Please visit this pattern-breaking Fresh Fashion Tasty at http://www.coolabstudio.com
With Jingle Bells blasting from every 7/11 on every corner of every street across ice-besotted Beijing, Christmas time is unmistakably knocking on the door once again. December is my favorite month, with everybody being just that studded tad nicer to one another and my one preoccupation amounting to “What to wear on NYE?”. ‘Tis also the season for food — for the love of Christmas just stick to turkey, people; no need to go Nigella (well… avocado on toast might be even too simple for yours truly) — and fashion connaisseurs, all meticulously whipping out the yays and nays for the holiday season.
To quote a Vreespirited favorite, “Style – Those who have it share one thing, originality”. I personally do not consciously honor the festive wear ABCs, but I suppose for some a guiding glove never hurts — unless it’s a Hello Kitty one, that love is no longer all around. If you can’t go all out and boast a bauble earring in December, then when can you? I’m just sayin’… Guiding one through the too-cool-for-school or streetstyle stakes, however, is a whole ‘nother rednosed reindeer. Treacherous territory. Let’s see what one of Shanghai’s latest independent bratpack brands has to say about this affair. COOLAB Studio’s Simona and XiaoXue (小雪) grab the deer by the antlers!
Art, Brand, Collision, COOLAB
Independent, born in Shanghai, handmade and more than just very very good-looking. COOLAB is a new design brand offering more than mere objects, from coats to bags, and actually taking into the stuffing their versatility and functionality so that they can befit anyone on any occasion. Seasons do not exist. The two designers behind the brand stem from different fields, but come together in their shared passion for the arts in all their senses. References to these are the dots and spots throughout the label’s collections. COOLAB mostly creates bona fide handmade products, but when shorthanded, the designers will explore the backup and know-how of local professionals to develop their ideas.
Inspiration comes in the many lost ways and many bizarre forms and always from our daily lives. Simona and XiaoXue live in Shanghai, once hailed as “the city of the future”. People come to Shanghai and they think it’s only about landscapes and gray offices set in brand new buildings. But for these creative crazies, it’s all about the people. And people-watching: Young, old, waving the fans, reliving the grunge or rocking the mantra of panache with a capital P, the streets of Shanghai are where the inspiration for COOLAB lies. Both designers come from a Chinese background, but do possess a frequent flyer card. Simona was born in Italy and her parents raised her according to some very old-school and “straight” Chinese traditions; XiaoXue spent six years in Paris. The brand’s designs are, if you will, like a large Western denim canvas filled with Chinese silk and some minority embellishments .
Fabrics, Fashions, Stories, Traditions
The COOLAB founders like to play with materials. Sometimes is not matter of what kind of fabric you find, but it’s simply all about how you will put it to (good) use it; what kind of design you will create with and for that textile. In order to get this spot on, you must get to know all there is, every characteristic and thread, about that specific fabric’s story. The brand prefers natural and locally produced materials, but also dares to incorporate different kinds of materials from other countries. Every place has its own story to tell and particular traditions to suit up – inspiration in abundance. It’s the most elementary job of any designer, and many seem to blissfully overlook these draperies, to study these and shape them in a modern cut.
A lot of young Chinese designers are currently coming out and setting foot on the growing Chinese fashion market. This number increases every year, freshly graduated from prestigious schools across fashion capitals such as Milan, Paris or London. They come back to China, set up their own brands, pay a bunch of people to work for them and pass their clothes off as luxury brand designs. “Good for them,” Simona and XiaoXue (and I) say in choir-ific harmony.
Yet how many of these are actually going to survive and stay-plus-play in the game for the long haul, remains to be seen. Sustainable approach? Not sure. Fashion twirls fast; after all, we buy winter coats in the 40 degree city heat and bikinis during Christmas time. COOLAB focuses on creating a collection of pieces and accessories that will match anyone’s ABCs of cool and last beyond any season. Including this festive one. Sustainable approach? For sure.
Go all out for the holidays and take on board a snippet of wisdom from Diana the Empress herself:
“A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste—it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against.”