Angelica Cheung: Vogue China's editor is a power player

(CBS News) This is fashion week in Beijing, and some of the best local designers are showing their new creations.

They want the attention of Vogue China editor Angelica Cheung, because where she turns her focus (such as at Shanghai's "Fashion Night Out"), so do 640,000 Chinese readers.

Known for spotting a fashion trend, Vogue began publishing its local edition in China in 2005, with Cheung as editor. She has helped put Chinese designers on the map by putting them in the pages of her magazine.

China's fashion business now tops $65 billion. By 2020, that's expected to triple, to $200 billion.

And that makes Cheung one of the most powerful women in the fashion world.

Cheung (who studied to be a lawyer) is sometimes compared to her U.S. counterpart, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, whose reputation for toughness was parodied in the film "The Devil Wears Prada" Yet, Cheung said that it's not just fashion editors that are tough. She told Doane that "I think the fierce characters are in every industry."


For years, Cheung boycotted New York's Fashion Week, believing designers did not take China seriously. That's certainly changed.

"Sometimes I joke that I actually don't need to go to any Fashion Week to see the shows, because they end up [coming] to China anyway," she said.

Cheung said designers like Mario Testino, Valentino and Cavalia are now coming to Beijing, to see how they can attract this new market -- what they call it the new frontier of fashion.

She has seen the transformation in her own life.

Cheung showed CBS News' Seth Doane a photograph of her at four years old standing in a patriotic pose. She is holding the book of quotes from Communist China's founder, Mao Tse Tung. He was a leader determined to destroy the differences between rich and poor. To be politically correct meant dressing down.

"That was how I grew up during the Cultural Revolution," she said. "Where everyone was dressed the same. Luckily I had a grandma who was a great tailor, so she copied a lot of things for me, so I was like the best-dressed girl in my little world."