Iconic Chinese brand EP YAYING celebrates 30th anniversary

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/4 20:13:39

A 30-year entrepreneurial journey

Models attend the EP YAYING Night at the closing ceremony of China Fashion Week Spring Summer 2019 held in Beijing from October 25 to November 2. Photo: Courtesy of EP YAYING Fashion Group

Amid the amazing music, lights and visual effects, old and new friends of EP YAYING Fashion Group recently reunited for the 30th anniversary of the iconic company during China Fashion Week Spring Summer 2019 in Beijing. For the gala event, EP YAYING premiered its new collection from the group's dual-brand development strategy, namely The World's EP, which features a contemporary lifestyle brand inspired by culture, nature and art, and YAYING of China, which highlights regal Oriental craftsmanship and Chinese culture heritage-focused luxury artisanal designs, blending Western and Oriental aesthetics with a modern perspective for the modern Chinese woman.

EP YAYING's new collection aims to embody the elegance of modern Chinese women and interpret traditional aesthetics in a contemporary way with the use of exquisite jacquards, lace, embroidery and luxurious silk fabrics.

EP YAYING first took the stage of China Fashion Week in 2005. Now walking the stage to celebrate its 30th anniversary was extraordinary for Zhang Hwaming, chairman of the fashion icon, which is a second-generation family-run enterprise.

Zhang Hwaming, chairman of EP YAYING Fashion Group Photo: Courtesy of EP YAYING Fashion Group

"In the past 30 years, every footprint we've left and every change we've made marks the epitome of our efforts to pursue our dream and joy of growing up," Zhang told the Global TimesThe origins of EP YAYING Fashion Group's business can be traced back to 1979, at the beginning of the country's economic reform, when late founder Zhang Baorong channeled his passion for the apparel business into pioneering the establishment of a collectively owned village enterprise - Luodong Garment Factory - in East China's Zhejiang Province.

In 1988, against a backdrop of extremely difficult conditions, the ambitious Zhang Baorong undertook the managerial operations of Luodong Hongzheng Garment Factory, specializing in the production of men's shirts and silk clothing. Later, Zhang Baorong's son, Zhang Hwaming followed in his father's footsteps.

From 1991 to 1995, Zhang Hwaming and his wife, Dai Xueming, worked together to successfully expand their business into Beijing, accumulating marketing and modern merchandising expertise.

In 1995, they registered the trademark for the brand YAYING, which symbolizes their original aspiration of "using high-quality materials to make good clothing, and bring about beauty to our female customers."

Photo: Courtesy of EP YAYING Fashion Group

Spirit of the fire phoenix

In 1996, Zhang Hwaming assumed the position of general manager and began a period of reinventing and upgrading the business, determined to create a high-quality women's wear fashion brand. Over the past 30 years, the two-generation family-run enterprise has continued to dedicate itself to this industry.

The brand's grand vision - ensuring sustainable growth, encouraging creativity and innovation, and constantly pursuing excellence - has helped forge EP YAYING from a home-grown Chinese brand into a world-class fashion group.

After 30 years of development, EP YAYING has risen in the fashion ranks from a small garment factory to operating and owning multiple brands and luxury retailers, including DOUBLOVE, N.Paia, DA YA JIA, GraceLand, and LITTLE SPACE.

Looking back on the past 30 years, Zhang summed up the success of the group into four core internal factors: the spirit of the "fire phoenix," which emphasizes dedication, innovation, indomitability and never giving up; and the pursuit of beauty and persistence to make good clothes with good materials.

Moreover, a pure-hearted attitude toward their partners, customers and employees; and an unyielding pursuit of innovation, which Zhang believes is the biggest intangible wealth for EP YAYING.

Photo: Courtesy of EP YAYING Fashion Group

Entering the world stage

As the development path of EP YAYING overlaps with the country's reform and opening-up policy of the past 40 years, Zhang also owes the group's success to the country itself.

"We caught up with a good opportunity of the reform and opening-up, as the country vigorously supports the development of the economy, so we successfully seized that opportunity," Zhang told the Global Times.

Zhang added that, during the reform and opening-up, China's fashion industry has become an important leader of the transformation of local industries, which opened up many new opportunities for Chinese companies to experiment with innovative ideas and explore the global market.

Zhang can clearly recall every step EP YAYING has taken to grow to what it is today, especially during the most recent decade from 2009 to 2018, which put the brand on a fast development track and under the spotlight of the world stage to present Chinese fashion.

In 2015, the company became a global partner of the China Pavilion at Expo Milano, providing a new uniform design for the pavilion. The group first designed and provided uniforms for the World Internet Conference in 2016, before forming a deeper partnership by signing a permanent strategic partnership with them in 2017.

Models of the EP 2019SS collection Photo: Courtesy of EP YAYING Fashion Group

Upholding Chinese culture

With a mission to share with global customers the brand's fine Eastern aesthetics, Zhang designed a dual-brand development strategy for the group: The World's EP and YAYING of China.

EP offers contemporary and modern fashion styles that harmoniously integrate Oriental and Western aesthetics and artistic elements, reflecting both global fashion and contemporary Chinese lifestyle.

YAYING traces back its Chinese roots, focused on exploring and developing China's traditional culture, aesthetics, fashion and craftsmanship, integrating contemporary aesthetic tastes into its designs to create high quality lifestyle with exquisite Chinese cultural identity.

"We established a dual brand developing strategy in the hopes of exploring the common ground of contemporary design language and Chinese traditional culture, so as to inspire a fashionable and elegant way of life and share that with customers around the world," said Zhang.

Rooted in traditional Chinese culture, EP YAYING is committed to preserving cultural heritage through commercialization.

"On one hand, we need to fully understand our Chinese culture background, taking inspiration from the essence of our  national and traditional culture. On the other hand, we should not be confined to traditional Chinese design language, but rather, find an international design language that balances modernity and oriental aesthetics," said Zhang.

Such a design language also fully embodies EP YAYING's show on November 2 at China Fashion Week Spring Summer 2019 in Beijing.

Themed on "Convergence & Creation," the show embodies the group's reverence for nature and respect for Chinese culture, achieving balance between mankind and nature, art and culture; and showcased a combination of contemporary designs and traditional aesthetics: EP's 2019SS collection and YAYING's 2019SS haute couture collection.

Models pose for the YAYING 2019SS haute couture collection. Photo: Courtesy of EP YAYING Fashion Group

Passing down good values

In 2012, the group set up an advanced artisanal workshop dedicated to preserve and promote the development of Suzhou embroidery as well as embroidery from Hunan, Sichuan and Guangdong provinces.

In the same year, the brand set up a boutique factory to oversee the manufacturing of its most complex, exquisite, technically intensified and time-consuming products. On average, one product in the factory will be processed through 137 procedures and go through seven inspections.

Aside from infusing Chinese culture into its products, EP YAYING also places much importance on impressing Chinese culture on its employees, thereby passing down the Chinese values of balance, love and happiness.

Taking Chinese culture as its inspiration, in 2012 the group focused intensely on cultivating company culture. Efforts were made to uplift the aesthetic quality of its employees and, since last year, more than 30 study groups have been set up dedicated to Chinese classics and ethics.

Two models of the YAYING 2019SS haute couture collection Photo: Courtesy of EP YAYING Fashion Group

The next 30 years

In Zhang's observations of China's fashion sector, the industry as a whole will undergo even greater and deeper changes over the next 30 years than it has in the past 40 years.

"We believe that, with the Belt and Road initiative, more and more Chinese brands will go out into the world. Meanwhile, the world will show increasing attention toward Chinese fashion," said Zhang. "What we need to do is to provide higher value products, better design, better services and better brands to this vibrant market."

Thus far, the group is present in more than 210 cities all across China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Macau, and is supported by a remarkable online sales network. It will open a division in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia soon.

Zhang believes 2017 through 2019 will be the key years for the group. In this time, the group will develop seven areas including its business model, brand strategy, product strategy, channel retail, supply chain and information technology and talent management.

Details of a dress from the EP 2019SS collection Photo: Courtesy of EP YAYING Fashion Group

A magnificent blueprint

For 2019, Zhang noted that the group will continue drawing innovative inspiration through art and culture. The group will also set up the Hwa Fashion Art Center, which will house the brand's historical museum, an art center, fashion museum, library and cultural school and more. The new center aims not only to honor the past history of the brand, but promote creativity and innovation for the brand's continuous development.

Zhang will actively promote workshops to ensure the brand's craftsmen are able to pass on their techniques to new craftsmen, and increase investments in children's art, giving a positive influence on the next generation's pursuit of aesthetics.

Zhang told the Global Times that, over the next 30 years, EP YAYING will continue to fortify its position in China, develop its presence in Asia and actively pursue its international plans under the nation's Belt and Road initiative.

This will help lay out a magnificent blueprint for Chinese brands on the international fashion stage, promising to share with all Chinese and consumers from all over the world China's exquisite contemporary fashion.

"Over the past 30 years, we have always insisted on being beautiful, making good clothes with good materials and bring about beauty to our female customers," said Zhang.

"But," Zhang added, "in the face of the future, we will, as always, uphold our business philosophy of "balance, love and happiness," and continue to create value for customers and contribute to the great rejuvenation of Chinese culture in the global fashion industry."


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