CORRECTED: Panda fashion parades China's social issues

Corrects identity of celebrity in sixth paragraph to Yangerche Namu, not Sister Lotus

BEIJING (Reuters Life!) - Chinese artist Zhao Bandi has brought social conscience to the fashion conscious, kicking off this year’s China Fashion Week by using his trademark panda to highlight unresolved social problems.

Models dressed as street sweepers, beggars, corrupt officials and even the World Trade Organisation, which has tussled with the rising economic power, hit the catwalk at the Bandi Panda collection, all in black and white outfits, representing the panda’s colors.

“I believe that after seeing this everyone will realize what is happening. There’s no need to watch films or read a book about it, just watch Zhao Bandi’s fashion show and the whole world will realize what’s happening in China,” said Zhao.

Drawing on the panda -- China’s national icon -- for inspiration, Zhao’s designs incorporate humor which helps take the sting out of his critical message.

Celebrities like the glamorous Yangerche Namu and blogger Sister Lotus also took part in the production.

The audience gasped when Yangerche Namu locked lips with a foreign man on stage.

Zhao and his pandas are famous for providing social and political commentary on modern life in China.

“My haute couture show will unfold a colorful panorama of protagonists from every stratum of Chinese society,” Zhao said.