Nana: Fashion has infinite possibilities, and new power is born from it. As a carrier of culture and times, fashion encompasses everything. From trendy to traditional culture, from celebrities, idols to everyone’s daily life, and from West to East, it is our discourse, our power, our time. Through Asian Voice, we hope to spread the local Asian fashion culture to the world by moving cross languages and borders.
In this issue, we welcome Wah Yan Ching Nin(華人青年), a streetwear brand from China. The founders are a group of Chinese youths living in China, Japan, and the United States who are very passionate about traditional Chinese culture, and express pride in their Chinese heritage with a base in Chinese traditional culture. The design contains an understanding of traditional Chinese culture and street culture, such as the occurring elements of Chinese characters. The core concept is conveyed: Ethnic confidence, Brand confidence, Cultural confidence.
Nana: What is the story behind Wah Yan Ching Nin (華人青年)?
WP: Since its birth in 2017, Wah Yan Ching Nin (華人青年)has been continuously demonstrating to the world the street culture bred by the new generation of Chinese young people, and fully reveals the confidence and strength of Chinese brand. Wah Yan Ching Nin conveys to the world the vision of “Accompanied by the ascent of China, Chinese youth will rise all the way up.”
Over the past few years, Wah Yan Ching Nin(華人青年) has been putting efforts to integrate Chinese culture into apparel, working with well-known units around the world in various cultural fields such as music, art, and sports, hoping to maximize this Ethnic confidence. These include Rapper China Mac, Japanese silver artisans Taro Washimi, Takashi Takayama, etc.
Nana: What motivated you create the brand and name it “Wah Yan Ching Nin(華人青年)”?
WP: At first, many people knew me because I started out as “黑店终结者(The Counterfeits Terminator)” on social media. At that time, in the eyes of most fans, I was the man who crazy about street culture, buying clothes and annoyingly minding other people’s business.
Later, because of my long-term love for street culture, I felt I should build a brand that respects and spreads Chinese culture, and that one day it will be able to stand out and show the world with the confidence. Then I have another identity- WP of Wah Yan Ching Nin(華人青年).
Nana: What kind of experiences do you want customers to have when they are buying and wearing the cloths from Wah Yan Ching Nin(華人青年)?
WP: Ethnic confidence, Brand confidence, Cultural confidence. It corresponds to our mission. We need bigger platforms and better opportunities so that we can make something representing our own. China is on the rise, and the pioneering spirit and the pursuit of national cultural renaissance that the Chinese people have will continue to play out, both now and in the future.
For example, at the end of 2021, we held a POP-UP in Hangzhou, which was located at the famous Grand Dragon Boat on the West Lake of Hangzhou. Hangzhou is a city that thrives on the West Lake, is famous for the West Lake, and has the West Lake as its heart. Therefore, we believe it will be a very unforgettable experience for all the visitors to land on the Dragon Boat and tour the West Lake together with the sculptures, figures, finger sliders and other installations that we have set up in the POP-UP. Combining street culture with urban landmarks, I think we were building that kind of confidence for the guests.
Nana: Could you please share our readers the most impressive collaboration you have done before?
WP: It must be the latest one. We present the Chinese New Year game with the Brooklyn Nets during the spring festival at the year of the Rabbit.
Chinese young people love to play basketball and have been watching the NBA since very young. The Nets are the only team in the entire NBA with a Chinese owner and an independent Chinese marketing strategy team, and the Nets have always valued the Chinese fans.
Therefore, we took this opportunity to celebrate the holiday season together while using basketball as a bridge to showcase the colorful traditional Chinese culture to the world.
Nana: Wow, that is amazing. How it started and how was it?
WP: The collaboration with the Nets was very surprising and unexpected for me, I am a Nets fan myself and have liked Kyrie Irving for many years. So, once I received the phone call from the Nets about four or five months ago, I was shocked. At first, we wanted to do a cloth collection together, but eventually we decided to present the Chinese New Year game together.
The project itself, like our brand’s mission, is very much a reflection of ” Ethnic confidence, Brand confidence and Cultural confidence”, so it is a must for us. We hope that fans all over the world will be able to see this game with an oriental flavor during the Chinese New Year. Let the cultural exchange between East and West become more adequate.
During the entire process, I was impressed by how much attention the Nets paid to the Chinese fans. For example, the Chinese characters and the Chinese red-themed decorations on the Nets’ player jerseys as well as everywhere inside and outside the arena, are enough to show that the Nets are serious about giving back to the Chinese fans’ support and fully respecting the traditional Chinese culture. For me, I’m very glad to see our collaborating partner also shares this form of cultural respect.
Nana: How do you come up and decide on the themes for new collections?
WP: I would think from my personal hobbies and past experiences. My inspiration is varied, it could be a video game I used to play, a toy I collected, or those memorable movies. In a nutshell, it could be anything only if it is cool to me.
Nana: Can you tell us about some of the most challenging experiences you have had during the process of building your brand?
WP: My grandfather and father are both in the construction-related industry, and they are very traditional people. When I chose my major, I did what they asked me to do and chose civil engineering. Later, my classmates didn’t understand my “passion” for clothes and show no respect to me. Before I started my brand, I was always treated as a freak by my peers and even my family, because they had no idea of what I was doing. “Ah, you sell clothes, you identify sneakers ……” As it was a culture they didn’t understand, so people would put it down.
At that time, the street culture in China was not that popular, and the lack of understanding from my friends and family put a lot of psychological pressure on me at the beginning of my business. However, the more I knew what I liked to do and what I wanted to do, the more I believed in myself, and this idea of building a brand became stronger and stronger from then on.
Nana: Do you have any advice for our readers who are seeking to find a way to build a brand just like you?
WP: Do what you really want to do, in the direction that you truly believe, and to pursue a good balance between culture and business.
Do what you really want to do, in the direction that you truly believe