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Cover Story | Red Capital: 2024, The "Legend" Of Red Blood Continues

2024/5/17 17:35:00 2

Fashion Week

   Our reporter Dong Xiaoyan
   Carrying the memory of the new China, entering the vision of young people.
   On the stage of China International Fashion Week (Autumn and Winter 2024), Hongdu, a well-known and mysterious clothing brand, first appeared in the form of art exhibition.
   This brand, which has custom-made clothes for foreign envoys and other distinguished guests for a long time, has left a red mark in the memory of several generations of people in New China; Today, it is unveiling its mystery with a new image and ushering in the "first year" of innovative development in 2024.

   Walk into Hongdu, walk into history
   Taking this art exhibition and fashion show as an opportunity, the reporter stepped into the headquarters of Beijing Hongdu Group at No. 28, Dongjiaominxiang, "Huangchenggen", and interviewed Jin Meimei, the general manager of Beijing Hongdu Group. After in-depth understanding of the past of the Red Capital, we can feel the sense of history seeping out from bricks and tiles, enveloping everyone here.
   Back in 1956, at the beginning of the founding of the People's Republic of China, a hundred pieces of waste were waiting to be rebuilt. In order to solve the problem of making clothes in the capital, especially to solve the problem of making clothes for national leaders, missions in Beijing and people going abroad, under the kind care of Premier Zhou Enlai, 20 famous clothing stores in Shanghai, including Bowei, Blue Sky and Zacun, moved to Beijing. After several reorganization, Beijing Youlian Fashion Factory, the predecessor of Beijing Hongdu Fashion Company, was established.
Hongdu Store. Former site of No. 28, Dongjiaomin Lane
   Since then, Hongdu has occupied a pivotal special position in the history of Chinese clothing development.
   Walking around the headquarters of Hongdu Group, the most impressive thing for reporters is the Hongdu Museum on the second floor of the building. There are inscriptions and letters written by many leaders for the Red Capital, group photos of domestic and foreign political figures and people in the Red Capital, and dresses made by the Red Capital for many national major events... Perhaps the most representative is the standard portrait of Chairman Mao, the Zhongshan clothes made by the Red Capital for the Chairman, and the Red Capital clothes have also become Chairman Mao's constant choice. In 2007, the Independent of the United Kingdom selected the top ten suits that have an impact on the world, and the "Mao style Chinese tunic suit" ranked first. One can't help feeling that looking back on the development history of the Red Capital is like looking back on the history of New China.
   The official dress of the Red Capital not only accompanies previous national leaders to attend important occasions, but also shows Chinese style in diplomacy. One interesting thing is that in the mid-1970s, former US President George H.W. Bush, who was then the director of the US Liaison Office in China, often rode with his wife to the Hongdu Clothing Store to make clothes. In 1989, when George H.W. Bush, as the President of the United States, visited China and stepped off the plane, facing the Chinese officials and foreign envoys who welcomed him, he excitedly opened his iron gray suit jacket, pointed to the logo on it and said, "Red Capital! Red Capital!" It turned out that he came to China wearing a red capital suit.
   The classic stories, one after another, have covered the Red Capital with a sense of historical seriousness and mystery. Indeed, until the end of the 1980s, Hongdu was not open to the public, and those who came here to customize clothes had to hold letters of introduction from departments above ministerial level.
   Restructuring and transformation, with unique skills
   With the clarion call of reform and opening up, Hongdu has gradually taken the step of marketization. In 1993, Beijing Hongdu Fashion Co., Ltd. merged with Beijing Textile Co., Ltd. and Beijing Labor Protection Products Co., Ltd. to form Beijing Hongdu Group, which is subordinate to Beijing Yishang Group.
   In addition to high-end customized clothing business, Hongdu has also developed a variety of businesses such as the production of team uniforms, and deeply participated in major national events - the 1990 Beijing Asian Games, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and other major sports events, as well as the 50th, 60th and 70th National Day celebrations. Hongdu also often produces clothing and packaging images for various national cultural and sports groups. Each group costume making can reflect one of the major characteristics of Hongdu people - "political", strong organization and execution.
   Taking a female militia square array dress named "Phoenix Cloud" for the 70th anniversary celebration of the National Day as an example, various details reflect the comprehensive quality of Red Capital in rapid response, excellence and technological breakthrough. The square array is famous for its uniformity, but the female soldiers' height, waist line position, shoulder oblique angle, etc. are not uniform, so Hongdu requires itself with the most stringent standards. The skirt length, belt, and button position of each garment are adjusted one by one based on the height of the ground, and the shoulder pad thickness is also one person, one data. For several months, people in Hongdu worked day and night, and finally presented the visual effect of cutting tofu.
   The "unique skills" of the Red Capital are far more than that. In those days, depending on the eyes only, Master Hongdu could make a fit Zhongshan suit for Chairman Mao at one time without using a ruler; During the parade, leaders need to wave their hands. In order to guarantee the overall image to the greatest extent, Red Capital once again performs its unique skills to ensure that the chest and armpit pockets are at the same level regardless of whether the hand is raised or lowered; In the Hongdu Museum, there is also a Chinese tunic suit worn for many years, which was given back by leading cadres after retirement. After 50 years of customization, this Chinese tunic suit without adhesive lining and only made of wool large lining has no deformation, and it is still as clean as before... Under the description of people in Hongdu, this unique skill of the Red Capital is simply too numerous to list, which makes people fascinated.
   In addition, Hongdu has also set up a number of "master studios". Each master has his own unique production techniques, or inheritors of intangible cultural heritage skills, or has won numerous awards and awards, all of which are unique skills. Finally, Hongdu has formed a professional design and production team with senior garment technicians as the core and young and middle-aged technicians as the backbone, forging the core competitiveness of Hongdu.
   With show as the medium, Hongdu makes a sound
   Now, Hongdu will reveal all the accumulated experience of these decades, and it will make a sensational appearance in the industry at China International Fashion Week in March this year. This makes everyone realize that this enterprise with a strong red background is undergoing changes, breaking the stereotype that people only make formal clothes in Red Capital, transforming the historical charm into fashion charm, and applying exquisite craftsmanship to the general public - "time-honored brands" are radiating new vitality!
   With this art exhibition named "Cui • Ying - New Proposition of Chinese Aesthetics in Red Capital" as the landmark node, Red Capital ushered in its first year of innovation in 2024. "Since then, Hongdu will also have a series of major moves, such as carrying out young and fashionable style innovation, building Hongdu, Shuangshun, Zacun and other brands by differentiation, seeking cross-border cooperation, co branding with designers, etc." In the view of Jinmeimei, marketization is the general trend.
   "In recent years, the Ministry of Commerce has also been vigorously promoting the conservative and innovative development of time-honored brands, encouraging the consumption of domestic 'trendy goods', and providing strong support for the development of time-honored brands." Jinmeimei said that under the current environment of the prevalence of new Chinese style, Hongdu Group will continue to improve its brand from four aspects: "protection, inheritance, innovation, and development".
   The achievements of reform can be seen in this art exhibition. The combination of static exhibition and catwalk show shows the rich product lines of Hongdu, including improved cheongsam, improved suits, daily clothes, horse face skirts and other products, which bring elegant charm of ancient capital to modern life. Weaving brocade, yarn, lace and other fabrics, together with traditional production processes such as inlay, inlay, piping, and plate, make the Hongdu works released this time realize the integration of oriental characteristic fabrics, traditional clothing culture, and innovative design, giving people a simple, quiet, implicit and restrained beauty. "Hongdu has a unique perspective on the integration of traditional clothing and elements with modern design, and these trendy products will be launched in stores in succession," Jin Meimei said.
   Into Hongdu, Into the Future
   At present, Hongdu Group has gathered time-honored brands and well-known brands such as Hongdu, Lantian, Zacun, Huabiao, Shuangshun, among which Hongdu brand, as a "time-honored brand in China", has the reputation of "the first high-end ready to wear custom in China", and has two Beijing municipal intangible cultural heritages, namely, "Hongdu Zhongshan Suit Making Technique" and "Beijing style Cheongsam Traditional Making Technique". However, history and honor are not the whole of Hongdu. The Group is taking 2024 as a new starting point, pioneering and innovating to show its brilliant future.
   Turning to the innovative future of Hongdu, Jinmeimei said that the Group is constantly exploring the innovation of products and markets, taking "culture as the core, products as the extension, inheritance and innovation as the two wings, and making use of the scientific and accurate layout of digital empowerment" to create a new business model of "digital+time-honored brands".
   First, we should dig deeply into our own cultural heritage and creatively demonstrate the unique charm of Chinese aesthetics based on the exquisite intangible cultural heritage skills.
   Hongdu now adopts the business model of "advanced customization, group tooling, ready to wear sales, and garment modification", and ingeniously extends the customization skills accumulated for decades to the mass market.
   Hongdu has always adhered to the clothing making concept of "taking care of the needle and making every piece of high-quality goods", and has a strict clothing making process. First, we will have in-depth communication with customers to understand their wearing occasions and preferences; Then select the fabric style, design style, determine the accessories, and then tailor to suit; After that, we have to go through two or three times of fitting and changing clothes to correct the details of weight, length and so on. Take the cheongsam with simple lines as an example, the production technique is quite exquisite, and the buttons, collars and other details are very interesting, which is not acceptable at all. The production process of one version for one person and one style for one person is strictly implemented.
   When talking about how to give consideration to inheritance and innovation in the Red Capital, Jin Meimei said that while retaining traditional skills, the Red Capital will optimize the production process, integrate traditional clothing cultural elements with modern design concepts, skillfully integrate fashion elements, avant-garde design concepts and popular colors, and create a new Red Capital clothing with both traditional charm and contemporary aesthetics, Make yourself more competitive when the national style is prevailing.
   Second, actively implement the rejuvenation strategy, and enrich the product line in combination with industry development and consumer demand.
   In terms of design concept, Hongdu introduces new ideas such as three-dimensional cutting and deconstruction design to inject unique style into clothing. In terms of fabric selection, Hongdu actively explores and uses new oriental featured fabrics, such as environment-friendly, functional or high-tech fabrics, to improve the quality and performance of clothing on the basis of maintaining the traditional characteristics of the brand. In addition, Hongdu also plans to carry out cross-border cooperation with brands and designers in other fields to jointly develop co branded products, enrich product lines and endow the brand with new ideas.

   Third, follow the trend of the times and actively explore digital transformation and upgrading.

   "Digitization and intelligence are important trends in the future development of garment enterprises, which Hongdu Group attaches great importance to." Jinmeimei said, "Information technology can not only improve design efficiency, but also achieve more accurate market positioning and consumer demand analysis, and will also provide strong support for the modernization and transformation of time-honored brands."
   At present, Hongdu has developed and launched Hongdu customized applet to provide consumers with more convenient services. At the same time, the Group is still negotiating with relevant digital technology companies to seek more cooperation opportunities.
   Fourth, use new media to promote.
   "Through the omnimedia matrix, Hongdu Group can interact with consumers more timely and closely, display brand image and new product information, and thus enhance brand awareness and influence." Jin Meimei said, "In the future, Hongdu will also strengthen its publicity efforts in more media. It is believed that with the help of the new media platform, Hongdu Group can better convey its brand culture and values."
   The style of the country is flying today.
  Inheritance and innovation, rejuvenation strategy, digital transformation, new media promotion... In 2024, Hongdu Group is making many positive attempts. These explorations not only revitalize the time-honored brand of Hongdu, but also provide valuable experience for other time-honored enterprises.
   In the future development, let's pay more attention to Hongdu Group, and let this national brand grow with the new China, and continue the legend in the new generation!
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