DDR VINTAGE: ORDER IN CHAOS
BEIJING | “Chaos!”. This is how Leon founder of DDR Vintage, one of the pioneer vintage stores in Beijing, defines the vintage atmosphere in the Chinese capital. “(In Beijing) there is no system about this industry yet. Most of the people don’t know how to distinguish vintage items from second-hand or used clothing. All the old things are labelled as vintage. But it’s normal, as we are just at the beginning”. DDR Vintage was founded 6 years ago. In the past few years, the so-called vintage/used-clothing stores mushroomed in the most hipster areas of the city as vintage style becomes more popular among an emerging underground community. However, despite all the buzz, Leon estimates that Beijing only has about ten genuine vintage stores. DDR is one of them, and also one of our favourites because of its true character.
Leon goes on a shopping trip every month ready to explore flea markets, vintage stores and vintage fairs in Japan, USA, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Thailand, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy. “Our store is like a vintage Museum”, says Leon. And according to him this is what makes DDR different from other vintage shops in Beijing.
DDR is not just a vintage store. We welcome many different styles from 1890 to 1980; so one can find all sorts of vintage items in just one stop”, he adds. Arguably most of DDR’s regular costumers include fashion editors, artists, students, photographers, models, actors, stylists and also foreigners.
Leon stablished DDR a few years after he graduated from his BA in France and went back to China. He was enchanted by vintage style, dreaming that one day he might have the chance to run his own vintage store.
His first true encounter with vintage clothing happened when he was 18 years old in Tianjin: “Actually those stores were not so vintage, but more like second-hand clothing or used clothing form Japan or Korea. Their clothes were very dirty, in big sizes, and even some of them belonged to deceased people”. Leon fell in love with the cool designs, the lovely colors, good quality and cheap prices of most of these items; and since then he seldom buys any new clothing. Only second-hand and vintage clothing.
Due to his trip to Europe back in 2003 to study his BA, he had the opportunity to discover many interesting vintage stores. Leon studied them very closely; how they worked and what kind of items they were carrying, hoping that one day he’d be able to open his very own vintage store in his hometown, in China.
The market is still very niche. “Vintage is still a very underground thing in China and most of the people do not accept the concept because they like to buy new things from popular outlets like HM, Zara, Louis Vuitton or Prada. Most of the Chinese people think vintage clothing is dirty, odd, terrible and do not want to accept the idea”. Things appear to be changing, though, due to a growing number of young Chinese travelling to Europe and Japan, where vintage and second-hand stores are more popular.
According to Leon for the past two years there’s been a growing number of magazines that begin to publish editorials featuring Chinese vintage stores, which is bringing a growing number of vintage fans.
PHOTOS BY EARTH TO IRIS.
Fangzhuangchang hutong, no.15