Established in 2008 by Jiang Qiong to create a commercial bridge between the contemporary living and traditional Chinese craftsmanship, Shang Xia is a welcomed respite to the bling and the buzz created by recent Chinese consumerism. The brand, which offers a highly curated selection of apparel, furniture, accessories, and fine decorative objects, has constructed its identity around a contemporary application of ancient Chinese traditions such as the sculptural and almost architectural manufacture & draping of felt, the moulding of delicately thin eggshell porcelain, and intricate weaving of finely stripped bamboo.
It was luxury purveyor Hermès that first recognised the importance of Shang Xia in terms of redefining the Chinese reputation for luxury manufacturing and took a 90% stake in the company, spending over 110 billion Euros annually for the past 7 years to build the brand. Though its projected breakeven will not be achieved until 2016, Hermès continues to invest as evidenced by another 2 million Euros to create the brand’s flagship in Shanghai which was designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. Shang Xia also have locations in Beijing and in the chic St Germain des Près arrondissement of Paris.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the brand’s apparel collection is its use of felt. Hand pressed and moulded, the fine cashmere wool felt becomes the ultimate expression of the concept of fusing Asian tradition and artistry with a minimalist and almost poetic vision of modern dressing. Inspired by traditional Han dynasty clothing, the felt collection is an elegant homage to China’s ancient past, yet paired down, honed, and refined to meet the needs of a modern consumer.