In partnership with Bang & Olufsen, we meet the Shanghai-based designers fuelled by ’90s nostalgia and anime soundtracks.
For Liushu Lei and Yutong Jiang, a friendship forged while at a high school in Shanghai has gone the distance. After studying fashion together in London and working for international brands, the duo moved home andlaunched ShuShu/Tong—a name that combines Lei and Jian’s respective nicknames. Now in its fourth year, the ready-to-wear label designs clothes that are both contemporary and steeped in nostalgia for a ’90s notion of girlhood. The young duo, who say that “life and work have long been one,” view each collection like flipping through a college year book; a snap-shot montage of playful, feminine styles.
Where do you draw inspiration for your collections?
Lei: Whenever we start to prepare for a brand new collection, we’ll always think about whether there are any elements from our own lives and past experiences that could ignite an idea or spark some creativity. Many of the campaigns are actually related to our experiences in high school and college. We designed a previous collection around the idea of girl gangs, which is exactly what my memory of high school is like. Back then, it was very popular for students to draw on their school uniforms and customize them. It’s left a lasting impression.
And what about your latest collection for the spring/summer 2019 campaign?
Lei: Tong and I were sorting through old photos when we stumbled across one of us living together in London. We had taken the photo at home, wearing only T-shirts and shorts. We looked so relaxed. So that became the idea for the collection: What do young women wear to relax when they’re alone in their bedrooms?
Tell me more about your creative process. Do you listen to music while working?
Lei: We definitely work better with music playing. As for the playlist, it depends on who the DJ is that day. I’m nostalgic—I like classic music from Hong Kong and Taiwan, and singers like FeiFei Ou-Yang, Lesley Lee and Alan Tam. They’re all old-school singers. I generally like all the ’60s and ’70s music, and some classic film soundtracks too.
Jiang: I’m a big fan of Japanese anime, so there will be a lot of ACG [anime, comic and games]soundtracks in my playlist. I’ve been obsessed recently with the Japanese music group Wednesday Campanella and a singer called Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.