There’s no such thing as doing things “nice and easy” in the artistic spheres; it’s either drenched or deserted in here. As we explore the outmost perimeters of Chinese design… Look without prejudice and douse yourself in cutting creative edge as we push that final fashion frontier by another light year. It’s time for the Temper Top Ten most compelling creative minds at play in China Fashion. Hardcore Heroes.
1. PRIVATE POLICY NY
Established in 2015, this Chinese designer team presents cutting edge genderless clothing. In their own words:
“We are not trying to make fancy sh*t for people, we rather make cool stuff for the young kids today. And this is how we came up with the idea of making the brand Private Policy. This idea brought us together when we were in school. We both would loathe to whip up another “just-pretty” garment.”
“We see many young people with a rebellious heart, but it is hard to find anything matching their free spirit. We live in Downtown New York, we love observing people walking in Lower East Side, SoHo and Chinatown. The downtown vibe is truly rooted in every single moment while we are designing. We are surrounded by a lot of fascinating friends who inspire us to dress them up. Their needs are what we want to fashionably fulfill.”
Personal needs present personal style. It’s a matter of personal policy. After all, who’d want everything you wear to look like it’s bearing a grudge?
2. STAFF ONLY STUDIO
Shimo Zhou and Une Yea established their London- and Shanghai-based brand Staff Only Studio in 2015 after graduating from Central Saint Martins (London). A Staff Only man always possesses an abundance of curiosity and a sense of humour and is willing to break the boundaries and explore the unknown eras of the world. The brand focuses on establishing collections based on a sharp concept and the use of innovative materials.
A juxtapose with geeky and poetic atmosphere is what the designers are looking for: A new attitude and a revolution in traditional menswear.
There’s a reason our very own Minyoung Lee interviewed this dyncamic duo for Temper’s second-ever print edition, “The Vanity Issue”.
We at Temper crossed over to the dark side a lifetime ago, though admittedly our “edge” is brimming with red (wine), neon lights and bright eyesight-blasting graffiti. Being the tempestuously temperamental personalities we portray ourselves to be, Temper has a natural-born fondness for menswear brand TiwillTang.
The brand’s fanciers usually have something they are proud of and live life in free and easy fashion. TiwillTang presents us with perceptive intuitional forms of materialized Visual Kei — a movement among Japanese musicians, characterized by the use of varying levels of makeup and flamboyant costumes, often coupled with androgynous aesthetics reflected and replaced by a stronger sense of thought and touch.
Honorable Yet Hardcore Mentions
Sirloin is a Shanghai based label founded by Japanese|Swedish designer duo Mao Usami and Alve Lagercrantz. Both creators are 2013 Central Saint Martins (London) graduates, specializing in Womenswear design. For their MA collection, Usami was awarded with the LVMH Grand Prix Scholarship, the L’Oreal Professional Young Design Talent Award. Lagercrantz in his own right was honored with the Sally Woodward award. Their careers then took flight at Louis Vuitton and Dries Van Noten, respectively, until they ventured out into alien territory and founded their very own brand assembly: Sirloin.
The brand celebrates the importance of “laziness and stupid elegance”, a puzzling yet intelligible philosophy based on the humorous criticism of everyday life. By integrating fleeting moments of daily life into visual language, the designers intend to re-design the wardrobe from inside out.
As the old saying goes… If you want to talk boll*cks and discover the meaning of life, you’re better off just downing a bottle of whisky. At least that way, you’re unconscious by the time you start to take yourself seriously.
5. MING MA STUDIO
Honorable Yet Hardcore Mentions
The Sankuanz label was founded by designer Shangguan Zhe, a member of The Xiamen Gang (China’s equivalent of The Antwerp Six). The eccentric, art school approach Sankuanz was born with in 2013 evolved into languid tailoring as fashion ousted the traditional suit and tie, and now its techwear-inspired (think apocalypse-appropriate) designs are part of a bigger movement with names like A-Cold-Wall* and Alyx leading the charge.
Even when it comes to celebrity clout, Sankuanz is at the forefront of now — the brand’s garments clothe musicians that are part of the rising Chinese hip hop wave, such as DoughBoy and Bridge. All of this is probably not serendipity but reactivity, given that the designer believes fashion to be “one of the first things to reflect the times.”
7. SHUSHU/TONG STUDIO
Shanghai-based design duo Liushu Lei and Yutong Jiang both graduated from the Womenswear MA at London College of Fashion. The duo describes their aesthetic as “bold and feminine”. These two “Generation Z” designers paid their dues at Simone Rocha and Gareth Pugh respectively before launching their own label ShuShu/Tong on 2015.
Inspired to create collections that are special yet accessible, Lei and Jiang settled their goal of expressing young and fun without sacrificing femininity. They keep pushing the concept of “boundaries” between girl and woman, redefining femininity with a modern cool attitude.
8. VIDEMUS OMNIA
Yun Qu is the founder and creative director of Videmus Omnia. During her interview with Temper Magazine’s Jessica Laiter, Yun lifted the veil on her fashion forward to the next level approach. “I’ve always had a different approach to fashion. I studied classical music from the age of five, before chasing my dreams as a fashion designer. I gradually developed a unique and unconventional style and was unsatisfied with the current fashion industry in New York, where the majority of brands are trend-oriented and lack variety, innovation and creativity.”
The above mindset drove Yun to launch her own brand, full (s)team speed ahead, in 2017. Aiming to reinterpret unique concepts in style, she creates surreal forms through intricate cutting and combining manipulated textiles, as well as working with scientists and engineers to re-build the new Avant-garde fashion.
Honorable Yet Hardcore Mentions
9. SUSAN FANG
Susan Fang is a London based contemporary womenswear brand, established in 2017 after Susan Fang graduated from Central Saint Martins. With a focus on perception and mathematics, each collection combines innovative textile, colours, and silhouettes to create garments and accessories with artistic originality.
Originally from China, Fang grew up in Canada and the United States and then moved to London to study fashion at Central Saint Martins. Following her previous experience at Kei Kagami, Céline and Stella McCartney, the budding designing entrepreneur wanted to launch her label in order to translate her worldview into conceptual fashion pieces.
Fang is inspired by concepts relating to the perception of beauty and the instinctive allure of nature-the-ever-present fractals. These precise mathematical formulas of repetition and rhythm create the most beautiful chaos with understandable geometries.
It’s a hot mess — we heart it.
10. SAMUEL GUI YANG
SAMUEL Guì YANG is a multi-disciplinary design studio based in London, incorporating garments, objects and printed matter. Yang holds both BA and MA degrees in Womenswear Design from, where other than, London’s pride and never too cool for school joy: Central Saint Martins. Yang later interned with Alexander Wang’s Womenswear RTW team as well as a number of other small independent designers in London.
The designer’s interest in fashion, as stated in a 2016 interview with Vogue Italia, is “guided by an interest in the human form, which developed from a background in the fine arts”. Specifically as in how it allows contact or proximity to the living body that isn’t as obvious in other artistic media.
It’s a wardrobe full of little murderers. It kills. The competition.
These heroes are cucumber cool, they’re the cats meow and they’re coming in. Hard. Core.