Home / Entertainment / News Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Design Duo Does Its Own Thing
Adjust font size:

Perk is the talented, rising design duo -- Si Qi and Jin Ningning,  in Shanghai.

Located at the intersection of Fuxing Road W. and Gaoyou Road, Perk's store is among rows of old European-style villas and tall phoenix trees. It is not difficult to find though there isn't even a sign: the door is painted bright red and the interior is sky-blue; a disco ball shines above the cashier; a large floor-to-ceiling window links Perk to the outside world.

"We love using bright colors because they represent a strong vitality," says Si, in a low, undistinctive voice. She props her head up as if she is thinking and talking to herself.

Clothes account for just a small part of their designs. Their products include notebooks, toys, stickers and badges. A combination of pure, bright colors, they feature funky images of animals and plants, such as a sneaky bear, a flying fairy or a smiling watermelon. Symbols and patterns are frequently used. A few theme characters can be found both on T-shirts and notebooks. A T-shirt usually costs 180 yuan (US$23). A pair of slacks is 380 yuan.

There is a whole shelf of notebook collections. The notebooks, ranging from 38 yuan to 98 yuan, are so exquisitely and beautifully designed that one would rather collect them instead of write on them.

All the products are produced in limited quantities. For example, a coat is made in three to five pieces at the most. Dolls with different cute expressions are sold at 150 yuan and they are all hand-made by the designers themselves, each one is unique.

The reason they are so keen on notebooks is because "we draw on notebooks all the time, so we guess other people need them too," says Si.

A very self-centered answer, but it might help to explain the two 27-year-old designers' ingrained nature: they are different. They refuse to compromise or simply play by the rules set by society.

"We don't really care about what the other designers are doing," says Jin. Wearing a pair of black glasses, he looks exactly like a cartoon character they created. "We just make our own stuff."

"We used to be so young and energetic, full of anticipation about the future," Si adds. "It seems that we had lots of strengths but couldn't find a way to release them."

That's why they love bright colors and bizarre patterns. In fact, you can easily feel the emotions they want to express through the products: struggling, terrified, depressed, violent, dreamy...

"However, we are not as 'simple' as before," she continues. "We learned a lot from work, from people we have to deal with and from ourselves. We're growing up.

"We couldn't help thinking about the reality of life, and decided to make it the theme for our next collection," Jin adds.

Frequent customers to Perk would notice that the designers add new products very slowly. Unlike others, they don't have the idea of "spring/summer" or "autumn/winter." They come up with new things only when they are inspired. There is no schedule when the next collection, named "Wu Zhi Mi Lian," (addict to materials), will go on sale. "We are so busy but sometimes we are just too lazy," Si says.

Apart from the store, the duo organizes personal exhibitions of paintings and photos in Shanghai and Beijing from time to time and have also been invited to Singapore and Japan. However, they don't seem to be very proud of such achievements because "we paint and take pictures only to record the beauty of life."

Tianjin native Si and Shanghai native Jin met on the Internet three years ago. Both of them were bored with their jobs at that time. Si was a fashion designer and Jin once worked in advertising. They met in Shanghai and decided to start their own studio and work for themselves.

At first they sold their products on their Website, which soon won favor from young hip people in town. The store was opened a year ago and the operation is "not bad," Si says.

But she continues: "We meet difficulties every day: when I'm hungry but don't want to go out to buy lunch, when I'm working but I want to go to bed..."

Look at their "difficulties." What can we say? Lucky kids.

(Shanghai Daily May 21, 2007)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read Bookmark and Share
Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>