Latest: Meuh! stopped its activities in June 2012.
This week’s story comes from “Paris of the East”, as Shanghai used to be fondly known. We meet Hélène Meunier, a young French mother of 2, long term Shanghai resident and the creator of the Meuh! fashion brand. Nicely Made in China (NMiC) caught up with her between fittings to talk about her love of vintage clothes and how her brand has been adopted by fashion-conscious Shanghai « belles ».
Hélène, how did the Meuh! adventure begin and what’s the link between the cow and the brand name?
In 2002 I came to study business at Tongji university but after 5 years I’d had enough and just wanted to work! I’ve always loved to dress-up, so very early on fashion was the only option for me. As a student I designed clothes and had them made by a local dressmakers. 10 years on, it is the same team that gives life to most of my creations. I launched the brand in 2005 and we’ve had a shop in Tai’an Lu since 2009. As for the name Meuh!, it is a pun on my family name – Meunier – and the noise a cow makes in French – the equivalent of « moo-moo » in English.
How would you define your style?
My style is retro chic with a dash of fun! I love clothes from the 50s and the 60s so I use a lot of pattern fabrics in my creations. Twice a week I go to Dong Men Lu fabric market to select the material – it’s one of my favorite moments of the creative process…..also sifting through old fashion magazines inspires me. I find forgotten details that I adapt to my creations.
What do you most enjoy making and what material do you use?
I really like to make dresses and jackets. As for the material I mainly use silk, cotton, wool. Recently I’ve started to design cashmere sweaters that I have hand-knitted and embroidered in a small workshop.
How many collections a year?
One per season but I am often tempted to add pieces throughout the year, so it’s an on-going process resulting in 5 or 6 collections.
Who are your clients, and what can you tell us about the Chinese market?
My clientele is divided 50/50 between Chinese and foreigners. I mostly do women’s clothes but I have recently started a line for men too. The Chinese consumer market is maturing very quickly. Chinese women are veering away from reliance on established luxury brands, which I see as a sign of maturity. They now want something their friends don’t have, which is the reason they come here – to find something unique they won’t see elsewhere.
Can you tell us what price range you sell at?
Simple dresses are priced around 600 / 700 rmb, rising to around 2000 rmb for something a bit more sophisticated. Our turnaround is quite quick. Between fittings and the finishing of the garment is about 2 weeks.
Store: Meuh! 29 Tai’an lu / Xingguo lu, Shanghai. 泰安路29号 (兴国路), 上海.