It’s a funky world that is growing fast. After less than a year of being open, Triple-Major is rapidly challenging and reinventing fashion standards. The concept store’s own brand has now reached Paris Fashion Week and the iconic punctuation mark necklaces are becoming a must-have around Beijing. Stylites’ Suzy recently sat down with creator Ritchie Chan to discuss recent developments for his shop and brand and also what he has noticed about consumers in Beijing.
Stylites: Hi Ritchie, thank you for answering our little questionnaire, what are you wearing today?
I am wearing a coat by ffiXXed, Triple-Major T-shirt and necklace, Patrik Ervell Pants and Nike Sneakers.
Triple-Major is located in Baochang Hutong near Gulou, do you know what the neighbours to your shop think about your shop?
I always wanted to open a store that confuses people and look like something else, so our concept store is disguised as an acupuncture clinic. My neighbors and people who walked by would sometimes come in and try to find medicine. Others have no idea what it is.
In your opinion, has there or is there still a demand for European and American designs in China?
There’s always a big demand for foreign designs in China, just take a trip to Sanlitun Village North and it’s all foreign labels. But the thing is that most Chinese customers who shop foreign designs emphasized on the luxury labels and big brands. There used to be little room for independent and emerging designers, regardless local or abroad. Stores like Dongliang and BNC offer a great selection of independent local designers, so I feel like we are filling the puzzle with a selection of avant-garde designers from abroad.
Hongkong based retailer I.T. also offer a selection of established international brands like Isabel Marant, Tsumori Chisato or Martin Margiela available in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu Xi’an and Hongkong. What would you say distinguishes Triple-Major from these stores?
I think we are very different from other fashion retailers in China. In terms of selection of designers, we focus more on independent and progressive labels that couldn’t be found anywhere else in China or even Asia. The designers are a mix of more established ones with a higher price point and more affordable emerging designers. The goal is to provide the customers with a more alternative, diverse and less commercial selection of clothing. In terms of mode of retail, we are more like a concept store, so we reserve the second floor as a constantly changing space that’s sometimes used as a gallery or for events and exhibitions. At the same time, we also produce our own label, which is represented in other stores as well.
Individual style and less brand-orientated fashion approaches have heavily developed during the last decade in equally the USA, Europe and China. With its choice of small designers from Germany, Austria, Denmark, the USA and Thailand, Romania, Iceland, Sweden, Australia etc…Triple Major seems to correspond to these new needs of self-fulfilment. Do you feel your regular customers take pleasure in dressing differently?
It’s true that more and more Chinese customers begin to understand that clothes are not just a way to show off their wealth, and we do provide a selection of individualistic clothing. But I think in general looking unique and different is still not what people mostly concerned about. Sometimes our customers or even myself shop because of other reasons like the clothes’ function, fabric, color and so on.
Do you have more female or male customers?
We have a mix of different customers: Male and female, young and old, locals and expats, walk-ins and regulars. Sometimes I am surprise by how diverse the clientele is actually.
What do you think could be the reason for this?
I guess all kinds of people need a break from shopping malls and what they would normally wear. Although some pieces in the store are more conceptual and harder to pull off, we intentionally keep a selection of more affordable and wearable pieces so that we can approach to a wider audience.
For the upcoming season, you are stocking a lot of patterns, how do you make your selection of articles for the store? Are you following trends?
Since the designers we carry are never really in style, they are never really out of style, so we don’t generally follow seasonal trends. Playful patterns and interesting cuts are something I personally like. But for the store I try to keep the selection more diverse so there are some more conservative pieces or feminine items for our customers.
Do you have a favourite piece among next season’s items?
Yes this crying hoodie from Daniel Palillo is my favorite piece. The reserved playfulness says a lot about my personality I think.
Will you continue hosting special events at the shop in 2011?
Yes! We try to have new events and exhibitions every other week. We have just opened an exhibition with a new designer called Olivia Su, and every other weekend we are trying to host a flea market on our rooftop, so people can bring their own clothes and have little stands at the flea market selling vintage or second hand clothes. We also encourage people with interesting ideas to approach us! So if you are reading this interview and interested in doing something about it, we are more then happy to provide the space for it!
来自香港的时装零售商I.T.代理一些国外知名的设计师，比如Isabel Marant, Tsumori Chisato or Martin Margiela等，并在国内多个地方有店。你认为Triple-Major和这些零售商的分别在于那里？
我 们跟中国其他服装店挺不一样的。 在设计师的选择方面，我们主要关注一些较前卫和独立的设计师，他们很多在国内甚至亚洲都没有的。设计师从新进到较成熟的都有，目的是给大家一个较不一样， 多元化和非商业化的选择。在销售模式方面，我们比较像是概念店，因为我们店的二层经常会用于做展览和活动，有时甚至会变成画廊。和其他买手店不一样的还有 我们有自己的品牌，并在别的地方销售。