Handcrafted beyond your wildest savoir-faire, the PRONOUNCE label integrates an East-West aesthetic philosophy that cannot and will not be eroded by the flatness and fiction of the social media age. Fact. Check!
PRONOUNCE (珀琅汐| pò láng xī in Chinese) came to life in Milan, Italy, in 2016 under the watchful creative eyes of Yushan Li and Jun Zhou.
As far as the brand name goes, the designers tell us that, “The 王 character [you can spot this one as a radical in the 珀 and 琅 characters] itself means ‘king,’ so both characters used next to the ‘king’ character give the brand name a regal vibe; the 汐 character means ‘evening tide’ and here refers to a beautiful composition, reminiscent of the natural tide or mankind’s connection with nature.” Don’t shoot the translator, guys.
Li graduated with an MA in Fashion from London’s Central Saint Martins (CSM). In 2014, he collaborated with Lane Crawford as young artist for the Lane Crawford World Traveler project. His AW 2016 MA collection was sponsored by the Isabella Blow foundation with a 14-look release at London Fashion Week. Right after he graduated from CSM he worked for Yeezy — ya know, Kanye “who apparently now owns a little ‘get-away’ smack-bam in the middle of the Flemish ‘suburban’ meadows” West’s “fashion” undertaking.
Zhou graduated from Italy’s renowned Istituto Marangoni and the London College of Fashion with an MA in Menswear. During his studies in Milan, he participated in Milan Fashion Week as part of the development of a new Ermenegildo Zegna series.
Their combined labor entitled PRONOUNCE focuses on the effective combination of craftsmanship and traditional tailoring, lining the seams with elements of different cultures and lifestyles. From the observer’s point of view, people present an angle of thinking about the world, in order to resonate and inspire more newfangled cool exploration and excavation. Boss.
Following PRONOUNCE’s birth in Milan, the brand went on to set up shop in Shanghai. A deep understanding of Oriental philosophy and the flexible use of Oriental elements gained the founders worldwide attention.
Tibetan collars with traditional suit tailoring, monk robes and wide folds; incorporating elements from East and West that at the same time seem to be a metaphor for the relationship between water and oil, glossy-patterned jacquard fabric. Fresco-styled printing and crafts meet cowboy stonewash details.
Outside-the-box stylistic concepts aside, the brand always abandons the beaten path of blandness and opts for innovative sustainable practices. The latest sand-washing technology, as employed by PRONOUNCE, allows for cost-efficient fines recovery and the conservation of valuable water resources.
Forever sampling the meticulous; case in point: SS21. Thickened knots are one of the most common elements in Tibetan life scenes, and the brand’s research and development team spent a total of 500 hours weaving three-dimensional knots by hand during the early months of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. In addition, the use of larger handbags made from paper-knitting technology, woven from recycled paper and eco-friendly materials, demonstrated a new way of thinking about the current development of handicrafts.
Inspired by the “cut” of a yak’s mane, the SS21 thick slippers (as seen in the above pic), specially-made using eco-friendly fur, presented a metaphor for the full-fledged, overwhelming (both mentally and physically) experience that washed over the PRONOUNCE team upon first entering the Tibetan Plateau — low oxygen levels, low temperatures, low air pressure, SPF50-to-70-strong UV rays, wind and snow.
PRONOUNCE won the 2017 Latest Fashion Buzz award at London Men’s Fashion Week. That very same year, it was shortlisted for the The International Woolmark Prize.
The brand’s founders were included in Forbes Asia’s 30 Under 30 in 2017 and 2018.
On October11 of this year, PRONOUNCE brought its SS22 collection onto Shanghai Fashion Week’s Xintiandi stage, much to the delight of many fans in attendance. Its theme was a continuation of the AW21 “Porcelain Fragments” series, digging deeper into the topic of repairing porcelain. At the very beginning of the restoration process, artisans need to drill small holes in the porcelain to repair the cracks and see the object become whole again. Summing up: it’s not as simple as it looks.
The clothing brand has a (retail) branch in Shanghai.
The designers further told us during the week that they figure it’s about time for China to establish its own fashion house. A fashion house is far bigger than a label or brand as it is a company specializing in the design and sale of high-fashion clothing and accessories. Think Louis Vuitton, Lanvin, Versace, Chanel, Gucci,…
“PRONOUNCE is working towards that goal, but how long it will take…Who knows. It’s like taking care of a child; it requires patience and care, and one must not to rush to then only gain short-term success. Although the loudest voice of fashion today is still dominated by the Western system, we believe that this situation will change in the future. China’s economic and commercial take-off will certainly give more support to the development of the nation’s fashion sector [insert #Tempertoldyouso], ” explained Li and Zhou.
PRONOUNCE expresses contemporary notions of dressing through a design language based on abstract elements; the brand by large emphasizes the combination of craftsmanship and traditional tailoring.
“We do not want our work to be eroded by the flatness and fiction of the social media age. For clothing, the most important thing is always about detail and hands-on touch: you gotta try it on,” in the words of Li and Zhou.
The brand wholeheartedly advocates the integration of an East-West aesthetic philosophy; traditional handmade skills applied to a hands-on modern designing process.
PRONOUNCE actively embraces people of different personalities and backgrounds and advocates a Gender Sharing concept of fashion life.
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Featured image: PRONOUNCE AW21 campaign. Photography by Jialing Hu
IMAGES: COURTESY OF PRONOUNCE
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