(Text by Reporter Xing Beilin/Photograph by Reporter Yu Ruwen) In 1917, brothers Jin Hongxiang and Jin Yixiang founded the first Chinese fashion brand - “Hongxiang”. In the following dozens of years, “Hongxiang” was ranked surely as “The Women’s Dress Beyond Match” of China’s garment industry with its superb tailoring, crafting techniques and cutting-edge management ideas, creating one after another legends of girls in a family wearing “Hongxiang” dresses to marry generation after generation. After 100-year history of wane and wax, “Hongxiang” Brand still enjoys wide reputation today with the “crafting skills of Hongxiang women's dress” inherited by Generations listed in Shanghai municipal intangible cultural heritage catalogue, which adds new brilliance to this old brand.
On the evening of October 27, “Hongxiang” held the 100th anniversary celebration ceremony themed “in the trends never end in one hundred years; we set sail again when the wind prevails” in the fashion capital of Jing’an District “800show” to redisplay fashion classics of Shanghai style and to voice the new dream of taking off again. Lu Xiaodong, Deputy Secretary of CPC Jing’an District Committee and Chief Executive of Jing’an District Government, Ren Wenyan, former Vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of Shanghai Municipal People's Congress, Cai Hongsheng, President of Shanghai Commercial Association, Liu Min, Deputy Director of Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, Ye Jianhua, Vice-chairman of Standing Committee of Jing’an District People’s Congress and President of Jing’an District Federation of Trade Unions, and Zhou Haiying, Deputy Executive of Jing’an District Government, attended the ceremony.
In his speech, Lu Xiaodong noted that Jing’an District would offer strong support for “Hongxiang” to develop on the new path. He also encouraged “Hongxiang” people to inherit the cultural essence and innovative concept of the century-old brand, to carry forward the craftsmanship of “perfection and reliability” represented by the brand and to promote openness and integration, thus paving the way for a brilliant chapter for the next century.
A 100-year long dialogue between “Hongxiang” and fashion
The 100th anniversary celebration ceremony was rolled out that night in three chapters, namely “Fleeting Years”, “Craftsmanship” and “Metamorphosis”, with three fashion shows, “Shanghai Style”, “Superior Quality” and “Image”, as the main program, representing respectively the starting of the century inheritance of “Hongxiang”, the current “Hongxiang” of ingenuity and its aspiration to achieve dreams in the future, which collectively demonstrated the women’s dress crafting techniques and design concept of “Hongxiang” brand. The dresses, nearly 60 suits, appearing on the T stage, resembled the 100-year long dialogue between “Hongxiang” and fashion.
“Shanghai Style” show was the redisplay of “Hongxiang” in the time of “Shanghai Bund”. 16 vintage dresses, including stylish Chi-pao of Shanghai, the expensive fur coats and dresses as well as wedding dresses, showed the fashionable classics of Shanghai style and the fascinating age again, taking audiences back to the 1930s and 1940s.
“Superior Quality” show was the tribute paid to craftsmanship of “Hongxiang”. 20 modern dresses embodied the essence of “Hongxiang women’s dress intangible heritage techniques” demonstrating the century-old inheritance of craftsmen, craftsmanship and crafting quality through premium fabrics, simple designs, accurate tailoring and refined crafting details of the brand.
“Image” show was the voice of future design notion of “Hongxiang”. The modest elegance inherited in 100 years brought out the noble and capable temperament of females and demonstrated the brand value of ever-improving design capability and transition to high-end customization. According to the responsible person of “Hongxiang” design team, high-end customization was an expression of taste and experiences more than figure-based tailoring. In the future, “Hongxiang” would enable high-end customization to approach everyone’s life in a new form by integrating art, quality and classics and bringing more touching happiness from fashion.
Pay tributes to the century-old craftsmanship
The century-old history has witnessed various changes but not the dream and persistence of “Hongxiang”. Over the past 100 years, “Hongxiang” masters devote their life into women’s dresses to create a legend of “craftsmanship” stitch by stitch, to instill the philosophy and warmth of “Hongxiang” people into every dress and to endow “Hongxiang” brand with a lasting reputation.
On the ceremony, the second-generation inheritor Jin Taijun, who was 88 years old, was awarded “Lifetime Achievement Award”. He also gifted the tailoring tools accompanying him in his career to Chen Jian, the third-generation inheritor and “Craftsman of Shanghai 2017”. “Though Hongxiang is century old now, it will not decay, and it will create more achievements in the new century.” The above is the expectation of Jin Taijun for “Hongxiang” as well as the responsibility of its inheritor generation after generation. Chen Jian said that in his 40-year work in “Hongxiang”, what he had learnt was the craftsmanship of “bringing what you do to perfection year after year with down-to-earth efforts” beyond the techniques to earn a livelihood. And he expressed that he would carry forward both the techniques and spirit with all his efforts.
On the train of the dress, a lifelike red-crowned crane was full of stereoscopic features and 100 plum blossom, each unique in style, brought seemingly subtle aroma floating in the air. That night, a gorgeous red satin dress with train was unveiled as the “highlight” of the event attracting everyone’s eyes. This was the “birthday present” as well as the tribute to Hongxiang’s century-old craftsmanship crafted by 16 masters in 1 month through tens of thousands stitches. The red-crowned crane represented the wish that “Hongxiang” brand would take off higher and higher like a bird and create more brilliance. And the plum blossom represented the team spirit of being strong, loyal and innovative in “Hongxiang” people and the confidence and determination of achieving a brighter future for “Hongxiang”. The responsible person also noted that in the future, on the basis of inheriting crafting experience of craftsmanship, “Hongxiang” would introduce in-store designers and fashion consultants to provide customers with more professional and targeted services and high-level fashion experience and promote the brand to transform into a high-end fashion brand.
The brilliant chapter for the next century starts
The century-old “Hongxiang” brand adheres to its persistence to and innovation of techniques and pursuit of fashion stitch by stitch. Today, “Hongxiang” starts its layout of next century based on brand upgrading and transformation, improving design and service capability and overall brand image, and giving full play to brand recognition and craftsmen’s creativity.
That night, "Hongxiang Traditional Skill Acquisition Institute" was officially founded by Hongxiang Company. As the President of "Hongxiang Traditional Skill Acquisition Institute", Chen Jian will lead backbones of new generations of “Hongxiang” women’s dress to promote dedicatedly the inheritance of “crafting skills of Hongxiang women's dress” and the fostering of inheritor of new generation, and integrate new techniques innovatively to develop new designs and new products with continuous efforts.
Kaikai Group, the parent company of Hongxiang Company, also announced to set up 1,000,000 yuan “Time-honored Brand Support Fund”, which will focus on the exploration of the historic values of time-honored brand to further publicize brand stories and inherit brand culture; advance aggressively the strategic development research, service upgrading and marketing promotion of time-honored brand and the fostering and introducing of talents; and vigorously support and boost the long-term development of Group's time-honored brands.