For their first store, two Chinese fashion designers go off the rails

Shanghai – Here’s another Chinese fashion brand to add to your watch list: . Founded by designers Joyce and Xiaomin in 2015, the apparel company recently opened its first flagship store in Xintiandi, one of Shanghai’s most exciting shopping districts.

For Studio Unravel, the firm behind the retail design, it was an opportunity to tell a proud story of birth, of homegrown talent, of a new stage in Chinese fashion. ‘I kept thinking of the anecdotes told by Joyce, a designer who finally stepped out into the world after years of incubation,’ explained Unravel’s Jinkyung Lee.

To bring that story forth, the studio chose the motif of the birth canal. ‘I thought about her passion and how it was able to manifest as a brand producing a series of vibrant products, and that made me associate her with a womb, the origin of new life, where endless possibilities create an absolute being’ Lee added. Throughout the store, the warm conditions of the human interior come outside via a series of phantom-like red transparencies. The enveloping volumes that grow in and out and create pockets of display areas, helping delimit different apparel sections within the 160 sq-m space.

It forces the viewers to dismantle their prejudiced idea of what a commercial space is

But one of the most interesting elements in the store is one that provide display flexibility but seems apparently out of place: a series of carts running on rails, a detail that helps infuse the store with movement. Each one, varying in shape and height, carries a set nondescript metallic knick-knacks. ‘The objects piled there seem irregular, even ugly,’ explained designer Yeongwon Kwak. ‘But by creating a breach in the static image of a space, it forces the viewers to dismantle their prejudiced idea of what a commercial space is. It becomes a form of protest against the industrial system that recognizes the totalitarian idea of beauty as a trend.’

The end result is a space that, just like the breakneck speed of the Chinese retail scene, looks different from one day to the next – and celebrates the birth of things that don’t necessarily fit many prejudiced ideas of commerce.


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