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 edition of ASIAN VOICE, we are excited to introduce 1807, a streetwear brand rooted in Chengdu, China. It began with a deep love and determination to promote Hip-hop culture in China. From the results, the brand has certainly delivered. There are already six physical stores in Chengdu alone, and the brand is continuing to expand its stores, even hosting pop-up events in Japan this year. Looking ahead, the 1807 plan aims to open 100 physical stores in China within three years, demonstrating the brand’s influence among young people in China.Regarding past difficulties, 1807 has expressed that every setback and obstacle along the way has contributed to the current scale of the brand. Compared to the challenges at the beginning, 1807 believes that as the brand’s scale continues to expand, it will face even greater challenges, such as the accumulation of management knowledge.
Nana: What inspired you to create the brand initially?Slimboy: My name is Slimboy, and in collaboration with my big brother, Chris Iv, we embarked on a venture in 2015 that has since spanned almost 8 years. Our brand, 1807, was born from our passion for hip-hop culture. While my initial aspiration was to become a rapper, we ultimately decided to channel our creativity into fashion design, with the aim of embodying the essence of hip-hop culture and its associated lifestyle.
Nana: You have a huge followers in Chinese social media as well!Slimboy: We offer our clothing line both through our online store and a growing number of brick-and-mortar locations throughout China. Presently, our headquarters are based in Chengdu, where we have six retail locations. We plan to expand include opening new stores in the cities of Chongqing, Beijing, and Shanghai.
Nana: 1807 is synonymous with American street style in the eyes of many fans, how do you define the style?Slimboy&Chris Iv: Our brand ethos is rooted in a deep appreciation and love for hip-hop culture, and as such, we strive to create a space that welcomes and celebrates diverse expressions of style and individuality.
Nana: The collaboration with Li Ning has brought the brand to an even higher level of visibility, what are the interest things behind it that you can share with us?Slimboy: It’s a very long story. Li Ning finds us at first place and we tried to do a collaboration together. Chris Iv: During a survey of local street culture fans in Chengdu, we had the pleasure of meeting a designer from Li Ning. When the opportunity for a collaboration arose, they immediately thought of us as their first choice. The resulting collaboration was a huge success, with our limited edition collection selling out in a single day.
Nana: What are some short-term and long-term goals and plans that you like to share with us？Chris Iv: The first aspect is the stores in China, we plan to open 100 stores in China in just three years, Secondly, we have decided to expand our product line to include footwear and launched our own line of 1807 shoes. Then 1807 this year will be stationed in some Japanese select stores. Slimboy: We recently had a meeting with buyers from Japan to discuss the specifics, and while we are still working out the details, we are eager to introduce our brand to young people in Japan and share our passion for hip-hop culture and fashion with a new audience.
Nana: The brand has gone through a journey of 8 years, are there any challenges and difficulties that you would like to share with us?Chris Iv: In my opinion, the greatest challenge we face as our company grows is managing the internal operations and ensuring our management team is capable of handling the growth. So far, we have not experienced any major obstacles in terms of brand development.
Nana: Is there any problems and challenges that you think is in common of Chinese brands?Chris Iv: In the Chinese brand landscape, particularly for emerging brands, a common challenge is achieving a balance between expansion and management capabilities. While larger brands like Nike and Adidas may have the resources to open numerous stores, for smaller brands, such rapid growth can lead to issues with management and perception. This bottleneck is a challenge that many brands face. Additionally, creating a successful brand requires more than just a few friends coming together with an idea. Building a professional team is essential to managing the brand effectively. Moreover, as the brand grows, managing the supply chain becomes more complex. Scaling production from 100 pieces to 10,000 pieces requires a different process, and a comprehensive understanding of the supply chain is crucial. Ultimately, growing a brand presents greater challenges than starting one, and missteps in these areas can lead to the failure of the brand.
Nana: With the debut of the new brand Chris Iv in Tokyo, what made the team decide to start a new brand and what is different from 1807 that you want to convey to. the brand lovers?Chris Iv: It will be more niche because this brand is actually the shoes and clothes that I want to wear myself. Craftsmanship, pricing, and quality are all a little different. It will be more personalized, equivalent to what I want to wear, and then 1807 is what I understand young people will like now.
Nana: Do you have any advice for our readers who are seeking to find a way to start their own brand just like you?Chris Iv&Slimboy: When starting your own brand, it’s important to follow your instincts and pursue your passions. Experience is not always necessary at this stage. Initially, success is not the main concern. You can experiment and explore different avenues to find your direction. At the beginning of our journey, we encountered many setbacks between 2015 and 2017. Looking back, we realized that those experiences were valuable lessons. It’s better to face challenges early on and learn from them, rather than having to deal with them later on. I believe that taking detours is an essential part of life, and it can lead to success in unexpected ways. As the saying goes, life should take a detour, and this is how we approached our brand.
Taking detours is an essential part of life, and it can lead to success in unexpected ways.