China Sustainability Influencer; Founder of Yehyehyeh; Group Style Editorial Director of Modern Media Group
Shaway Yeh represents one of the most influential media and opinion leaders on fashion in the Greater China region. From the editorial director role of Modern Weekly, Yeh has risen to become the group style editorial director for the magazine’s parent company, Modern Media. She is also in charge of the creative development of the group's latest venture Modern Mobile Digital Media.
Under Yeh, Modern Weekly has become a unique proposition among Chinese fashion and lifestyle publications by projecting a progressive, edgy lens onto a highbrow magazine format with a weekly circulation of over 900,000 readers across the country.
Born in Taiwan, Yeh was educated at New York University and began her career as the fashion director of GQ Taiwan and also founded independent style magazine aRUDE while still in New York. In 2003, she moved to Shanghai in preparation of the launch of Vogue China before shifting to Prada to helm its communications team in the region.
As a key opinion leader on fashion and design within the Chinese market, she has been invited to speak at industry conferences and events for companies and panels such as Walpole British Luxury, Hong Kong Art Fair, Rado Young Design Prize, Asian Wall Street Journal Innovation Award, and more.
As a curator, Yeh has worked with the China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) as well as stylist Nicola Formichetti and luxury department store Lane Crawford on special exhibitions. In 2013, coinciding with the launch of Modern Media's breakthrough fashion app iFASHION, she curated a special section “Fashion Films from China” for ASVOFF at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
In our second installment of Master Talks in WeDesign’s Executive Education in Sustainable Fashion series, Simon Collins speaks with key opinion leader, Shaway Yeh about the evolution and influence of her work in fashion and sustainability. From former editor to now sustainability consultant for major fashion brands, Shaway Yeh is at the vanguard of understanding the future trajectory of sustainability in the fashion industry in China and the potential of these corporations can be innovative and make change.
CHINA, FASHION & SUSTAINABILITY
In this week’s installment of Master Talks from our Executive Education in Sustainable Fashion program, Shaway Yeh, China sustainability influencer, consultant and key opinion leader (KOL) is interviewed for her insight and projections on the future of sustainability efforts in fashion, particularly within China. As one of the leading voices fashion and sustainability from China and the West, Yeh, works to promote an informed and educated approach to adoption of sustainability initiatives. As the former Editorial Director of Modern Weekly, Yeh initiated a series of sustainability columns within the magazine after attending and being inspired by the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, where she has served as an advisor. She applauds Copenhagen Fashion Week’s determination to set sustainability participation standards and for the candor of the Summit’s speakers and programming.
Following her long and prestigious career in journalism, Yeh attended Harvard University to receive a continuing education certificate in Corporate Sustainability and Innovation. Currently as a consultant, Yeh works with Chinese companies to educate them on the current landscape of sustainability and also advises them on how to transform their brand for a long-term future, understanding their full corporate strategy.
Yeh highlights China’s concern and awareness about a range of issues relating to sustainability beyond fashion-- around general safety for air, water, food, and health and believes that the commitment to sustainability in fashion in China stems from an investment for sustainability in numerous areas. Yeh highlights that China plays an important and leading part on both sides of the value chain within fashion- as a consumer but also importantly as a former major producer and manager of production. It is in the former that Yeh feels brilliant innovation lies- solutions to problems within the fields of in logistics, service, and innovative business models.
Yeh highlights Chinese fashion companies leading the way on sustainability such as Y Closet, Icicle, Ph5, and independent designer Zhang Na. She additionally highlights her work with ERDOS, one of the most well-known fashion brands in China, as among the most exciting possibilities for change as their product was featured on the Vogue China issue in January 2020. Yeh ultimately feels that globally, the overarching business model of the fashion industry must change and encourages companies to be brave in tackling the environmental challenges of the future.
“Fundamentally I think we need to change the business model [of fashion]. It doesn’t matter how many innovative materials you use or... if you recycle everything. But, who will be brave enough to disrupt their own business model?”
Sustainable Fashion: How Chinese Brands Are Going Green (South China Morning Post): https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/fashion-beauty/article/3040013/sustainable-fashion-how-chinese-brands-are-going-green
Copenhagen Fashion Summit: https://www.copenhagenfashionsummit.com/
Copenhagen Fashion Summit Sustainability Action Plan: https://copenhagenfashionweek.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/CPHFW-SUSTAINABILITY-ACTION-PLAN-2020-2022.pdf
Sustainability Certificates from Harvard: https://www.extension.harvard.edu/sustainability
Shanghai Has Tough New Recycling Rules (World Economic Forum): https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/07/shanghai-has-tough-new-recycling-rules-and-it-will-stop-collecting-trash-from-communities-that-dont-comply/
“Kering Holds First “K Generation Talk & Award Ceremony” for Sustainable Innovation in China”: https://www.kering.com/en/news/kering-holds-first-k-generation-talk-award-ceremony-for-sustainable-innovation-in-china
Vogue Editors Pledge to be Socially Responsible, Representative: https://wwd.com/business-news/media/vogue-editors-pledge-to-be-socially-responsible-representative-1203389577/
Zhang Na/ Reclothing Brand: http://www.shanghaifashionweek.com/en/node/110
Extended Producer Responsibility (European Union): https://ec.europa.eu/environment/archives/waste/eu_guidance/introduction.html
What major impact can a KOL like Shaway Yeh have on sustainability in fashion? Why is their voice an important part of the sustainability conversation?
Which Chinese brands do you think have the biggest potential to make sustainable change?
Where do you think China’s biggest sustainable impact could come from?
Q: How has your fashion marketing training/degree helped you craft your the campaigns such as #YellowLikeALemon, #OneDressToImpress and #WeSeaThrough?
A: “Understanding the Environmental Impact of a Pair of Levi’s ® 501® Jeans”: Levi Strauss Life Cycle Assessment: https://levistrauss.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Full-LCA-Results-Deck-FINAL.pdf
Q: You use Instagram as a platform to harness the power of the image to communicate your environmental commitment and priorities. How have you been inspired by this platform to effect change?
A: “Profits Through Principles”: Levi Strauss Code of Business Conduct: http://levistrauss.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/CodeofConduct_English.pdf