Where I come from, a long tunic with side slits and with (or without) a Mandarin collar is called a kurta. When I started seeing a whole host of kurtas in the coolest of lookbooks by up-and-coming designers, I was pretty excited. I thought, "I already own that. I can look cool without spending $325 on a 'long shirt.'" After all, people in the subcontinent have been sporting these for a couple of 100 years, at least.
Chinese designer Ming Yin was probably thinking along the same lines with her latest collection for her brand, Three Animals. The Paris-based designer turned back to Asia when it came to her design philosophy, using indigo-dyed fabrics and hand-woven textiles from India and China. As a result, her work demonstrates an elegant hybridization of Eastern and Western elements. Bomber jackets, now ubiquitous, are reworked in crumpled textile. Mandarin-collar shirts and blazers come in easy, lighter cottons. Trousers are dramatically pleated for a stylish, slouched fit.
Whereas plenty of designers borrow from other cultures without much thought about credit or provenance, Yin's work has her origins in mind. It's now commonplace for American consumers to identify "Made in China" labels with poor quality, a prejudice that Yin is working against by sourcing much of her fabrics from and producing all her garments in China. By doing so, the designer proves that "Made in China" can mean high-quality construction, top-notch materials and an excellent product. The caliber of Three Animals' lookbook can attest to that.