Wang Tao. [Provided by Taoray Wang]
Wang Tao, 49, is a costume designer who entered into the public's view recently. She has designed a white dress for President Donald Trump's youngest daughter Tiffany Trump, which Tiffany wore to the presidential inauguration on January 20.
This is the first time a Chinese designer has designed a dress for a member of the American "first family". Tiffany had chosen Wang's clothing as early as the first and third presidential election debates in 2016.
Wang was born in Beijing and was sent to Japan when she was young. She then returned to China and studied history at East China Normal University.
After graduation, the idea of studying design was sparked in her mind and she decided to get another bachelor degree in creative design from Tokyo Mode Gaguen in Japan.
However, Wang's family strongly opposed her decision. From their point of view, it was hard to become a top designer and creative design studies would be unlikely to get her a job in the future.
Although she faced various queries from those surrounding her, Wang still got her second diploma in Japan and worked as an assistant of Junko Koshino, a Japanese designer, and later as chief assistant designer and the representative of Koshino's brand in the Chinese market.
Having worked in Japan for several years, Wang felt that the local environment was not conduicive for women to develop their future careers. So she continued her studies in Europe when she was 30 years old and became the design director of the women's wear brand the Rebel Belle in England.
In 2005, thanks to the recommendation of Lu Yan, a Chinese supermodel, Wang was hired as a designer at The Broadcast, a Chinese women's wear brand.
The annual sales volume of The Broadcast was only 200 million yuan (U.S.$ 29,076,952) when Wang joined the company. So she decided to help the company transform, paying more attention to urban white-collar women and bringing concise and agile European style into her designs.
"We have carried out market research which shows that many consumers have high levels of education, with the majority of them having studied overseas," Wang said. "China will be geared to international standards sooner or later," she added.
However, the pieces from their first season received many queries due to the new style and some key clients even refused to purchase the clothes. Wang had to explain her design ideas and finally made a compromise to add 30 percent of the old style of clothing back to see the market reaction.
The sales results proved Wang's decision was the right one when the new style clothes sold out quickly and the old ones were left on the shelves. In the winter of the following year, clients requested an additional 3 million down jackets in Wang's design compared with previous years.
Having received recognition from the market, Wang started to participate in brand management. By 2013, the company's sale volumes had reached 2 billion yuan (U.S.$ 290 million). The Broadcast had 944 shops in 30 provinces across China by March 2015 and applied for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the same year.
In addition, Wang also established her own brand Taoray Wang and became the first Chinese designer to be listed in New York Fashion Week.
In February 2016, Tiffany Trump went to New York Fashion Week for Wang's show. She met Wang backstage and expressed her appreciation of Wang's designs. What surprised Wang was that Tiffany would wear her designs at such important occasions.
Talking about her brand, Wang prefers to describe her clients as global leading women and says she wanted to help these professional women have suitable clothes for their needs at various kinds of events.
Wang also has a clear self-positioning of her work, as she believes that she is not just selling clothes but is also a designer providing people with a service to improve their personal image.
"Consumers already have a sense of their own style but they may not find the right way to show it. I hope I can read my clients' minds and help them choose the best options to fit their jobs, identities, characters, bodies and occasions with my specialized knowledge," she said.
Tiffany Trump wears Wang Tao's design at the presidential inauguration on January 20. [sohu.com]
(Source: sohu.com/Translated and edited by Women of China)