In partnership with Bang & Olufsen, we meet the Shanghai-based designers fuelled by ’90s nostalgia and anime soundtracks.

For Liushu Lei and Yutong Jiang, a friendship forged while at a high school in Shanghai has gone the distance. After studying fashion together in London and working for international brands, the duo moved home andlaunched ShuShu/Tong—a name that combines Lei and Jian’s respective nicknames. Now in its fourth year, the ready-to-wear label designs clothes that are both contemporary and steeped in nostalgia for a ’90s notion of girlhood. The young duo, who say that “life and work have long been one,” view each collection like flipping through a college year book; a snap-shot montage of playful, feminine styles.

Where do you draw inspiration for your collections?
Lei: Whenever we start to prepare for a brand new collection, we’ll always think about whether there are any elements from our own lives and past experiences that could ignite an idea or spark some creativityMany of the campaigns are actually related to our experiences in high school and college. We designed a previous collection around the idea of girl gangs, which is exactly what my memory of high school is like. Back then, it was very popular for students to draw on their school uniforms and customize them. It’s left a lasting impression.

And what about your latest collection for the spring/summer 2019 campaign?
Lei: Tong and I were sorting through old photos when we stumbled across one of us living together in London. We had taken the photo at home, wearing only T-shirts and shorts. We looked so relaxed. So that became the idea for the collection: What do young women wear to relax when they’re alone in their bedrooms?

Tell me more about your creative process. Do you listen to music while working?
Lei: We definitely work better with music playing. As for the playlist, it depends on who the DJ is that day. Im nostalgicI like classic music from Hong Kong and Taiwan, and singers like FeiFei Ou-Yang, Lesley Lee and Alan Tam. Theyre all old-school singers. I generally like all the ’60s and ’70s music, and some classic film soundtracks too.

Jiang: I’m a big fan of Japanese anime, so there will be a lot of ACG [anime, comic and games]soundtracks in my playlist. I’ve been obsessed recently with the Japanese music group Wednesday Campanella and a singer called Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

Can you pick a song that encapsulates the new collection
Lei: We would choose the same one that we used for the show earlier this season—Tonight You Belong to Me [by The Lennon Sisters]. Its name refers to the night, so we thought it related to the idea of the bedroom. It sounds like children singing, so it also creates a bit of a strange atmosphere in that respect, but I thought it was interesting and still appropriate.

Runway shows allow music and fashion to intersect. What can music communicate about your creative concepts?
Lei: We already have an idea of the general atmosphere and type of music that will fit right at the beginning of preparing a new collection. But we’ll then listen to a lot of music every day in the office while we create the collection. When we find the right tracks, we save them to the playlist. As we near the end of the collection, we will curate the playlist and select the final songs. After that, we send them over to our musician friends to make a mixtape.

When your personal histories are so wrapped up in your creative output, how do you find a balance between work and home?
Lei: In order to keep the label running, we can’t take time off at the same time. Unfortunately, we can’t travel together at present.

Jiang: It’s difficult for us at this stage, and we’re not doing it very well[Laughs] Well give ourselves a vacation after finishing a collection, but even then we still work from time to time!

This feature was produced in partnership with Bang & Olufsen. The product featured in this photoshoot is the Beoplay A9 speaker.

You are reading a complimentary story from

Want to enjoy full access? Subscribe Now

Subscribe Discover unlimited access to Kinfolk

  • Four print issues of Kinfolk magazine per year, delivered to your door, with twelve-months’ access to the entire archive and all web exclusives.

  • Receive twelve-months of all access to the entire archive and all web exclusives.

Learn More

Already a Subscriber? Login

Your cart is empty

Your Cart (0)