Chan Launched Triple-Major Last Fall In Beijing’s Baochao Hutong
Although major luxury brands tend to monopolize press about China’s fashion industry, it’s important to keep sight of the emerging local designers and boutique owners who are catching on among some of the more fashion-forward residents of Beijing or Shanghai. Over the past six months, we’ve kept a close eye on one of these taste-makers, Ritchie Chan, whose studio/boutique Triple-Major has injected new life into Beijing’s sleepy Baochao Hutong. (As well as the city’s avant-garde fashion scene.) Hong Kong native Chan has outfitted Triple-Major to resemble what our friends at Stylites in Beijing referred to as an “aesthete’s apothecary,” with acupuncture dummies and traditional Chinese medicine cabinets sharing space with Chan’s carefully curated inventory.
Since opening last October, Triple-Major has also branched into the arts and established itself as a sort of roving brand, hosting a solo exhibition by the Australian art and design collective ffiXXed and launching its Triple Major Nomad Store pop-up series in Hong Kong.
This week, the always-excellent and insightful China Youthology talks to Ritchie Chan about the current state of streetwear and avant-garde fashion in China and where it might be headed. From the interview:
China Youthology: Can you tell us a little about your customers?
Ritchie Chan: People coming into my store, 90% have nothing to do with fashion; they got lost trying to go somewhere else. Then there are people that have the money, want to look different, are bored of the market, and don’t know what to choose. But the core customers know us and know exactly what they want.
CY: What do your customers want?
They don’t want to be the same. More than people anywhere else they want that, more than even in Europe or Hong Kong. In Beijing, people that are forward go really far, go for the most underground stuff they can find.
CY: Why do you think Chinese youth feel so strongly about expressing themselves through clothes?
Clothing is so much a part of identity in Asia. Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, these are walking- oriented cities, there are chances to see each other all the time, show off all the time.
CY: Why do you think streetwear is fading globally?
Fashion blogging culture is part of the decline of streetwear, access to information is bringing in lots of different aesthetics. The reason streetwear is prominent now is because newspapers and gossip magazines teamed up with celebrities to promote street labels and became commercial partners.
CY: Is there any connection with what you do now and your initial interest in streetwear?
For me, what we do here, the aesthetics, the look is completely different compared to the utilitarian style of streetwear, but the spirit is the same, the spirit of our chase. We also experience buying as being part of a culture. I mean a moody all black Rick Owens piece is a totally different aesthetic from streetwear, but the buying experience is similar, making a purchase to be associated with that culture.