No Hangers Allowed: Mian Hua Tian Guides Fashion-Forward Shoppers Toward ‘Inner Voice’

    The chic new Shanghai boutique's clients may be on fashion's cutting edge, but they don't "follow fashion trends blindly," says its owner.
    Mianhuatian in Shanghai. (Erica Ji)
    Erica JiAuthor
      Published   in Fashion

    New Shanghai boutique Mian Hua Tian, located at 564 Changle Road. (Erica Ji)

    Nestled in a garden at 564 Changle Road in Shanghai's hip downtown district, Mian Hua Tian, (which translates to "Cotton Fields" in English), is a new boutique which sells chic, avant-garde designers from European countries such as France and Italy.

    With a roster of edgy up-and-coming labels such as Peachoo+Krejberg, Rundholz, and Taiana, the store is highly conceptual, opting to hang pieces on the wall like artwork rather than on hangers. “These brands might not be well-known, but they are definitely classic designs that can be worn year after year," said founder Jane Zhang of the boutique's distinctive aesthetic. As a newcomer to Shanghai's fashion scene, Mian Hua Tian has made great efforts to shape its individual sense of style as Shanghai-based boutiques have become extremely popular both online and offline over the past two years.

    Before Mian Hua Tian's August 30 opening, the team spent two years to prepare. This long-term planning philosophy allowed them to maintain high standards when selecting brands and items for the shop, and carefully planning its interior design. The space was designed by two Japanese designers, who focused on keeping the old house's structure the way it was and bringing in ample natural light. To resonate with the store's "cotton fields" concept, the walls were replaced by white canvas-covered doors. The overall feel of the boutique is that of a space where good friends would hang out.

    Recently, Jing Daily had a chance to sit down with founder Jane Zhang for a talk on the store's marketing strategies, aesthetic sense, and business operations. Her answers, as well as more images of the shop are included below.

    How did you come up with your boutique’s name?#

    Mian Hua Tian founder Jane Zhang. (Erica Ji)

    It is inspired by a favorite yoga song of the same name. People associate cotton fields with sunshine and warmth, and I hope my store can give clients a sense of nature.

    How would you describe your typical clients?#

    Our clients are females who search for unique designs. They don't seek renowned luxury brands, nor do they follow fashion trends blindly. They have high standards in quality, and listen to their inner voice. They hope their outfits are consistent with their inner selves.

    What brands can we find at your store, and how do you define its overall style?#

    We now carry 12 European brands, including Alessandra Marchi, Album di Famiglia, Conservatoire International de Lunettes, Kuboraum, Lucio Vanotti, Masnada, Peachoo+Krejberg, Rundholz, Taiana, V Ave Shoe Repair, Rigards, and Poeme Bohemian. They are mostly ready-to-wear, low-profile stylish garments with deconstructed look, special materials, and designs.

    What is Cotton Fields' price range?#

    Each item ranges from RMB6,000 to RMB20,000. We want to provide our clients with timeless, classic designs. This price range is not fixed, however. In the future, if we find high-quality items with affordable prices when we are selecting products that are in tune with Mian Hua Tian's concepts, we will consider bringing them into our store.

    Mian Hua Tian is a space with artistic ambiance. Will there be art events taking place in the store?#

    Yes, we will consider hosting lifestyle-related events, such as wine tasting or yoga. We want these events to be VIP-only instead of PR-related so that we can directly communicate and bond with our clients. A store can definitely benefit from PR, but I believe in establishing good reputation through word of mouth at first.

    Do you plan to expand from brick-and-mortar to online?#

    At this moment, no. We will focus on the physical store because we want to provide our clients with a complete shopping experience in which they can feel the fabrics and try clothes on. Online shopping cannot provide that. Besides, we do not think the quality of our products can be genuinely presented online.

    Take a look at more photos from the space below. (Images by Erica Ji)

    This article was originally published in Chinese. Translation by Jasmine Lu.

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