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A quiet designer

By Chen Jie | China Daily | Updated: 2014-09-26 07:04

A quiet designer

A bedroom designed with items from Ma Ke's new label Wu Yong.[Photo provided to China Daily]

In 2001, when Peng, then a popular singer, was performing in Guangzhou, Ma was introduced to her by a TV reporter. Ma designed the dress for Peng's performance at the 2002 China Central Television Spring Festival Gala, the popular annual TV show.

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When Peng asked Ma to design a dress for her first state visit, she agreed without hesitation.

"I believe if the first lady dresses in a simple but elegant way and presents unique Chinese traditions, people of the country would follow the style," she says.

Exception, meanwhile, has grown into a big company, driven by Mao's ambition. But Ma's true calling lay elsewhere.

The more she traveled through China's countryside, she says, the more she realized that traditional craftsmanship was dying in the villages and that she could help revive the heritage through alternative fashion.

In 2006, Ma moved to Zhuhai, another city in Guangdong. She and Mao divorced.

"The fashion industry pushes people to change their wardrobes every season. Actually, we don't need to. I can wear a comfortable piece for five, six or even 10 years. When I was young, my mother would wear my grandmother's clothes and my mother passed hers to me. It still happens in villages," Ma says.

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