Ma Ke is out to break fashion's hierarchy

By Zhao Xu ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-06-27 08:17:24

Ma Ke is out to break fashion's hierarchy

Ma Ke, designer of Wu Yong.[Photo/China Daily]

The designer says she carried that message to Paris.

Reflecting on her roomy designs, which often stay away from the body, Ma says, despite the huge popularity of the body-hugging qipao, or cheongsam these days, traditional Chinese aesthetic is implicit.

"We don't scream, we suggest," she says of her clothing line. "Retaining space between the body and clothes is to allow room for interplay between them."

Of the entire Wu Yong Space in Beijing, there's one corner that has stayed most close to Ma's heart, she says. It is an elevator space-turned-meditation room, reflective of Wu Yong's philosophy, "state of mind that is Chinese".

But at the same time, her products are expensive.

A dinning table made from recycled things, for instance, can cost upward of 30,000 yuan ($4,800), while a linen shirt easily about 5,000 yuan.

"Using the best possible material and having everything done in our workshop in Zhuhai have indeed made our costs very high," Ma says.

"And why would you buy 10 pieces for 5,000 yuan and discarded half of them the next season? Take what you really need and buy no more, and you end up spending less."

And what about the designer? Is she beyond material temptation?

"Restraint. That's what we need," she says. "That's something very Chinese."

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