In yet another sign reflecting the growth of the Chinese luxury purchasing power, for the first time a Chinese model has appeared on the annual Forbes top-earning supermodels list.
Chinese supermodel Liu Wen became the fifth highest-earning model in the world, earning US$4.3 million over the past year, according to the latest Forbes ranking.
The 25-year-old Liu became the first Asian model to land some of the most coveted jobs – as a face of Estee Lauder and as a Victoria’s Secret Angel. Her rapid rise — in five years — is notable because it tracks with the emergence of China as a luxury market powerhouse, projecting to triple to more than 784 billion yuan by 2020.
The fashion industry is responding in a big way to China’s phenomenal growth. According to Elle’s booking editor, Rosie Bendandi, “In the past you would have been hard-pressed to find just one show using a Chinese girl, but this season 18 Asian girls walked in Milan, and over 30 in Paris.”
“It’s the major drive for the change in catwalk and advertising casting. In an effort to reach the Asian audience, the industry is employing girls who the customer can identify with.”
Liu is not the only model rising rapidly. As the Shanghaiist noted, “There has been a spate of international debuts for Chinese models in recent years. Fei Fei Sun was the first Chinese model to grace the front cover of Vogue Italia in January this year. Sui He became the first Asian face of Shiseido and went on to follow Liu Wen’s footsteps in becoming the second Chinese model to walk the hallowed Victoria’s Secret runway. Another Chinese model who has gained international recognition in recent years is Ming Xi. Huge names in the luxury fashion market such as Givenchy, Diane Von Furstenberg, Christian Dior, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander Wang have all been quite taken by her.”
photo credit: markus bollingmo