China Opportunities: Fashion and Philanthropy, a Bridge Between Civilizations

There are a lot of links between the young people in this world. And as the more sophisticated they get, the more they have things together in common.

Editor’s Note: Fashion and philanthropy as part of culture has been a common topic for both Chinese and French people. What opportunities does China offer for promoting philanthropy cause? David Gosset, the founder of Europe-China Forum, discussed with Ophélie Renouard, founder of Le Bal. Ms. Renouard was born in Asia to French parents. Since 1992, she has been organizing glamorous events in Paris for the benefit of Charity, amongst them the world famous “le Bal des Débutantes”, whose connection with China keeps growing every year.

China Opportunities, hosted by David Gosset, is a global dialogue with senior officials, business elites and distinguished people. The serial interviews are coproduced by China Focus and DG2CI Limited in association with Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies.

David Gosset: You are a very important personality in the field of lifestyle. In this domain, lifestyle, would you say that China constitutes an opportunity?

Ophélie Renouard: Well, of course, China is a huge market. And I think now the young people in China, they want to have the best of two worlds, and they want to have access to any lifestyle. It starts with fashion, it goes to gastronomy, to fitness, everything they can enjoy. I think they want to, and it’s very good like that.

David Gosset: You mentioned fashion. Do you see fashion as a bridge between cultures?

Ophélie Renouard: Of course, because anything that people from different culture like is a bridge between them. I mean, all the young people, they like the same brands, they like the same fashion brands all over the world. And I think it’s a bridge between them, of course. Anything that people enjoy together is a bridge.

David Gosset: We spoke about lifestyle. We spoke about fashion. Your very important event, a global event with strong Chinese characteristics, is also connected with philanthropy. Why do you care so much about philanthropy?

Ophélie Renouard: Well, I think you know now, you cannot do anything regarding lifestyle or fashion or anything, if you don’t have a link with philanthropy, because people are more responsible, the young people, they feel responsible. And they are taught from a very young age to give back to the society. And actually, we cannot do anything without linking it to philanthropy. And at le Bal, we have privileged girls, and they help less privileged ones, which is only a normal thing to do.

David Gosset: When you think about philanthropy, of course, we can imagine philanthropy in many domains, but for you, what matters most?

Ophélie Renouard: Well, what matters is that the young people feel responsible of the other, and they feel part of a global world. I mean, now, the young people, they don’t think of themselves as being Chinese only, or French only, or American only. They are Chinese, and they are part of the world, and it’s the same for every country. You know, they go to the same school, they listen to the same music, they like the same fashion brands. There are a lot of links between the young people in this world. And as the more sophisticated they get, the more they have things together in common.

David Gosset: When we think about philanthropy, very often we think about education and knowledge. We have also philanthropy for the planet, and of course philanthropy for health and wellness in general. What is the most important for you?

Ophélie Renouard: Well, I think you know if you want to start with the beginning, it’s health and education, because that’s what matters most at the beginning. You know people have to have access to everything regarding health. And then when they are in good health, they should have access to education, and everything else comes after (that).

David Gosset: Thank you very much for creating this platform years ago and for continuing the work. As you said, fashion is a bridge, lifestyle also is a bridge where we communicate. And thanks to your platform, we increase the mutual understanding between cultures, between civilizations. And it is also very important, you reminded us of the importance of responsibility, philanthropy in general. And also from that angle, the angle of philanthropy, China, the Chinese transformation, the Chinese renaissance is an opportunity for all of us.

Ophélie Renouard: Of course.

David Gosset: Thank you so much for accepting to be a part of this series on China Opportunities.

Ophélie Renouard: Thank you for inviting me.