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*From Design to Retail: China's Fashion Industry

Shanghai, China ; Suzhou, China

IntroductionAcademicsLocation Faculty program director CostsDatesApplication



The MU International Center sponsors this summer, faculty-led program in collaboration with the Department of Textile and Apparel Management. MU professor Li Zhao will lead this three-credit program in Shanghai and Suzhou, China.

Experience China's role in the global apparel and textile supply chain firsthand. As the world's leading producer of textile and apparel goods, China offers the opportunity to observe the entire supply chain of the fashion industry. On this program, you will visit clothing manufacturers, fabric markets and shopping malls throughout the design districts of Shanghai and Suzhou. Being immersed in the industry in China offers an incredible competitive advantage when preparing for a career in the textile and apparel industry. You will also explore the cultural hubs of Shanghai and Suzhou, and will have the opportunity to learn about traditional handcrafts and take an in-depth look at the silk market of Suzhou.



You will be enrolled in one MU course for a total of three credits.

TAM 4549: International Experiential Learning in Textiles and Apparel or TAM 7999: Advanced Apparel Manufacturing and Merchandising (3) — This course is designed to provide you with relevant applications of the industry as it pertains to the host country while also enriching your awareness with cultural experiences, historical visits and practical, hands-on, field-based study.

Academic credit

You will be enrolled in actual MU courses. You are guaranteed to receive MU credit for successfully completed courses; however, you must work with your academic adviser(s) to obtain pre-approval as to how courses might fulfill degree requirements.

MU students: Grades will calculate into your MU GPA and appear on your MU transcript when grades are recorded by the faculty program director. You must work with your academic adviser(s) to obtain pre-approval as to how the courses might fulfill degree requirements.

Non-MU/visiting students: Transcripts will be issued from MU and can be mailed to your home university. You must work with your home university to determine how credit from the program will transfer. The MU International Center will issue one transcript per student to one domestic address, as indicated on your Non-MU Student Application for Study Abroad. Additional MU transcripts for study abroad must be requested and purchased from the MU Registrar.


Host program

Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology-CF Fashion Industrial Park has a long history of entrepreneurship in fashion and design, cultural inheritance and innovation. BIFT has worked on a full range of fashion design, including space suits and athletic wear. In 2016, BIFT designed clothing for Chinese athletes competing in the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. It is also home to the renowned Ethnic Costume Museum, which has a collection of more than 10,000 pieces of ethnic costumes, accessories, textiles, batiks and embroideries.

Accommodations and meals

You will stay in shared rooms in the Meiju Hotel or similar. Each room will house two students, and you will have a bathroom and Wi-Fi access.

Host cities and surrounding areas

Shanghai is a thoroughly modern city, nicknamed the "Paris of the East," and features a heavy influence from Western business, culture and architecture. You will be full immersed in the multicultural way of life in this metropolis. Shanghai is the best place to shop, with luxury name brands, pop-up boutiques, vintage shops, markets and designer outlets. Beyond clothing, enjoy meals from any of the 23 Chinese provinces or cuisine from more than 20 countries. The city is full of wonderful tea and coffee houses, and offers a vibrant nightlife unlike what you'll find anywhere else in the world. Between the countless sites to see and entertainment venues, you'll barely scratch the surface of what Shanghai has to offer.

If Shanghai is the "Paris of the East," the Suzhou is the "Venice of the East." Known for its gardens, canals and water towns, Suzhou has so much to offer. Silk production and manufacturing in this region provides an interesting glimpse into the Chinese textile industry. In addition to silks, other popular products in this area include jade jewelry, pearls and Biluochun tea.


You will travel with the group, but will have opportunities to explore some sites independently during your time abroad.

Tentative itinerary

  • May 24: Depart U.S.
  • May 25: Arrive in Shanghai
  • May 26: BIFT-CF Fashion Industry Park, Chenfeng Group (Jiangsu), Yu Garden, Nanjing Road/The Bund
  • May 27: Chenfeng Group (Jintan), seminar on intelligent production
  • May 28: 3D fashion design software, Coloro, lecture on start-up business in China's fashion industry
  • May 29: Suzhou Silk Museum, Suzhou Museum, Humble Administrator's Garden, Kunqu Opera
  • May 30: Wuxi Purple Sand Teapot Museum, Lingshan Town
  • May 31: Haining Leather Museum, BIFT-Haining Fashion Industry Park
  • June 1: Shanghai Xintiandi, Jing An Kerry Centre, K11 Art Mall, OUUYAA and Grace Chen brand visits
  • June 2: Return to U.S.

Faculty program director

MU faculty member Li Zhao, associate professor of textile and apparel management, will accompany the students to China.

Faculty-led programs enrich the study abroad experience as well as the MU campus by providing students with opportunities to study other cultures and disciplines in depth while gaining new perspectives on our own society. Faculty leaders serve as mentors, role-models and resources as students explore their host institution and country.

Li Zhao

Li Zhao

Dr. Li Zhao is an assistant professor in the MU Department of Textile and Apparel Management. Her teaching experience is dynamic in not only course content but also cultural diversity. She has taught courses in China and the United States in product development, luxury fashion markets and global consumers. She utilizes her experience and interaction with students to integrate real-world situations and challenges into the course content, projects and related assignments in order to better prepare students for their future careers.

Dr. Zhao's primary research interest is the entrepreneurial spirit in emerging technologies (big data and social network analysis, direct digital manufacturing) and sustainable development in the global textile and apparel supply chain. Her research can be categorized as interdisciplinary, with aspects of textile and apparel management, informatics and data science, and business studies. She has published more than 30 research papers in diverse international referred journals, book chapters and conferences for the aforementioned research domains.


Program budget

Additional expenses

In addition to the program costs paid to MU, you will have expenses associated with international travel and living abroad. The amounts listed are estimated costs based on current exchange rates and on the information provided to us by your host institution and past participants. Depending on your personal spending habits, you may spend more or less than the figures provided.

Please note that these expenses do not include vacation travel or sightseeing.

Financial aid information

If you are awarded financial aid for study abroad, it will be applied to your MU account according to the regular financial aid disbursement schedule. Reminder: You must be enrolled in study abroad and have completed the required financial aid forms for study abroad in order to be considered for aid.

Because non-resident tuition charges apply, MU students should be eligible to use non-resident scholarships toward program costs.

Dates and deadlines

Term Application deadline Program start Program end
Summer 2019 02/15/2019
Summer 2020 02/15/2020 05/25/2020 06/02/2020


We are delighted that you are applying to study abroad. This is the first step of your journey, and while there is a lot to do, it should not be overwhelming. Once you start an application for the program, you will have an electronic checklist to help you through the process. In addition, our study abroad staff are available to answer your questions.

  1. Meet with the International Center study abroad adviser listed in the program snapshot if you have any questions.
  2. Start an application using the button below if you are an MU student.
    • Non-MU students should visit our page for non-MU participants for more information about the application process.
    • Once you have started an application, you can return to it later by logging in to myStudyAbroad (see the button at the top of the page).
  3. Complete and submit your application.
  4. Receive your admissions decision within 7–10 business days.

Note: If you do not have an MU PawPrint, please review our instructions for Non-MU (visiting) students.

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