PSFK Shanghai Talks with Shumeng Ye, Author of “Book of Warriors”
How many pairs of Warrior shoes do you have?
2 in use and 3 spare pairs waiting.
What do your parents think of the Warrior brand? What do they think of your book?
Both my parents used to play basketball and naturally Warrior has many memories for them. In the beginning my parents did not quite understand my idea and doubted my chances of success. From their perspective, it didn’t seem a very smart choice to skip school for many weeks and invest so much energy into this. But nevertheless they have been supportive all along which I’m very grateful for.
What image or memory do you most associate with Warrior shoes?
A family friend once told me how he used to wash and paint his Warriors every Sunday back in the days. That left a big impression on me. In a nostalgic way, Warrior reminds me of my childhood in the 80’s in China, when material wealth was scarce, home appliances were huge novelties and canvas shoes still abundant. I don’t mean to glorify that time but it will be always an important part of my personal history.
When do you wear Warriors? Do you view them as a sports shoe or fashion shoe?
Whenever I feel like wearing sneakers and Warriors are the only sneakers I have at the moment.
What other Chinese brands do you like?
Double Star and Silly Thing. I hope to get to know the independent fashion scene better on my next visit to China.
Do you think Chinese brands have a chance of succeeding in foreign markets?
Yes. The stigma that “Made in China” equals cheap price and poor quality is still there but I believe things will change gradually. Apart from many improvements needed in the industry, in my opinion it is a mental challenge above all. As long as the Chinese mainstream prefers foreign brands, local brands and designers are not likely to be confident enough to expand abroad.
What recommendation do you have for the increasing number of young Chinese indie designers?
Provide online information in English about your work. Believe in yourself, be original and have confidence in being Chinese. I wish you much success!
Related Story: “Warrior: The Story of China’s First Hip Sneaker”