The co-founders share a common interest in Science and Fashion, so they conceived a fashion brand that explores our relationship as living organisms with the world. Like its name suggests, Cell (Life) and Aging (Time). If we walk into a Cell Aging store, we can see many technological elements as well as futuristic designs.
Can you tell us how you two meet and decided to start your own brand together at the beginning?
Sean&Eric: At the beginning, Eric approached me to do the graphic design for Cell Aging when I was still studying design in New York. He wanted to reshape the brand concept, and at that time, the basic story of the brand was just taking shape. He expressed a desire to create a concept related to life, examining the aging of cells as a dialectical representation of the cycle of all life. This concept resonated with me. After three months of discussions, I designed the circular logo that is now familiar to everyone. Both of us are actually science fiction enthusiasts and enjoy exploring sci-fi-related topics. Due to our passion, we wanted to express these elements in clothing and styling. Also, because we both love fashion, we wanted to attempt creating a uniquely original experimental brand.
Can you explain to us the brand’s name “Cell Aging”, and what is the the aesthetic philosophy and life attitude behind the word “Life Proves Time Exist”?
Sean&Eric: Actually, ‘Life Proves Time Exist’ stems from the transformation we underwent during the year 2021. Initially, Cell Aging delved more into exploring our relationship as living organisms with the world, primarily focusing on topics related to biology and healthcare. However, over the four years from 2017 to 2021, we gained a deeper understanding of this narrative. Consequently, we upgraded the brand concept and adjusted our design approach. The phrase ‘Life Proves Time Exist’ is a representation where ‘Cell’ signifies ‘Life,’ and ‘Aging’ represents ‘Time,’ giving rise to this statement. The evolution within this concept is what we refer to as Cell Aging2.0. Beyond the literal interpretation, we aspire to convey an attitude towards life and time, rooted in an understanding of the essence of things and expressed through objective facts.
As a brand rooted in Chinese culture, I wonder if you could share with us what kind of image you have in mind of a young man wearing Cell Aging?
Sean&Eric: For us, our intention is simply to attract like-minded individuals, those who share a similar perspective on the world. Because Eric and I naturally came together, it’s perhaps an application of the law of attraction. Therefore, we hope that those who appreciate what we do are friends who approach everything with a scientific and objective mindset. Essentially, we just want to create a platform where people who resonate with this mindset can come together, and through producing products, represent the state of mind we share.
How did you come up with the collection every time? If it’s possible, can you share the ideas behind 23 AW this time?
Sean&Eric: In fact, every season, we draw inspiration from science fiction literature and various scientific topics. Consequently, each seasonal design feels like a new chapter in a larger story. For our latest collection, 23AW, we incorporated concepts from ‘Blade Runner 2049’ and intertwined them with the opening of our flagship store in the historic Ci Tang Street in Chengdu. Due to the nature of the store, we also delved into concepts and aesthetics from ‘Ex Machina.’ Eric has introduced new experiments in the supply chain, including techniques like stone washing, dyeing, and innovative cutting methods.
How do you describe Cell Aging in three words?
Sean&Eric: Logic, breakthrough, evolution.
Cell Aging also has stores in different cities, and which cities in China are more noteworthy for their youth culture?
Sean&Eric: For me personally, it might be Chengdu. The year 2023 marks the relocation of our headquarters from Guangzhou to Chengdu, and it was also my first visit to the city. Given Eric’s Sichuanese background and the vibrant energy of the young people in Chengdu, we quickly opened a physical store at Innerco, something we hesitated to attempt before. Witnessing the diversity and inclusivity among the young people in Chengdu at places like Innerco and Cosmo was inspiring. Young individuals with different subcultural interests could coexist harmoniously, each expressing their unique style. I find this very inspiring and am deeply drawn to the vitality of this city.
What are some of the challenges you encountered while building your brand?
Sean&Eric: In China, the protection for original creations may not be robust enough, making it challenging for brands like ours that insist on originality to thrive. We need to continually pioneer new concepts within the scope accepted by the younger generation in China. Some overly avant-garde ideas may not be well-suited for our development. Additionally, considering the integration of clothing into daily life, we must repeatedly reassess our designs and strive to strike a balance within a range that is not overly designed but has sufficient creativity. This also demands a keen insight, as a lack of sensitivity in product planning can easily lead to rejection by the market.
Do you have any advice for our readers who are seeking to ﬁnd a way to start their own brand or career in the fashion industry?
Sean&Eric: I often ask my friends around me what they truly want to do, whether it’s building a brand or focusing on creating clothing. The truth is, every business model has its own intricacies, and in the process of moving forward through continuous trial and error, it’s essential to have a broad direction in mind. While it’s possible to discover oneself along the way, it’s crucial not to forget what one truly desires, what they aim to present, and whether they can persist until their endeavors blossom and bear fruit.
It’s essential to have a broad direction in mind.
Text by Yiyao Zhang