Main content

China in Vogue

Jessie Levene looks at the rise of China's magazine culture, its link to consumerism, and the changing face of Chinese fashion.

China’s Vogue, along with Cosmopolitan, Elle and other high-end fashion magazines, has a large and growing readership in China. When magazines like Vogue start up in a country, it means that there’s an emerging market ready for a new level of lifestyle – as was the case in China in 2005.

On its first print run of 300,000, Vogue China sold out on the first morning. Today, Victoria Beckham appears on the cover and it's seen as the ultimate authority on style and luxury, teaching China's budding fashionistas about a world utterly inaccessible to them only a generation ago.

The Chinese are learning quickly – for in the pages of China's magazines, amongst the familiar names of Armani, Gucci and Prada, you'll also find a growing number of home-grown brands, such as Vega Zaishi Wang, who are challenging the stereotypes of the 'Made in China' label.

As part of the BBC’s Freedom 2014 season, journalist Jessie Levene who lived in China for three years, returns to tell the story of the rise of China's magazine culture, its link to consumerism, and the changing face of Chinese fashion. Jessie speaks to editors, photographers, designers and cultural commentators to build up a picture of how Chinese women are thinking both globally and locally as they create a new Chinese female identity.

Interviewees include Angelica Cheung - Editor of China Vogue, Vega Zaishi Wang - fashion designer, Isabelle Pascal, founder and proprietor of Wuhao Concept Store which aims to showcase Chinese designers.

(Photo: Designs from China Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2014. Credit: Feng Li/Getty Images)

Available now

29 minutes

Broadcasts

Featured in...

Congo: A River Journey in binaural audio

Congo: A River Journey in binaural audio

Put your headphones on for an immersive journey along the mighty Congo River in the DRC

Space

Space

Stargazing - from eclipses to the spacecraft changing our view of the Universe

The Documentary Podcast

The Documentary Podcast

Every episode of The Documentary, on your mp3 player, to play wherever you are

The Compass

The Compass

The essential take on big ideas, issues and trends from the 21st century