We wish you a happy new year of the horse! You may have noticed that we recently had a break from publishing in order to take stock and revitalize our efforts. Now we’re back and glad to continue bringing you news about quality products and services from China.
At Nicely Made in China (NMiC) we like to keep track of the companies we’ve featured in the past. So, to begin this Nicely Made in China 2.0 we caught up with Katrin Reinfurt in Paris. An emerging talent in the fashion world with her brand Magnetosphere Prospecting and Monitoring Program (MPMP), Katrin (normally Beijing-based) was at Paris Fashion show collaborating with Walter van Beirendonck no less!
Katrin, what’s new since we last spoke 18 months ago in July 2012? (see first article here)
In October 2012, a couple of months after we last spoke, I moved to Cao Chang Di – the artist district – as artist in residence for C-Space. Having that space really represented a milestone for me and enabled me to launch an exhibition during Beijing Design Week 2013 called « Instant Heaven », which show cased my latest creations at the C-Space gallery.
What are you doing in Paris?
I’ve just had a collaboration with fashion designer Walter Van Beirendonck – one of the Antwerp Six. I made two raincoats for Walter’s AW 2014/15 show in Paris Men Fashion Week and after the show they were displayed at his showroom in rue St Claude in Paris. I also had my own showroom nearby for a few days which I shared with another exciting Belgian fashion designer. I presented my new collection of raincoats, sleep wear and handbags.
How did you and Walter Van Beirendonck meet?
Years ago in Antwerp I worked for Walter – that was before I moved to China in 2008 and then we met again by accident in Antwerp last November. That’s when he bought my new summer collection for his Paris shop and asked me to do some coats for his own collection in my specially developed fabrics and workmanship.
What are your future projects for Beijing?
At the moment I have a big collaboration with Beijing Design Week (BDW). Beside that, I’m also working with Ninette Murk, the founder of Designers Against Aids to bring the DAA project to China – (www.designersagainstaids.com). And equally important for me I will soon start selling my creations internationally in shops around the world. I’ll be able to tell you more about that very soon.
Do you intend to keep your base in Beijing?
Yes, it’s essential for my work but I will also open a second office in Antwerp in March 2014. It’s important that I keep a studio in Beijing because of the type of fabrics I use and also because of the way I work. People in China are more receptive to my DIY approach and are ready to experiment and try different ways of working. For instance, I am working with a company that makes road barriers. They have a machine that prints on plastic. One day I went there to ask them if they would print on my silky material, they said they’d try. We’ve been collaborating now for 2 years.
I work with another printer in Tongzhou who prints on anything I give him as long as it fits into his machine. He tells me he likes my approach because he thinks that it is the future. I’m not sure I could get that kind of help in Europe. However, if I want to turn my brand into a really international brand I need to find a second base outside of China. Chinese consumers are buying in Europe, not in China! In my showroom in Paris last week there were Chinese buyers and Chinese shop owners. For the time being, China is too far away from the world’s fashion capitals. Having an office in Europe will improve my opportunities for growth, networking and finding support.