It’s time for a new “MADE IN CHINA”
Insider interview with founders from Yuzhe Studios and their take on a new ” Made in China”
What comes into your mind when you associate “Made in China”; questionable quality, low pricing, counterfeit goods and so forth. Indeed the production industry in China has been historically plagued by these perceptions.
However, we’re slowly starting to see a new movement of blossoming Chinese designers on the rise where some have risen to international standards and have even been supported by fashions most influential media.
Not only is the Chinese government highly investing in improving the overall image of its manufacturing process (across a large scale of industries and fields), but Chinese designers also have the thirst of entering and competing on an international scale rather than limiting themselves to a local scale. A large number of designers from BYFANG , Jarel Zhang, CJYAO, Simon Gao and the likes have already been showcased regularly during international tradeshows and/or fashion shows slowly changing the connotation of “Made in China”.
Entering a beautiful wooden space in Shanghai, I met LeLe and Alex, young fresh entrepreneurs and founders behind the emerging label Yuzhe Studios; a combination of a strong rugged feel with feminine structures and details. Although the collection is only at its initiation, the quirky details, fit, and cutting were something that couldn’t be over looked and felt compelled to share their story with you as well as their own take on the future of the new “Made in China”.
“We had the option of starting our label in UK or China, as we both studied in London, starting the label in London might have been a natural step, but we decided to choose China instead because we wanted our brand to carry the “Proud to be Made in China” identity. Lele grew up and spent most of her time in China and even though I was born and raised in the UK, my parents (from Hong Kong) always made sure my Chinese roots were never lost. So we both have this strong association with China. Also “Made in China” has been given this global negative tag, which we feel is not deserved as there are many great artists and designers in China creating amazing original work at the moment – we would like our studio to be a part of this strong momentum in re-inventing the idea of Made in China.” Alex says.
“Secondly, we believe Shanghai is really an exciting space for fashion right now. The energy for creativity in the city is so strong, another key attraction is the high level of craftsmen, artisans, and seamstresses with amazing traditional handcraft skills available here. Finding these tremendously skilled “shifus” is essential, as we create and produce almost everything in our own studio. A customer that orders a garment from us will know that garment is individually made only when the order is placed and made from start to finish by our in house team.” he continues.
In order to help the movement of bringing back the idea that China made creations can be desirable, Yuzhe Studios controls almost everything in their own studio, from QC, production and design in order to create sustainable production.
“The clothes are made by our in house seamstresses and we avoid outsourcing our production to factories for two main reasons; Firstly to acheive a higher quality product. Secondly, outsourcing means mass production, we dislike mass production as we feel a garment should “belong” to the customer and therefore the garment should be uniquely made for them (this is why we also offer complimentary personalised initials). Moreover mass production usually means over production and waste.” says Alex.
Denim dress with YY initials
“We know we are only a small studio and our influence is rather limited, but hopefully along with the other artists and designers creating new and original work in China, “Proud to be Made in China” will be a common phrase in the future. We do not seek to be the next big fashion brand that everyone knows, instead would like to keep our studio relatively small and to continue our niche style, working with stockists that feels right and fits with our identity.”
Extremely passionate in creating a meaningful movement, their designs strongly reflect todays modern era of “on the down low” street style; A revision of the sophisticated Japanese style; raw indigo selvage denim, hand made finishing’s, patch works, contrasting stitching , strong cutting and masculine tough fabrics are combined with a mode feminine silhouette. The “Ruggedness” comes from the masculine fabric used in the collection, another signature of the label is the quirky details and embroideries.
Denim on Denim look with YUZHE Studios Freshly Finished Indigo dress
Streetstyle photos by Alex DeLarge
Campaign Photos courtsey of Yuzhe Studios
Info: Both coming from fashion backgrounds, LeLe (Yuzhe Sun) is a textile graduate from London College of Fashion (LCF) who worked at Giles, London based designer, and Alex Lee is a postgraduate of LCF who previously worked in London for Burberry as a Product Merchandiser.
This Article has been created for CITY WEEKEND