French-Owned Brand, Created In China In The 1920s, Becoming Famous For Artist Collaborations
Although footwear brand Feiyue is no longer Chinese-owned, having been purchased in 2006 by a French group, it remains one of China’s most iconic brands. Originating in 1920s Shanghai, Feiyue was originally designed as the everyman’s shoe, lightweight and relatively inexpensive. Over the years, and following the 1949 Revolution, Feiyue maintained a utilitarian, proletarian style, eventually branching into different niches and becoming popular as a kung-fu and tai chi shoe both inside and outside China.
In recent years, Feiyue has developed a following in Western markets, particularly in Europe and the US, for its kitschy, throwback style and low price following years of falling interest in its home market. As imported brands like Nike conquered the Chinese market, Feiyue became something of a relic among younger Chinese, and after being sold in 2006, the brand has undergone something of a transformation and localization through the efforts of its French owners. What once was designed to be a shoe for everyone has become a shoe geared towards the artistic set, incorporating new designs and art partnerships to create one of the world’s most globalized sneaker brands.
Today, Fashion United reports Feiyue’s newest partnership with graffiti artist, graphic and fashion designer Steph.Cop. The new limited edition collection retains aspects of Feiyue’s Chinese roots, combined with Steph.Cop’s graffiti-meets-nature style:
The exclusive limited edition Steph.Cop sneaker is directly influenced by Steph.Cop’s new work, which is inspired by Mother Nature. Cop recently released a series of oversized chain saw carved wooden toys exhibited in various venues in France. Cop’s take on the Feiyue lo and 10N 28E is simple yet effective, black with contrasting laces and a stylised chainsaw symbol on the tongue.
Feiyue was born in 2006 and launched in the UK in 2009 after being bought from its Chinese owners by a French team of globetrotters. However the brand dates back to the 1920s; it was the standard footwear in China worn by every social class from the politician to the countryman. The brand is constantly evolving as the founding team is always looking for new challenges, collaborations and inspirations, teaming up with like-minded artists and brands each season.
Previous collaborators include luxury house Celine and artist Bret Westfall to name a few.
As historic domestic Chinese brands — few in number, since most either emerged before 1949 or after 1979 — start to catch on overseas, we might see even more partnerships popping up. Already, despite the market dominance of upscale foreign brands in China, among the younger demographic a fugu (retro) movement has started appearing in China’s more internationalized cities, combining domestic brands with foreign luxury brands to create a more glocal (global-local) Chinese style — definitely something for fashion fans to keep their eyes on in coming years.