Cul­ture & fash­ion

Iconic Chi­nese brand EP YAY­ING cel­e­brates 30th an­niver­sary

Global Times – Metro Shanghai - - FRONT PAGE -

A mid the amaz­ing mu­sic, lights and vis­ual ef­fects, old and new friends of EP YAY­ING Fash­ion Group re­cently re­united for the 30th an­niver­sary of the iconic com­pany dur­ing China Fash­ion Week Spring Sum­mer 2019 in Bei­jing. For the gala event, EP YAY­ING pre­miered its new col­lec­tion from the group’s dual-brand de­vel­op­ment strat­egy, namely The World’s EP, which fea­tures a con­tem­po­rary life­style brand in­spired by cul­ture, na­ture and art, and YAY­ING of China, which high­lights re­gal Ori­en­tal crafts­man­ship and Chi­nese cul­ture her­itage-fo­cused lux­ury ar­ti­sanal de­signs, blend­ing Western and Ori­en­tal aes­thet­ics with a mod­ern per­spec­tive for the mod­ern Chi­nese woman.

EP YAY­ING’s new col­lec­tion aims to em­body the el­e­gance of mod­ern Chi­nese women and in­ter­pret tra­di­tional aes­thet­ics in a con­tem­po­rary way with the use of ex­quis­ite jacquards, lace, em­broi­dery and lux­u­ri­ous silk fab­rics.

EP YAY­ING first took the stage of China Fash­ion Week in 2005. Now walk­ing the stage to cel­e­brate its 30th an­niver­sary was ex­tra­or­di­nary for Zhang Hwaming, chair­man of the fash­ion icon, which is a sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion fam­ily-run en­ter­prise.

“In the past 30 years, every foot­print we’ve left and every change we’ve made marks the epit­ome of our ef­forts to pur­sue our dream and joy of grow­ing up,” Zhang told the Global Times.

The ori­gins of EP YAY­ING Fash­ion Group’s busi­ness can be traced back to 1979, at the be­gin­ning of the coun­try’s eco­nomic re­form, when late founder Zhang Baorong chan­neled his pas­sion for the ap­parel busi­ness into pi­o­neer­ing the estab­lish­ment of a col­lec­tively owned vil­lage en­ter­prise – Luodong Gar­ment Fac­tory – in East China’s

Zhe­jiang Prov­ince.

In 1988, against a back­drop of ex­tremely dif­fi­cult con­di­tions, the am­bi­tious

Zhang Baorong un­der­took the man­age­rial op­er­a­tions of Luodong Hongzheng

Gar­ment Fac­tory, spe­cial­iz­ing in the pro­duc­tion of men’s shirts and silk cloth­ing. Later,

Zhang Baorong’s son, Zhang Hwaming fol­lowed in his fa­ther’s foot­steps.

From 1991 to 1995, Zhang Hwaming and his wife, Dai Xuem­ing, worked to­gether to suc­cess­fully ex­pand their busi­ness into Bei­jing, ac­cu­mu­lat­ing mar­ket­ing and mod­ern mer­chan­dis­ing ex­per­tise.

In 1995, they regis­tered the trade­mark for the brand YAY­ING, which sym­bol­izes their orig­i­nal as­pi­ra­tion of “us­ing high­qual­ity ma­te­ri­als to make good cloth­ing, and bring about beauty to our fe­male cus­tomers.”

Spirit of the fire phoenix

In 1996, Zhang Hwaming as­sumed the po­si­tion of gen­eral man­ager and be­gan a pe­riod of rein­vent­ing and up­grad­ing the busi­ness, deter­mined to cre­ate a high­qual­ity women’s wear fash­ion brand. Over the past 30 years, the two-gen­er­a­tion fam­ily-run en­ter­prise has con­tin­ued to ded­i­cate it­self to this in­dus­try.

The brand’s grand vi­sion – en­sur­ing sus­tain­able growth, en­cour­ag­ing cre­ativ­ity and in­no­va­tion, and con­stantly pur­su­ing ex­cel­lence – has helped forge EP YAY­ING from a home-grown Chi­nese brand into a world-class fash­ion group.

Af­ter 30 years of de­vel­op­ment, EP YAY­ING has risen in the fash­ion ranks from a small gar­ment fac­tory to op­er­at­ing and own­ing mul­ti­ple brands and lux­ury re­tail­ers, in­clud­ing DOUBLOVE, N.Paia, DA YA JIA, Grace­Land, and LIT­TLE SPACE.

Look­ing back on the past 30 years, Zhang summed up the suc­cess of the group into four core in­ter­nal fac­tors: the spirit of the “fire phoenix,” which em­pha­sizes ded­i­ca­tion, in­no­va­tion, in­domitabil­ity and never giv­ing up; and the pur­suit of beauty and per­sis­tence to make good clothes with good ma­te­ri­als.

More­over, a pure-hearted at­ti­tude to­ward their part­ners, cus­tomers and em­ploy­ees; and an un­yield­ing pur­suit of in­no­va­tion, which Zhang be­lieves is the big­gest in­tan­gi­ble wealth for EP YAY­ING.

En­ter­ing the world stage

op­por­tu­nity of the re­form and open­ing-up, as the coun­try vig­or­ously sup­ports the de­vel­op­ment of the econ­omy, so we suc­cess­fully seized that op­por­tu­nity,” Zhang told the Global Times.

Zhang added that, dur­ing the re­form and open­ing-up, China’s fash­ion in­dus­try has be­come an im­por­tant leader of the trans­for­ma­tion of lo­cal in­dus­tries, which opened up many new op­por­tu­ni­ties for Chi­nese com­pa­nies to ex­per­i­ment with in­no­va­tive ideas and ex­plore the global mar­ket.

Zhang can clearly re­call every step EP YAY­ING has taken to grow to what it is to­day, es­pe­cially dur­ing the most re­cent decade from 2009 to 2018, which put the brand on a fast de­vel­op­ment track and un­der the spot­light of the world stage to present Chi­nese fash­ion.

In 2015, the com­pany be­came a global part­ner of the China Pavil­ion at Expo Mi­lano, pro­vid­ing a new uni­form de­sign for the pavil­ion. The group first de­signed and pro­vided uni­forms for the World In­ter­net Con­fer­ence in 2016, be­fore form­ing a

deeper part­ner­ship by sign­ing a per­ma­nent strate­gic part­ner­ship with them in 2017.

Up­hold­ing Chi­nese cul­ture

With a mis­sion to share with global cus­tomers the brand’s fine Eastern aes­thet­ics, Zhang de­signed a dual-brand de­vel­op­ment strat­egy for the group: The World’s EP and YAY­ING of China.

EP of­fers con­tem­po­rary and mod­ern fash­ion styles that har­mo­niously in­te­grate Ori­en­tal and Western aes­thet­ics and artis­tic el­e­ments, re­flect­ing both global fash­ion and con­tem­po­rary Chi­nese life­style.

YAY­ING traces back its Chi­nese roots, fo­cused on ex­plor­ing and de­vel­op­ing China’s tra­di­tional cul­ture, aes­thet­ics, fash­ion and crafts­man­ship, in­te­grat­ing con­tem­po­rary aes­thetic tastes into its de­signs to cre­ate high qual­ity life­style with ex­quis­ite Chi­nese cul­tural iden­tity.

“We es­tab­lished a dual brand de­vel­op­ing strat­egy in the hopes of ex­plor­ing the com­mon ground of con­tem­po­rary de­sign lan­guage and Chi­nese tra­di­tional cul­ture, so as to in­spire a fash­ion­able and el­e­gant way of life and share that with cus­tomers around the world,” said Zhang.

Rooted in tra­di­tional Chi­nese cul­ture, EP YAY­ING is com­mit­ted to pre­serv­ing cul­tural her­itage through com­mer­cial­iza­tion.

“On one hand, we need to fully un­der­stand our Chi­nese cul­ture back­ground, tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from the essence of our na­tional and tra­di­tional cul­ture. On the other hand, we should not be con­fined to tra­di­tional Chi­nese de­sign lan­guage, but rather, find an in­ter­na­tional de­sign lan­guage that bal­ances modernity and ori­en­tal aes­thet­ics,” said Zhang.

Such a de­sign lan­guage also fully em­bod­ies EP YAY­ING’s show on Novem­ber 2 at China Fash­ion Week Spring Sum­mer 2019 in Bei­jing.

Themed on “Con­ver­gence & Cre­ation,” the show em­bod­ies the group’s rev­er­ence for na­ture and re­spect for Chi­nese cul­ture, achiev­ing bal­ance be­tween mankind and na­ture, art and cul­ture; and show­cased a com­bi­na­tion of con­tem­po­rary de­signs and tra­di­tional aes­thet­ics: EP’s 2019SS col­lec­tion and YAY­ING’s 2019SS haute cou­ture col­lec­tion.

Pass­ing down good val­ues

In 2012, the group set up an ad­vanced ar­ti­sanal work­shop ded­i­cated to pre­serve and pro­mote the de­vel­op­ment of Suzhou em­broi­dery as well as em­broi­dery from Hu­nan, Sichuan and Guang­dong prov­inces.

In the same year, the brand set up a bou­tique fac­tory to over­see the man­u­fac­tur­ing of its most com­plex, ex­quis­ite, tech­ni­cally in­ten­si­fied and time-con­sum­ing prod­ucts. On aver­age, one prod­uct in the fac­tory will be pro­cessed through 137 pro­ce­dures and go through seven in­spec­tions.

Aside from in­fus­ing Chi­nese cul­ture into its prod­ucts, EP YAY­ING also places much im­por­tance on im­press­ing Chi­nese cul­ture on its em­ploy­ees, thereby pass­ing down the Chi­nese val­ues of bal­ance, love and hap­pi­ness.

Tak­ing Chi­nese cul­ture as its in­spi­ra­tion, in 2012 the group fo­cused in­tensely on cul­ti­vat­ing com­pany cul­ture. Ef­forts were made to up­lift the aes­thetic qual­ity of its em­ploy­ees and, since last year, more than 30 study groups have been set up ded­i­cated to Chi­nese clas­sics and ethics.

The next 30 years

In Zhang’s ob­ser­va­tions of China’s fash­ion sec­tor, the in­dus­try as a whole will un­dergo even greater and deeper changes over the next 30 years than it has in the past 40 years.

“We be­lieve that, with the Belt and Road ini­tia­tive, more and more Chi­nese brands will go out into the world. Mean­while, the world will show in­creas­ing at­ten­tion to­ward Chi­nese fash­ion,” said Zhang. “What we need to do is to pro­vide higher value prod­ucts, bet­ter de­sign, bet­ter ser­vices and bet­ter brands to this vi­brant mar­ket.”

Thus far, the group is present in more than 210 cities all across China, in­clud­ing Bei­jing, Shang­hai, Guangzhou, Shen­zhen and Ma­cau, and is sup­ported by a re­mark­able on­line sales net­work. It will open a divi­sion in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia soon.

Zhang be­lieves 2017 through 2019 will be the key years for the group. In this time, the group will de­velop seven ar­eas in­clud­ing its busi­ness model, brand strat­egy, prod­uct strat­egy, chan­nel re­tail, sup­ply chain and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy and tal­ent man­age­ment.

A mag­nif­i­cent blue­print

For 2019, Zhang noted that the group will con­tinue draw­ing in­no­va­tive in­spi­ra­tion through art and cul­ture. The group will also set up the Hwa Fash­ion Art Cen­ter, which will house the brand’s his­tor­i­cal mu­seum, an art cen­ter, fash­ion mu­seum, li­brary and cul­tural school and more. The new cen­ter aims not only to honor the past his­tory of the brand, but pro­mote cre­ativ­ity and in­no­va­tion for the brand’s con­tin­u­ous de­vel­op­ment.

Zhang will ac­tively pro­mote work­shops to en­sure the brand’s crafts­men are able to pass on their tech­niques to new crafts­men, and in­crease in­vest­ments in chil­dren’s art, giv­ing a pos­i­tive in­flu­ence on the next gen­er­a­tion’s pur­suit of aes­thet­ics.

Zhang told the Global Times that, over the next 30 years, EP YAY­ING will con­tinue to for­tify its po­si­tion in China, de­velop its pres­ence in Asia and ac­tively pur­sue its in­ter­na­tional plans un­der the na­tion’s Belt and Road ini­tia­tive.

This will help lay out a mag­nif­i­cent blue­print for Chi­nese brands on the in­ter­na­tional fash­ion stage, promis­ing to share with all Chi­nese and con­sumers from all over the world China’s ex­quis­ite con­tem­po­rary fash­ion.

“Over the past 30 years, we have al­ways in­sisted on be­ing beau­ti­ful, mak­ing good clothes with good ma­te­ri­als and bring about beauty to our fe­male cus­tomers,” said Zhang.

“But,” Zhang added, “in the face of the fu­ture, we will, as al­ways, up­hold our busi­ness phi­los­o­phy of “bal­ance, love and hap­pi­ness,” and con­tinue to cre­ate value for cus­tomers and con­tribute to the great re­ju­ve­na­tion of Chi­nese cul­ture in the global fash­ion in­dus­try.”

Photo: Cour­tesy of EP YAY­ING Fash­ion Group

Mod­els at­tend the EP YAY­ING Night at the clos­ing cer­e­mony of China Fash­ion WeekSpring Sum­mer 2019 held in Bei­jing fromOc­to­ber 25 toNovem­ber 2.

Pho­tos: Cour­tesy of EP YAY­ING Fash­ion Group

As the de­vel­op­ment path of EP YAY­ING over­laps with the coun­try’s re­form and open­ing-up pol­icy of the past 40 years, Zhang also owes the group’s suc­cess to the coun­try it­self.“We caught up with a good1. Mod­els of the EP 2019SS col­lec­tion;2. Mod­els pose for the YAY­ING 2019SS haute cou­ture col­lec­tion;3. Two mod­els of the YAY­ING 2019SS haute cou­ture col­lec­tion;4. De­tails of a dress from the EP 2019SS col­lec­tion 1 2 3 4

Zhang Hwaming, chair­man of EP YAY­ING Fash­ion Group

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