In April, Chinese vogue label Shushu/Tong introduced its AW21 assortment named “Brave New World” all through Shanghai Style Week. Fairly far more optimistic than Orwellian, the clothes had a distinctive ’60s glimpse, touching extra precisely on area age futurism many thanks to a cavalcade of types dressed in A-line silhouettes, Peter Pan collars, babydoll ruffles and Barbarella-influenced dresses, which perfectly captured a pretty and gamine aesthetic.
As just one of the most common labels on the routine, Shushu/Tong – set up in 2015 by friends Liushu Lei and Yutong Jiang – demonstrated why it has captured the creativeness of Gen-Z buyers: it’s kooky, a minor bit retro, but much more importantly, designs are whole of an ebullience that looks to reject the existence of a Covid era, as if it never transpired. There’s no drama or extravagance magicked up as some sort of antidote to darkish periods nothing at all that points to a “breaking free” soon after lockdown.
In fact, Shushu/Tong’s collections have managed the exact fun and frivolous idealism throughout this difficult time period. Why is this important? Due to the fact normality – in the guise of content, sunny vogue, fairly than OTT opulence – is what youthful fashion fans have sought out in the wake of the pandemic. In the case of Shushu/Tong, this is evidenced by a considerable boost in revenue and stockists. It now has 50 in mainland China and extra than 20 around the globe, which is fairly a feat for a young impartial brand name. An additional clue that spotlights the label’s climbing reputation is its current collaboration with Estée Lauder on a confined edition range of make-up (available to Uk individuals by way of Estée Lauder’s Dutch web site).
Around the earlier 18 months, the designers – who go by the names Shushu and Tong Tong – have noticed their income multiply many thanks to some neat connections and a nifty digital strategy. Their SS21 marketing campaign featured supermodel Ju Xiaowen who lately graced the catwalks of Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Hermès she was also the first design of Chinese descent to be the deal with of Marc Jacobs. But instrumental to this revenue surge has been the launch of Shushu/Tong’s on-line keep on China’s Tmall ecommerce platform – part of the Alibaba network and an significantly well known retail location for luxurious labels, such as Gucci, which released its Tmall keep in December 2020. This new undertaking engendered an effusive response from European stockists much too, which includes SSense, which doubled its Shushu/Tong stock.
“It was remarkable to have a catwalk clearly show just after this kind of a prolonged interval of being shut absent. Styles truly bring our parts to daily life. The tunes, the placing… you can fall in really like with garments again,” suggests Shushu who also handles the advertising facet of this burgeoning label, which not long ago manufactured Vogue Hong Kong’s deal with in the kind of a signature bow top modelled by Blackpink’s Lisa (Lalisa Manobal).
Cult films and ’90s pop culture engage in a fundamental component in the pair’s design exercise, which has proved to be an irresistible draw for younger consumers who are embracing pre-millennial style styles. “I was born in 1991. I’m section of the very first generation of Chinese [children] that did not improve up with a lot of censorship on Tv,” Shushu states. “Animation exhibits – specifically from Japan – ended up in particular influential. Western culture also established an impact. For example, 1 of our collections [SS21] was very pink and girly, drawing from Marilyn Monroe [in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes]. So my watch of the earth is really various from a person born in the ’80s. The view I experienced was extremely colourful and blended, and which is what we like to translate into our collections.”
Both Liushu Lei and Yutong Jiang examined at London Faculty of Manner, and the pair share a love of coquettish style that tilts to a punkish edge. It’s no wonder actually, Shushu cut his tooth doing work for Simone Rocha, acknowledged for her feminine tulle creations, though Tong Tong developed for fashion’s “prince of darkness”, Gareth Pugh.
The notion for this hottest collection, nonetheless, germinated from an unconventional resource. “For 6 months prior to this collection, I was obsessed with area age furniture,” Shushu clarifies. “I wished to use plastics, bright yellows and pinks and [apply] them to a female from the ’60s caught in a incredibly various spot, a Courageous New World, which is unfamiliar to her. It’s important for us to balance the girly glimpse with a little something less sweet. I am normally one particular to introduce [an element] of the unanticipated. Our ‘girl’ is in no way the same, she follows distinct stories but there is a lasso that ties every little thing together.”
Supplied their profession backgrounds, couture thrives are a house signature. For this AW21 assortment, ruffles and net-like flower embroideries are intricate additions that stage to a commitment to craftsmanship. The latter were being designed in collaboration with New York-based mostly airbrush artist Shuhua Xiong, who, like the designers, shares a enjoy of anime and sci-fi.
As for their organization model, Shushu maintains that spontaneity is crucial. Indeed, the brand name took off fairly by probability: a close friend who owns the stylish Chinese Laundry Place restaurant in London, printed the lookbook of their 1st selection on her WeChat account. Ahead of lengthy, Shushu/Tong experienced a faithful following. “We surely had a powerful electronic start,” says Shushu. “But actually on social media, I have under no circumstances experienced a program. My only program really is to hold putting up and at a selected place it just bloomed. We have not had any exhibits in Europe, so our potent European following, it seriously is all due to the fact of Instagram. This is why I place a large amount of function into owning fantastic photographs.”
So how do they function as a pair? “We have plenty of distinctive thoughts. Often we are against a person yet another! We usually direct each individual other in the end mainly because we know each individual other so well. We commonly commence a further selection quickly just after the previous, but a few of months to relax and delight in your success… it is definitely the very best sensation.”
Our suggestions? Nab a SS21 Shushu/Tong bargain in the revenue just before this label goes world-wide in a large way. You can decide up a black tulle T-shirt and matching tulle skirt for a lot less than £330. Extremely Simone Rocha, only extra reasonably priced.