BEIJING: Interest in Chinese fashion brands has leapt following the appearance of Peng Liyuan, the president's wife, in a domestic label during an overseas state visit.

After fashion bloggers identified her outfit as being the work of Exception, based in Guangzhou, the company reported VIP clients were asking about the clothes she had worn, while its website crashed due to the volume of traffic. One store sold out of handbags similar to the one she had carried.

Industry insiders hope the attention paid to Exception will now rub off on the wider fashion industry.

Angelica Cheung, editorial director of Vogue China, told China Radio International the buzz would create new opportunities for Chinese labels that are competing with Western counterparts.

She noted that Chinese designers have started gaining global recognition as well as attention from home consumers, who have more "confidence and understanding" regarding domestic brands.

But she also pointed out that the Chinese companies spend far less on branding than their foreign rivals.

"Domestic companies are encountering fierce competition. Higher standards should be introduced and promoted," Cheung said.

Su Baoyan, acting president of the China Fashion Association, observed that China's fashion industry lacks top designers.

"Good designers are not only creative, but also able to take control of the entire process from production to marketing," Su said.

The Beijing News also weighed in with an editorial calling for more premium-quality domestic products rather than seeking profits through volume.

The paper noted that the trend that Peng has sparked might lead to the public paying more attention to Chinese clothing brands, giving such labels a rare opportunity.

Data sourced from China Radio International; additional content by Warc staff