Turning the tide
Updated: 2016-11-11 08:15
By Sun Yuanqing(China Daily)
Models present Exception's 2017 spring/summer collection and its signature pieces from the past. CHINA DAILY
Few local brands have survived the ups and downs of the Chinese fashion world over the past two decades. Among them is Exception de Mixmind, one of the country's most famed indigenous fashion labels. It celebrated its 20th anniversary with a runway show during China Fashion Week in Beijing in October.
The show both launched the brand's 2017 spring/summer collection and presented its signature pieces from the past.
The new collection, which is a tribute to the Song Dynasty (960-1279), features shirts, dresses and coats highlighting natural materials, fluid lines and relaxed shapes.
Also in October, the brand opened a new store at Beijing's China Central Place mall, a major luxury shopping destination.
Even as the Chinese luxury industry continues to decline due to the anti-corruption campaign and economic downturn, Exception isn't hesitant to move forward.
Mao Jihong, founder of the brand, sees the store opening as a statement of the brand's intent. It is among few domestic brands to secure such an important commercial location.
"As businesspeople, we have to think more than money. Japan has Omotesando Hills, Paris has Avenue Montaigne and London has Oxford Streets. But we don't have a place for our own brands in China," he says.
Founded in 1996, Exception has grown alongside Chinese consumers all these years.
"They have evolved from followers to individuals with their own judgement and sense of aesthetics. Even for the newly rich, they have become more rational with their consumption," Mao says, adding that the maturing consumers are putting pressure on the whole industry to perform better.
"We want to be a good influence for the consumers and become a way for them to express themselves."
With its core values rooted in individuality and free spirit, Exception is known for its restrained, simplistic and unadorned style. At the same time, it has also evolved to cater to modern tastes.
"Our life is changing vastly. We have to maintain our original emphasis on culture and art while adapting more to a modern lifestyle," he says.
Earlier, the brand had clothes that weren't really suitable for travel or business meetings, he says.
"So we tried to change them."
While numerous Chinese brands have sought to become listed companies, Mao says he has no such plans. Instead of business, he prefers to talk about art and culture.
"I don't really talk about finance. I have professionals taking care of that. I only focus on things that I'm good at－things that can touch people's hearts."