Summer Abroad China - Instructor

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Global Fashion in China

Program Instructor - China

Adele Zhang


Adele Zhang received her B.S. in Industrial Design with a specialization in Apparel Design and worked in the fashion industry and textile trading business for years before she moved to California for her M.F.A. in Textile Arts & Costume Design at UC Davis.

She joined the faculty team of the Department of Design in 2006. Throughout the past decade, she has taught a wide range of fashion courses from Introduction to Structural Design for Fashion to the capstone class, Signature Collection – Senior Fashion Show. With her multicultural background and expertise in fashion design and business practice, Adele is making links between wearable product design and its real world application, where actuality and innovation are both being challenged. 

Adele also serves as the curator for the UC Davis Design Collection. She advocates human centered research and a practical approach to design in both her teaching and curating activities. Partnering with the UC Davis Women’s Cardiovascular Medicine Program, Adele has guided fashion design students to create the UC Davis Red Dress Collection for Women’s Heart Health Campaign since 2010. Each year in February, new designs are unveiled at the UC Davis Women’s Heart Care Education and Awareness Forum in Sacramento during National Heart Month. By bringing this lively project into her classroom and expanding the Design Collection, Adele inspires her students to design with creative thinking, hands-on making, and human interaction.

A Message to Students and Parents

"Before I moved to California, I studied and practiced fashion design while witnessing the structural changes in the textile and apparel industry as a result of the economic policy changes in China during the past decades. The rapid development of design culture and globalization has advanced China as a front-runner in today’s fashion competition. Meanwhile, as manufacturers vanish in the States, our design students have been distanced from reality checks in design process.

In the design world, actuality and innovation are two parallel pillars that are built on top of knowledge and experience. To achieve this balance, designers need to take journeys beyond the classroom. I will bring you to the crossroads where Chinese tradition encounters western influence — the Yangtze River Delta Metropolitan. We first stay in my hometown, Wuxi, a city with 3,000 years of history, where you can discover the extraordinary quality of textile works and silk products. By high-speed train or bus, we will travel to Shanghai and its surrounding cities to visit many museums and factories, including ones that produce clothing for Zara, Ralph Lauren, and big box stores such as Wal-Mart and Target. The breathtaking moment when you see the massive production operations could be a pivotal point of your understanding of design.

During our excursions, we will also have the chance to meet the local people, enjoy the historical oriental gardens, colonial architecture, and authentic cuisine. This exposure to different cultures could be a once in a lifetime experience to reshape your design philosophy and life attitudes. I hope my international network can benefit your future studies in fashion design and its related careers."