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Friday, June 3, 2011

Beijing revisit - new Chinese fashion brands: BNC at Sanlitun

there's always a good excuse to go back to Sanlitun again. this time is to see the new I.T Beijing store and the bunch of new shops opened at the Village North.

in between Village South and North, there is the uber chic boutique hotel Opposite House which I'd like to stay the next time I'm back. made the gold list of Conde Nast Traveller UK and US 2011, Opposite House definitely has more than guest rooms to provide. if the steel and glass rubik's cube exterior and a credential of designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma aren't cool enough, the house has the function of an art gallery to offer which makes it super cool. Opposite House is about hospitality merged with art oasis. 

the Opposite House
besides the art fixtures of a stunning steel mesh curtains hung on the six-floor atrium and sculptures on the walls, there is always contemporary Chinese art exhibits displaying in the house's public spaces on a rotating basis. 






the "Fashion Show" installation by Xiaoling Li



















North Village of Sanlitun is different in terms of design than South Village - the former being an open-air courtyard of traditional siheyuan (四合院); the latter takes inspiration of the hutongs (胡同). located at the lower ground floor of the north tower at Village North is the lifestyle / fashion boutique B.N.C. (薄荷糯米葱) which received much local media attention. press likes a high-end multi-label store alright since it's still considered a rather new concept in China but this one in particular because of the owner.

donned as the "Oprah of China", Hung Huang (洪晃) is a media mogul who is not only a well-known blogger, TV commentator but a successful publisher of iLook (an upscale local fashion magazine), Seventeen China and Time Out Beijing


iLook's edition of Chinese designers


Huang ventured into retail business last year with a sole mission to realize her dream of cultivating China's emerging design scene. her outlet B.N.C., stands for Brand New China, which takes on the double meaning of "brand new". she believes that China is capable of, aside being the factory of the world, to develop its own designs and brands. it is a creative capability that so far has been overlooked. all the clothing, accessories and home furniture stocked at B.N.C. are by Chinese designers sold on consignment. these some 150 young, emerging designers are given the commercial platform to showcase their products as well as increasing their exposure to a crowd of rapidly growing, increasingly sophisticated consumers who appreciate quality and original local designs than the formerly blind chasers of well-known imported name brands. 




































B.N.C. prides itself on carrying things that appeal to different age groups and buying power. while one can pick up a mug for a few bucks, there are the pricer home decor and designer clothing to choose from. quite a few I think are loaded with potential:

Vega Wang - born in 1985 in Liaoning, China. graduated from BA fashion design womenswear in Central Saint Martins in 2008 and returned to China and founded brand SFORZANDO by Vega Zaishi Wang in Xiamen. I'm amazed at Wang's diverse repertoire of designs in her few collections. just see for yourself.

'08 CSM Graduation collection "Into the deep"



'10 fall collection "Loneliness stays forever"


'11 spring collection "First love, Last rites"





special collection "Cape"




special collection "Heart of gold"








Uma Wang - a graduate of Shanghai's China Textile University, Uma later further her study at Central Saint Martins. in 2005, she established her eponymous label and presented her first ready-to-wear collection at PURE London. somehow her designs share the similar appeal of Tao Kurihara's; the silhouette might be loose, flat and fluid, but it's very three dimensional once put on.























B.N.C. can be coined appropriately as a breath of fresh air in China's retail scene as it poses an interesting juxtaposition amongst the mega foreign luxury brands of Balmain, Balenciaga, Lanvin and Miu Miu just next door.






























find B.N.C. at NLG-09a, Sanlitun Village North, Chaoyang district, Beijing. they don't have a website for now but is considering future e-tailing and outlets in other Chinese cities. stay tuned.