A Feel For Fashion: Tianwei Zhang


Tianwei Zhang is WWD’s London/China market editor, and he has a keen eye for emergent talent not just from these locations, but worldwide. A fashion obsessive, Zhang can be seen at the shows in his signature forward-thinking style (he often wears a look from said emergent talent), capturing content and taking it all in. He started his career at the age of 17, and has contributed to the Chinese editions of Vogue, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, and GQ. He also launched the Business of Fashion’s China edition. He resides in London.


What creates an emotional response for you in fashion today?

This would either be original ideas or great productions. Denzilpatrick's Spring 2024 collection, for example, is packed with lots of fun and original ideas and it's all about the clothes. Often you hear designers talking about their big ideas, then what ends up on the runway doesn't really live up to those grand concepts, so it's good to see someone as seasoned as Daniel Gayle being able to talk the talk and walk the walk at the same time. In terms of big productions, I think most of those who attended Pharrell Williams' Louis Vuitton menswear debut would agree that he really pulled it off. Getting things done at a scale like that is not a game for the faint of heart. I can't wait to see what comes six months from now.


What are you most curious to know about how designers work, how a collection comes together?

It's always the execution part. Having good ideas is not hard; what's hard is how you bring those ideas into reality, especially on a production scale in a way that people can resonate with — and eventually pay good money for. 


In what ways are you seeing progress in fashion mirroring progress in the wider world?

The increasing amount of global talents showing their new collections in Paris is solid proof that the fashion industry is getting more democratic and more accepting of new ideas. With fashion spending on the rise in developing nations, fashion brands from these places are looking for a global stage to take their business to the next level, and I am happy to see that Paris has been welcoming them with open arms, giving them a platform to reach a wider crowd. This is real progress to me. 


If you could change one aspect of how we experience fashion today, what would it be?

I think today's fashion system works the way it does for a reason, but if there is one thing that can be improved, I hope that show producers can be more aware of the working conditions in the venues. Take ventilation, for example, especially as climate change has now altered the conditions. Getting a few more powerful air conditioners would make a big difference to all. 


What stands out as the most potentially disruptive influence on fashion in the near future?

 More fashion brands are positioning themselves as cultural arbiters, with the changing media landscape and how powerful some brands are becoming on social media channels. I think more changes are ahead of us in terms of how information is being created, communicated, and digested. 


This interview has been lightly edited.