PSFK Shanghai recently caught up with John Solomon, one of the founders of Nankeen — a unique new fashion brand that takes its inspiration from a traditional Chinese art form that dates back to the Song Dynasty.

Please tell us about the concept and inspiration behind Nankeen.

Two years ago, while on a visit to see my sister (who was living and studying in Shanghai) my family discovered a beautiful fabric tucked away in the back alleys in the French Concession known to the Chinese as blue nankeen.  As a family of designers, we were immediately drawn to the intricate and stunning richness of blue nankeen, an art form that has been perfected over thousands of years.  Using hand-cut patterns, a paste resistance method and natural colors derived from the indigo plant, the result is a highly durable and beautiful textile.  Inspired by what we discovered, in Shanghai, we returned to the US to create a line of contemporary fashion and home items so that we could share Nankeen with the rest of the world. I re-located to Shanghai to work closely with the artisans and my mother (the designer) and father (preservation architect) started the business in New England.

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