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Dear Neemic friends,

We just shot a wonderful autunm/winter collection and are going straight to perform the catwalk in Chengdu Fashion Week.
Big Thank You to our fantastic team and all NEEMIC supporters!

For the new pieces, we found mesmerizing materials, delicate textures and reflections of light. May they keep many hearts warm in winter!

We'll be launching the collection in Beijing very soon, so stay tuned.

Posted by Amihan - July 27, 2014

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Artworks being transferred on clothes, combined with a natural simplicity and a light darkness could be one way to try to describe BlankBlank clothes, another way to describe it would be a process that focuses on the technique of painting and then transferring the result onto clothes. No matter how you choose to describe their designs in words, the result will always implicate simple freedom.
 
 
BLANKBLANK is a Latvian label founded by Linda Blanka and Martins Blanks, who wanted to experiment different ways to make classical art wearable for the streets. For them, the clothes serve as a platform for the artist, and as media for the artwork, which results in wearable fashion.
 
 
Posted by Sarah 22 July, 2014
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Jade Chiu is an independent designer creating statement pieces inspired by her Eastern Zodiac obsession. The Taiwanese born artist has turned heads from the likes of Italian Vogue, i-D UK, and Shinsegae campaign with her edgy and dreamy take on the 12 ancient Chinese zodiac signs and elements, and is now taking Asia by storm. By combining her Eastern origins with her Western education, she has created a stunning fusion of cultures for her collections. Her aim is to capture each individual’s true personalities and dreams through a variety of avant-garde pieces that range from simple rings, to body chains. Jade Chiu is introducing a new attitude of jewelry wearing to China that will, with no doubt, introduce Beijing to a new age of daring body ornaments. 
 
 
 
Can you tell us a little bit about your original inspiration to base your collection on the Chinese Zodiac Animals?
 
That has a lot to do with my identity and ethnicity. In the Chinese zodiac calendar, there is a different animal each year, and that is what I base my collections on. Through an East-West fusion influence, I adapt the animal and create my own interpretation.  
 
How would you define the style of your designs?
 
I would describe it as pop-surrealism and punk. For me, it is a combination of art and fashion together, but with a story. I have a lot of different influences, but my goal is to make my brand stand out.
 
I read on your website that through your jewelry you want to “decorate and accentuate our body and soul”, can you explain that a little further?
 
Jade is a precious stone; it gives you luck and money. So when someone wears my pieces I want them to feel like it is giving them good luck, and wearing a part of my own soul. 
 
One winter, there was a girl who came into my studio looking for something to wear to a concert; she burst into tears in my studio, explaining to me that she hates the way she looks. I said to her that everybody is beautiful in different ways, and made her bunny ears so that she would stand out in the concert. This was a huge moment for me, because I never realized the effect my jewelry can have on someone’s perception on how they look. I realized that because my designs are so conversational, it says so much about the wearer’s body and soul, and makes them the center of attention. 
 
What is the most exciting thing about being a designer and creating a product?
 
To see the actual product! When I make a jewelry piece, I use a “melting wax” process, which then needs casting, assembling, and plating. Once that entire procedure is finished, I am always shocked, combined with a certain amount of self-satisfaction; your baby is born! All your hard work is worth it. 
 
I think I would describe that as more of an “emotional” moment, rather than exciting. I think meeting all the designers here, and getting to work and meet people who recognize you is “exciting”. Coming to China, everyone has been so supportive. Hans (Neemic), Vega (Vega Zaishi Wang), Janine Grosche (Path) are a group of people who have been so supportive, so it has been great coming back to my Asian roots, and be accepted into the designer community. 
 
Speaking of different designers, is there anyone specifically you want to collaborate with in the future? 
 
I am open to all kinds of collaborations, especially in different categories of the industry. I was talking to Hans (Neemic), when he was showing me around Beijing on his bike, that an idea for a new design could be a cushion for the bike, which would fit the Beijing lifestyle. Some of my designs are beautiful, but the most important thing for me is product design. For example, making surgical things wearable.  That way, people won’t feel ashamed going out, but it can be something edgy instead. So, I am definitely open to collaborate with other designers and create something new. At the end of the day, design is used to improve people’s lives, and I want people to enjoy the product design aspect.
 
Concerning your designs, how do you think opening to an Asian market will be different compared to a Western market?
 
I think my products will be more popular in Asia. In China, everyone really promotes Chinese designers, and everyone has been incredibly supportive. Especially among other individual designers, there hasn’t been a feeling of being a competitor, but instead everyone is very supportive of one another. I think that the Asian clientele will be more accepting of certain of my designs. 

Posted by Stephanie 23 July, 2014

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Ramie is a textile material that has been used as far back as Egyptian mummies. However with less than 100 craftsmen who make ramie cloth in China, the traditional textile technique is a dying art. Summerwood is a sustainable textile production company that was founded in July 2013, and dedicated to the production of ramie (also known as summer fabric). Hongbo (the founder of Summerwood) and many independent Fashion Designers are together reviving the production of the traditional textile in a modern expression. Slowly changing the nature of textile usage in China. 

 

 

Interviewer: Jean DONG

Interview with Summerwood Founder: Yi Hongbo 

 Q: Can you briefly introduce your motivation in running a sustainable fashion textiles business? What is your main focus and what are your recent goals in the business?

A: Our goal is to create relevance for the sustainable material in a modern expression. Currently, Summerwood is mainly cooperating with the Fashion industry, but we hope to expand the business further into the Home Textile industry.

 Q: You have been working collaboratively with independent fashion designers in China; can you describe your experience of the cooperation?

A: Summerwood has been founded since July 2013, and has been cooperating with many independent fashion brands that have similar goals to our company. We teamed up with NEEMIC, who I met when I was still an editor at Outlook Magazine, to create a black maxi skirt and top (made with up cycled leather) for the Neemic 2013 AW ‘Cocoon’ collection. The handmade garment was bleached and dyed with natural based substance, the black dye made from root substances found in Yunnan. We have also been cooperating with Ban Xiao Xue, who used to be the chief designer of EXCEPTION de Mixmind, and founded his own brand BANXIAOXUE in 2013. Summerwood also collaborated with mymymy from Xiamen. We are currently collaborating with international fashion brands, such a Ramiesu- a newly emerged British fashion brand.

 

 

 Q: What is your choice of dyeing process? What are the advantages and disadvantages of your chosen dyeing procedure?

A: The dyeing process is a very important step in making Summerwood textiles. The whole process of natural plant dyeing is environmentally friendly, causing less air pollution, this allows for healthier working conditions in dyeing factories. However this dyeing method comes with certain constrictions, for example, the stability in coloration. Due to the only being able to dye small quantities at once, differences in colour can be found depending on cloths dyed in different phases.

Q: Our SFDC team is trying to make sustainable/organic fabric available to various retail channels; this will allow fashion designers to have access to suitable/ organic fabric more easily. From your perspective, what do you think could be adjusted?

A: I have high hopes for the SFDC (Sustainable Fashion Design Center) project. There are a large number of foreign trade companies and clothing factories in the Pearl River Delta and the Changjiang River, but no integrity due to poor connections between the manufacturing process and the design process. A project like SFDC is beneficial to the integrity of the supply chain, where through strengthening cooperation, a successful supply cycle can be achieved.

Q: Have you witnessed some change in people’s perception from your interaction with designers/garment companies?

A: I mainly see the changes from people around me. Consumers are starting to consider the quality of materials more, and are becoming more environmentally aware of their purchases. 

Posted by Stephanie 10 July, 2014

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When Angel Chang discovered Miao and Dong indigenous minority textiles in a museum in Shanghai. She was surprised by their accuracy of stitching and their simple beauty, so she travelled in the Guizhou Province to discover where the fabric were made and if these 1000 years of craftsmanship still existed today. She discovered that these traditional hand-woven fabrics made of locally grown materials were still made today. Unfortunately less and less people knew how to stitch the traditional way and as a result of that, a lot of museums where buying those fabrics, because they prognosed that the culture will die out in at least 30 years.

So when she came back she developed the idea of making a capsule collection with 40 pieces of clothing using their knowledge about textile stitching and textile dying, all made natural chemical free, sourcing from this region. To make this possible and to help the region by building up a local training program so that elders can pass their knowledge down to the younger generation to prevent the culture from dying out and to improve the living and education standard in the village you can support her project by buying her products at kickstarter.

www.kickstarter.com/projects/angelchang/handwoven-collectibles-to-save-a-vanishing-culture-0#

Trough her campaign she also supports the Fashionrevolutionday campaign initiated by Livia Firth to establish a consumer-conciousness concerning the background and production of clothes.

Posted by Sarah 30 April,2014

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We are so proud about the article published by Jing Daily the magazine for luxury consumer trends in China, which is one of the seldom bilingual and bicultural magazines. Jing Daily was launched in 2009 and until now has developed to one of the most influential luxury magazines. In their article they give a great insight on the sustainable movement in China and NEEMIC’s engagement in it. Stating NEEMIC being one of the leaders in the sustainable fashion movement in China, promoting a greener lifestyle. Also focusing on the problem of environmental pollution in China and the 5ENSES event during the JUE-Festival. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did!

NEEMIC’S SUSTAINABLE ‘HYBRID’ STYLE ATTRACTS CHINA’S ECO-FRIENDLY FASHIONISTAS

BY LIZ FLORA

China’s rampant pollution and numerous product safety scandals have placed environmental issues front and center in the lives of China’s urban residents. As a result, companies featuring eco-friendly, natural products are hoping to gain the attention of Chinese consumers looking to buy goods that won’t harm themselves or the environment.

One Beijing-based brand on the cutting edge of this movement in the fashion sphere is NEEMIC—a self-proclaimed “hybrid” brand that focuses on both fashion and sustainability. Using all-natural fabrics such as linen and silk, the brand is equal parts idealism and pragmatism, with a philosophy that the clothes’ aesthetics and quality are just as important as their eco-friendly emphasis.

In order to learn more about the status of the sustainable fashion movement in China, we interviewed NEEMIC and Beijing Fashion Collective co-founder Hans Martin Galliker on the brand’s philosophy, its recent participation in Beijing’s JUE Festival, and how eco-fashion can appeal to Chinese consumers in a world of fast fashion and mega-brands.

How is your brand’s philosophy and approach to fashion different from a typical fashion brand?

NEEMIC’s work is centered around three visions: One, creating outstanding fashion; two, making the industry more environmentally sustainable; and three, building bridges between Europe and Asia. Our efforts are going beyond those of average independent fashion brands. We want our operations to become a holistic, closed loop circle—we call it a perfect “eco-system of creativity and sustainability.” Our philosophy and approach is heavily influenced by co-founder Amihan Zemp’s background in sociology and my background in sustainable agriculture and IT.

You recently presented at an event called MAKE 5ENSE as part of Beijing’s JUE Festival. What was the main idea of your presentation?

MAKE 5ENSE consisted of five artists guiding the audience on a sensual journey, nurturing feelings of awe and wonder with their unique performances. Instead of simply going for the obvious, the visual sense, I instead went for “textile maneuvers in the dark,” to approach the touch sense. I made this decision because the fabrics which NEEMIC uses feel so good, are of the highest quality, [and] are all-natural, and some are even organic. It was completely dark during MAKE 5ENSE, with only an MC giving instructions. We released little pieces of floating natural fabrics onto the surprised audience. They were asked to communicate non-verbally by touching each other and sharing the fabric pieces, ensuring that everyone got one. This was followed by 10 dancers moving through the audience, each wearing NEEMIC clothes made from different fabrics with a distinctive surface feel, hugging them and eliciting a sensual touch experience.

To be honest, in the beginning I was unsure whether this would work out—whether this slightly unusual approach was going too far. The dancers were also a bit nervous. Luckily everything went great, the audience was really open and enjoyed the novel hugging and fabric-touching experience. The empathetic guidance of “The Voice of God,” MC and professional magician Kemin (科民), also greatly helped. After the show the audience went to see the dancers and touched their dresses again, curious to find out who and what had touched them in the dark.

This C!Talk MAKE 5ENSE event was artistically motivated, but there are also implications for the fashion industry. Independent designers that use natural, high-quality fabrics which are manually produced don’t have capital access to enable economies-of-scale, and also bear cost structures which don’t allow them to be exhibited at various point of sales. So many customers simply don’t have the chance in real life to see and touch the difference of indie designer fashion compared with mainstream fast fashion.

NEEMIC_Cocoon_Editorial_Polar-Coat

(Huang Weijie)

What is the inspiration for your latest collection?

One reason that NEEMIC set up the NPO Beijing Fashion Collective was to help support the availability of organic fabrics to independent Chinese fashion designers. A recent project that we are overseeing is the planned “BNC x GOTS special collection” for this autumn. GOTS is the global organic textile standard and Brand New China is one of China’s leading indie designer boutiques, reselling 110 domestic brands. We are also planning an all-organic collection, designed collaboratively with three well-known designers.

We will try to win Zhou Xun (周迅) as a goodwill ambassador, because she not only has a green heart and good taste, but can further help cheer up sustainable fashion that is “Designed in China.” Such approaches can be quite inspiring, and if they succeed, will hopefully motivate the industry to do the same, unleashing demand for the increased availability of organic fabrics in the Chinese for retail market.

What makes NEEMIC’s clothing more environmentally friendly and sustainable than that of mainstream labels?

We use all natural fabrics such as linen, hemp, silk or ramie, some organic certified, some up-cycled from production leftovers, and some from decomposing old jeans or leather jackets. Some of the fabrics are hand-made, such as the ramie (Chinese: zhuma, 苎麻, also known as Zhongguo cao, 中国草, or “China grass”) fabrics, which we source in China’s ramie fabric capital Liuyang, where there are around 80 people left who live from producing these exclusive fabrics by hand. Most of these are for export to Japan’s upper class, but are increasingly being sold to Chinese indie designers thanks to Liuyang-native entrepreneur and writer Yi Hongbo (易洪波), who has made it his mission to keep alive this worthy and eco-friendly manufacturing tradition. We like to give such suppliers a fair share of our hard-earned money.

NEEMIC notes on its website that some eco-friendly labels don’t put enough emphasis on the aesthetics of the clothes. Why do you think that is, and why did you decide to be different?

That was perhaps somewhat blunt. My stance is that eco-friendly fabrics often limit color palettes and functionality. I admire purist eco-brands that are able to work within the confines of these limitations and nonetheless manage to come up with good-looking creations. Due to improvements in production processes and a positive list (of allowed chemicals), an increasing number of options are now possible.

For example, in March this year, GOTS announced version 4.0 of its regulatory guidelines. Compared to previous versions, more chemical inputs were approved for use, so long as they had undergone prior testing regarding their environmental impact. I personally welcome this pragmatic approach, but there is wide disagreement in organic circles due to concerns that such “dilutions” will negatively affect consumer perceptions where there are assumptions that organic means pure organic.

At NEEMIC, we are even more pragmatic; for the sake of creating a beautiful and fashionable piece, we sometimes even use fabrics like sand-washed silk, which at the source is a natural product, but I wouldn’t consider it to be very eco-friendly. On the other hand, it looks and feels so beautiful and exclusive, the proud owner of this silk piece will treat it with utmost care and keep it for a decade or even the next generation. Environmental deficiencies at the beginning can be compensated with our “hybrid” approach if the environmental lifetime balance is positive.

NEEMIC_Cocoon_Editorial_Morgan-Winter-Blazer

(Huang Weijie)

How much awareness of sustainable fashion exists in China today?

A large proportion of the Chinese population has long valued good-quality clothing. Due to China’s rapid economic development, this tradition has suffered and the market has been swamped with cheap, low-quality clothing and international fast-fashion chains, which the culturally curious younger generation find alluring. However, due to higher costs along the value creation chain and competition with international brands, domestic producers have been pressed to establish themselves in higher-quality ranges as well—to the advantage of the conscious Chinese consumer.

Last but not least, the tainted food and other environmental scandals have led to a more sensitive and selective approach amongst people with regards to what they consume. Until last year, this awareness was solely in the baby fashion sector. Now awareness is increasingly filtering out to include adult clothing, where customers are asking our reseller boutiques for eco-attributes. This implies growing markets for eco- and quality fashion.

Do China’s pollution levels and other serious environmental problems help to make Chinese consumers interested in your brand concept?

Some get to know us through our involvement in other organizations, such as the NPO Interactive Beijing, which crowd-sources and incubates ideas for social and environmental change. There are many synergies, which for us is as exciting as it can be for potential consumers.

Do you think most of your current Chinese customers are buying your clothes for their design or your brand’s sustainable philosophy?

They will first see NEEMIC’s focus on fashion design, and once they get to know more about our engagement with creativity and sustainability, they might even be willing to help spread the word.

neemic-cocoon_hazel-coat_1212

(Huang Weijie)

Chinese consumers are known for their interest in major fashion brands, but many are saying that’s changing as tastes evolve. As a smaller niche label, have you seen growing interest in your brand?

As always, a good-quality product and good PR doesn’t necessarily equate to a high conversion rate in sales. In order for niche labels to gain market traction, they not only need to excel in sustainability, but also need to be marketed professionally. We are working on that. To take further advantage of growing interest, we are developing more customized services to better improve customer satisfaction. For example, a visually appealing online shop module that guides customers through a made-to-measure order process will not only increase customer satisfaction, it will also improve overall sustainability, since made-to-order pieces are kept for much longer than off-the-rack items.

What do you think the future holds for NEEMIC and the sustainable fashion movement in general?

We are striving to become an international household name for cool, sustainable designer fashion. If we find an investor we will extend our work to encompass male fashion, where we see even better market potential.

The up-cycling specialist FAKE NATOO, ffiXXed, which produces in-house under fair-trade conditions, or the eco-friendly active-wear FINCH are other pioneers who will hopefully benefit from the rise in demand for sustainable fashion. Mainstream markets are increasingly aware of such a rise. Recently, there has been growing interest from property developers in our Sustainable Fashion Design Center concept, which would further facilitate the sustainable fashion movement. Innovations like these are nurturing the rise of “Handmade in Beijing” and “Designed in China” in becoming internationally valued trademarks.

Source: www.jingdaily.com

Posted by Sarah 17 April, 2014

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