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 of ASIAN VOICE, we welcome MARRKNULL from China co-founded by Wang Wei and Shi Tian in 2017. MARRKNULL embarks on a mission to redefine Chinese culture in the contemporary context, aiming to shatter outdated perceptions held by the world and present a more diverse and modern representation of China’s fashion landscape. Among their standout creations is the iconic “Hanger Bag,” inspired by the ubiquitous sight of clothes drying across Chinese streets.The brand’s design philosophy is a collaborative effort between the two designers. They blend experimental silhouettes, structural deformations, and futuristic aesthetics with the timeless elements of Chinese artistic heritage. With each passing season, MARRKNULL continued to push boundaries, embracing novelty and new expressions, which contribute to their ever-evolving and versatile brand identity. Let’s anticipate another exciting and refreshing chapter in the MARRKNULL story for the next season.
Nana: What motivated you to start the brand MARRKNULL initially?Wang Wei: The idea of MARRKNULL came from a chat I shared with Shi Tian. At the point of time, he was considering changing his university major from Architecture design to another, whilst I was considering the direction for future after graduation. I shared the idea of willing to start my own brand, we chatted about the opinions on China Fashion’s future. Shi Tian loved the idea and showed interest in giving it a go, which encouraged me, who was in misery at that time.
Nana: Can you describe MARRKNULL in three words?Wang Wei&Tim Shi: Contemporary Chinese culture, contradiction and conciliation, spice of daily life.
Nana: The brand has strong ties to traditional Chinese culture. In your perspective, are there any specific traditional Chinese aesthetics that you believe should be showcased to the world?Wang Wei&Tim Shi: MARRKNULL doesn’t want to limit itself to traditional Chinese culture, we’d like to break the old impression of Chinese Culture have brought to the world, show more diversity, more up to date new generation’s thoughts.
Nana: “Too Cool” aesthetic has recently emerged as a popular fashion and design trend in China, receiving significant recognition worldwide. How does MARRKNULL practice or perceive this phenomenon?Wang Wei&Tim Shi: MARRKNULL explores contemporary and future Chinese fashion direction, we try to merge cultures from different time and locations, shape them into something new; People think that this is very interesting, given it a name called “ Too Cool”, I think “ Too Cool” is just a label, the deeper meaning behind is that we are in a revolutionary time of the history that our young generation starts to be aware and look for the real fashion style for themselves.
Nana: How does the brand’s design incorporate the fusion of Chinese distinct local culture into a modern context, igniting the curiosity of younger generations?Wang Wei&Tim Shi: Most of our inspirations come from daily life, using modern fashion language to reinterpret daily life state is what MARRKNULL has been good at. For example one of the iconic products hanger bag, we had adopted the idea from the common daily life scene of hang drying clothes outdoor, which can be seen everywhere in China.
Nana: Both the 23 AW and SS collections showcase a captivating blend of denim elements, structured styles, and fur accents inspired by various animals. Can you share with us the design story and concept behind this season’s collections? And is it possible to reveal a little bit about the next season?Wang Wei&Tim Shi: We don’t just want to express the original Chinese culture the way we were doing it before; we want to show some dreamy fairytale side of it, something out of a dream that you can’t see in real life. Just like we are ageing towards the future, Chinese fashion is doing it as well. For this season, we are doing Jungle, the human combined with the beast; we have the wolf suit, the horse suit, and also a deer one. With the yellow colour of the denim and the natural dying effects we used on the garments, where we used plants and did it by hand, we wanted to portray an image of human girls just walking out of the jungle, where they didn’t wash their hair or clothes; they are very dirty and raw. We wanted to show the techniques that we’ve been working on that help us do this. We wanted to present something that combines the new with the old. For the next season, you’ll see a very different MARRKNULL.
Nana: What challenges and opportunities do you think Chinese designers are facing?Wang Wei&Tim Shi: There are more and more Chinese designers up-and-coming these days, their styles and the impression been left to the world are not limited to the traditional Chinese culture, we can see more and more acceptance and positive feedback from the world, now is an excellent time for Chinese designers to go broad. I think the challenge is how to achieve an effective communication under the globalized social environment, being able to deliver what exactly the brand is trying to express itself, from concept to product to customer, be more diverse and global.
Nana: Do you have any advice for our readers who are seeking to find a way to start their own brand in the fashion just like you?Wang Wei&Tim Shi: Just do what you want.
Just do what you want.