YAWEN EVAN SUN WRITES – How do you interpret “vintage”?
In China, in the metropolis of Jinan, the capital city of Shandong, in eastern China, Wuwu, the owner of a vintage clothing shop, believes that “old is new”. And so she and her friends named this marvelous little shop “Hakuna Matata”, which of course roughly translated means “No worries and problem-free for the rest of your days” in Swahili.
Interestingly, Wuwu told me when we chatted inside her pride and joy recently that she decided to open her shop not because she loved to dress up herself. Instead, she enjoyed the process of shopping, selecting the good pieces of stuff and reorganizing them. She does not feature brand-new products in her shop.
The men’s wear line was drawn from product lines in the decades immediately after the Second World War, mainly between 40s-80s; as for women’s wear, they were made in the U.S. and Germany from 50’s to 80’s. Wuwu and her colleagues would regularly go old-clothes shopping to Thailand to restock the inventory, and she would also ask her friends around the world to collect some vintage wear and accessories.
Wuwu describes herself as an ordinary girl. She claims she was so ordinary that her customers would rarely recognize that she was the owner of the shop. Her customers range from teenagers to seniors. Although some of them are new to the vintage shop, they always seem of a romantic and confident nature. Wuwu said, “The unique thing about vintage is that your look should correspond to your inside world. And that is my fashion theory.”
Mentioning the biggest challenge of running her vintage shop, Wuwu said that they almost always seem to have trouble affording the rent. But in the last two years, the public gradually accepted vintage style clothing, so Wuwu’s bottom line benefited. However, a quarter of her income comes from her online shop; but she must spend a quarter of her income to support her physical vintage shop. “I insist on keeping our physical shop open because the customers will be able to see the clothing and try them on. I also like to have a physical space such as this this to communicate with others”, Wuwu explained.
Now, Wuwu is cooperating with her old neighbors, a married couple who own a dessert shop. When you go to Hakuna Matata, you can not only buy awesome clothes, but also enjoy some delicious dessert. It has become one of the most popular shops in Jinan. So let’s applaud Wuwu, a so-called ordinary girl who runs what just may be the coolest, cutest little vintage shop in all of China.