Spreading culture with fashion and design

By Chen Jie ( China Daily ) Updated: 2017-01-14 07:20:08

Spreading culture with fashion and design

Carbon fiber chairs made without nails.[Photo provided to China Daily]

"So every day we focus on three things: How can we make it (the heritage) functional? The second is how to make it fashionable, trendy, young and cool. And, how can we give emotional value to it?"

Giving one example of her bestselling products, Jiang points to carbon-fiber chairs made without nails, inspired by the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

The diameter of each leg is just 7-8 mm, and you can carry the chair with one finger.

"Our innovation was to use a new material, carbon fiber," she says.

Bamboo used to represent the spirit of Chinese culture, and Jiang once visited a craftsman in southwest China's Sichuan province where she saw him using 0.35 mm bamboo to weave an "elephant".

"It (the elephant) was for decoration. But why don't we use his craftsmanship to make something functional?" she says.

Later, she designed a tea set with pot and tea cups made of bamboo and eggshell porcelain.

She also designed a coat and scarf made using Mongolian cashmere.

"Mongolian cashmere has memory. When you have it, you want to keep it because it remembers the shape of your shoulders," she says.

In 2011, Shangxia staff interviewed 1,000 Chinese families, and used their photos, letters, telegrams and diaries to produce a book.

She also held an exhibition to display some of the photos in the boutique.

In Jiang's mind, Shangxia is not only about selling products.

What she wants to do is to share and pass on Chinese culture and lifestyle.

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