. Read more about the prize at yu-holdings.com.