Monday, May 16, 2011

Beijing revisit - new Chinese fashion brands: Arrtco

revisiting one of my favorite cities again last month has shed further light on my dim knowledge of the new and up & coming Chinese fashion brands. they maybe uncovered to most outside of the Chinese market or some are already making waves abroad. all in all, I can't be more impressed by this new crops of local tastemakers.

my stay in the vast city of Beijing this time somehow dictated my path of exploration in shopping given that's really hard to commute at all time with the traffic jam. so do excuse me for the incomprehensive review as much as my limited legwork around my hotel could allow.

Arrtco - newly opened their multi-label shop Arrtco Collection at the China World Trade Center in April, the brand Arrtco is no stranger to the fashion conscious crowd in Beijing since their entrance to break some ground in the fashion / lifestyle scene in 07 as one of the early pioneers in promoting original designs by Chinese designers as well as bringing in international high fashion labels to the Chinese market.

the name "Arrtco" is an amalgam of "art" and "cooperation" represents the brand's philosophy towards art, music and fashion. often labeled as driver of the dandy, LOHAS lifestyle, Arrtco's new store makes the attempt at introducing the concept of "Design and Exhibition Shop" to the local market where retail environment is still prevailed mainly with shops with the single purpose alone.

entrance to shop - I had a hard time deciding if it's a florist or a decor shop.

window display is art directed by three local artists (匡峻、谭天帏、刘展)

space is used fluidly in the shop but still with some definition for garments, accessories, lifestyle goods, music records and cds display; art gallery, coffee bar and reading room are also part of the function of the shop. Arrtco as a big supporter for common arts, music force and lifestyle movement, besides holding interesting events from time to time, they also invite local and international artists or musicians to display or perform in-store.

limited handkerchief design by top Chinese artists

Down Town Life environmental movement 

Down Town art collection

Down Town concert

Nordic artists exhibition in-store

Arrtco issued limited edition tees for
Maxmillian Hecker's concert in Beijing

Arrtco Collection is known for its wide selection of famous Japanese fashion designer labels - Yoshio Kubo, Somarta, Redmoon, Factotum, and other up and coming popular names such as Ansnam, Enharmonic Tavern, Hisui, John Lawrence Sullivan, mintdesigns, 08sircus. International top labels include Balmain, Raf Simons, Rick Owens.

one other main focus of Arrtco is the promotion of Chinese designers. here are the ones to watch.

Gioia Pan (潘怡良), the reputed "knitting queen" from Tiawan, is the go-to label for understated luxurious made-to-order swing dresses for many celebrities in Taiwan and China. her actual expertise lies at creating knitwear designs combining different materials or leather stitching, coupled with the techniques of knitting.

Gioia Pan SS 2011 collection

with a solid background of fashion design study respectively taken in the UK and Italy for nearly a decade, Chi Zhang (张驰) set up his first workshop in London in 07 and began to produce menswear under his namesake brand. he returned to Beijing in 08 and continued with his main label Chi Zhang. avant garde, mysterious and dark - Zhang's designs are rocking with edgy decadence crafted in phenomenal tailoring. asymmetrical cuts, experimental proportions and pattern works in different shapes and forms are often applied in his designs.

Chi Zhang SS 2011 collection

Ran Fan (范然) developed her passion for fashion since she's a kid. her mother's profession as a fashion editor provided her exposure to international fashion at a very young age. Fan's pursue to become a fashion designer was supported by her parents and she eventually graduated from Central Saint Martins in 08. she started her label Ran Fan upon her return to China. influenced by her love for architecture, she redefines structure and lines, blends geometrics and patchwork into her designs.

Ran Fan SS 2010 collection

Lu 12.28 is the label founded by Liu Lu (刘璐). Liu is one of the established young fashion designers known to many in China. left home at 16 to explore the world, Liu first went to boarding school in Switzerland while she took time to explore Europe. she then went to Paris to study fashion design and later moved to New York and graduated from Parsons School of Design in 06 with a Gold Thimble award. she returned home to China in 07 and began to speak to the world with her own translation of fashion under the name of her independent label Lu 12.28 (her birthday).  Liu describes her style as very feminine, sexy and chic which has an contemporary global appeal. to me I think it's a variation from cultural Chinese design in liberating modern forms charged with powerful femininity.

Arrtco aims to raise the apparel aesthetics with cultural connotations or brand designs which encourage people to challenge the experimental, directional fashions. they too produce their own line of clothing with the same belief for the younger audience to be sold at various Arrtco outlets.

Arrtco Collection is located at: 3B111, Tower 3, China World Shopping Mall, 1 Chaowaidajie Rd, Chaoyang District, Beijing
online store coming soon!

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