TECH FASHION IS A NEW WAY TO CREATE THINGS
INTERVIEW WITH THE FOUNDER and the designer OF Malianghang: Bill Hu and sia deng
by YARINA YAO
Since tech is energizing the fashion world, the market in China has switched to multi-form design. Malianghang, a customized jewelry brand, based in Shanghai, China, is now combining tech and fashion to make products more unique. “Make your thoughts become things”. This is the idea behind Malianghang since it’s foundation in 2013. Malianghang is the first fashion accessory brand in Shanghai that uses 3D tech for its famous one minute DIY(Do it yourself) designs and production of jewelry. Customers can create their own unique pieces through the coding program called 360°WEBGL. The program allows people to type words and record voice messages on computers or smartphones in order to give clients the one and only design. This great know-how helped Malianghang to have more than 20 co-branding partners already, including Nike, Estee Lauder, Me and City, and Taobao.
Techion Studio magazine also interviewed Sia Deng, the jewelry designer of Malianghang who has been with the company since it was founded. Deng has lived and studied overseas in Australia and Europe. She graduated from the Curtin University in Bentley with bachelor’s degree in contemporary jewelry design. She received the master’s degree in fashion accessories and luxury goods from Instituto Marangoni in Milan. Many gorgeous 3D pieces were created by her. Follow our interesting conversation to explore how she made the beautiful creations.
Bill Hu is the founder and CEO of Malianghang. After Hu has graduated from the University of Nottingham in English with a degree in Product Design, he decided to go back to the country of his childhood, China, because he found out there was a huge space to grow in fashion marketing there. Yes! It’s tech. We are lucky to have him interviewed for Techion Studio magazine about how he reached the success of Techfashion. Hu is one of the most easygoing bosses we have met. He said hello to us first, while we were waiting outside the Malianghang office because we arrived 30 minutes early. His smile and manners almost let us think he was just one of the employees. You can imagine later we definitely had a relaxed and nice conversation. Let’s find out his success secrets.
Initials guide: TS-Techion Studio, BH-Bill Hu, SD-Sia Deng
TS: Where does the 3D Printing idea come from? Where did you find the technique?
BH: First time I met 3D printing technique was during my second year in college. My major Product Design had a class that allowed us to design 3D models. Surprisingly, my tutor gave me the product I designed the next day. I found it’s amazing that ideas become real things that quick. So yeah, that’s the first time I met 3D printing.
SD: The first time I got to know 3D printing was in the second year of university, one of our courses used 3D printing for making contemporary jewelry. That was when I started to introduce this technique into my design. 3D printing can be EVERYTHING. It’s like a bridge connecting the virtual world with the real world. Seems like an accurate physical copy machine.
TS: What made your mind to start your brand?
BH: I found out customization has a big market. For example, Nike did something called Nike ID, which allows consumers to choose the colors for different part of shoes online. So I felt why not on jewelries? Also, I think the biggest challenge of making shoes is splicing, but for jewelries, if you can connect it with 3D Printing technique, you could make the work more efficient. Well, it was my first time to do a start up, of course it would have so many challenges came up. But at the beginning, I was just thinking we should do something very interesting, unique, and maybe familiar. I didn’t think that much about would it be successful or not.
TS: How did you prepare before launching your brand? What challenges did you meet?
BH: Well, I think the first thing, of course, is the team. We had to find the people from all the different industries because we are doing the e-commence business. Once I found the team that could do everything such as designing or 3D models production, then we started the project. The biggest challenge is we are doing something totally new, I mean in the business part, and also in the industry part. There was no one else doing what we were doing in China, so there were no examples we could learn from.
TS: What do you think of the innovation that 3D printing brings to the fashion industry? Do you think it would last long time or just temporary?
SD: Fashion designers can print their own materials, and even different kinds of materials can be printed together, once the printing finished, the whole product will be done, and in that way, designers no need tailors or workers. Since some of the 3D printers are cheap and small, they can print things any place any time. It reduced the inventory, not just designers, everyone can print their own fashion pieces at home. For sure it’s not just temporary.
TS: How do you define the fashion market now?
BH: In China, of course it’s growing, so many fashion brands in the Shanghai and the Beijing Fashion Week. You can see many people are dressing more fashion than before. Meanwhile, the whole industry is growing.
SD: People are willing to purchase luxury goods, and Accessories has boomed up in fashion market nowadays.
TS: What do you think of the future of fashion?
BH: I think the people and the market will grow bigger, and the consumers will be more mature, especially the Chinese people. The world changed a lot because of the internet. In the future, the Chinese market will definitely closer to Europe and America. Unique production will be the main goal.
SD: In the future I think we will see more cooperation between fashion brands, new materials, and technologies will be used in fashion, and there will be easier and easier to custom made fashion products.
TS: How did the fashion market respond to the 3D Printing technique?
BH: I would say we are a fashion jewelry company, but maybe not a technology fashion company. Because to be honest, people don’t really care about if the jewelry is made by hand or made by the 3D printer, but the key point for us is to make the manufacturing better. So the fashion market is quite open to the 3D printing technique.
TS: How did you find a way to be distinguished from your competitors?
BH: That depends on how we should define our competitors. Let’s say If we compare with the jewelry brands, the main difference is we allow the consumers easily to do the customization. We have the IT team to build the mobile system which let users can design and purchase our jewelries just in one minute. I think user experience is the unique point.
TS: What do you think of the difference between normal fashion and technology fashion?
BH: The key difference is tech fashion is a new way to create things. For example, 3D printing can make the idea into a product faster, which means it allows designers to do more designs, and could design anything whatever you got in your mind. It can come true.
SD: For designers, compare to regular design, 3D printing design opened up more possibilities in designing within limited times, and increased the diversities without increasing any cost, more efficient and precise.
This is a good example of tech fashion industry. Although the company has just started, we believe it would have a great future.
Check out All the designs from Malianghang on www.malianghang.cn
Check out All the designs from Malianghang on www.malianghang.cn