FEATURE | 29 August 2021
Interview: Martin Hufnagel
Intro: Celine Lika
The Chinese fashion label PRONOUNCE was founded by Yushan Li and Jun Zhou in 2016. While Yushan studied at Central Saint Martins, Jun graduated from London College of Fashion and Istituto Marangoni. Based in Milan and Shanghai, the duo elaborately combine tradition with modern designs. The sneakers from the brand's collaboration with PUMA are also available at The Wasted Hour. To introduce you to PRONOUNCE, Martin did a little Q&A with Yushan.
Do you remember the first sneaker you bought?
My first sneakers were bought by our parents, because we are required to wear sneakers during PE classes in school. Just a pair of simple white sneakers. I don't remember exactly what brand it is, but I still remember the feeling of running with those shoes: I felt comfortable and free.
What was your first contact with fashion?
When I was in high school, I received a note from my classmate who was one of my best friends in class, writing Rei Kawakubo and John Galliano on it. After class, I searched for them and their works online. By then, I was deeply fascinated by not only their pieces, but also the philosophy of the two designers. And I have studied painting before, so I have some understanding of fashion design, coupled with the influence of two designers. As for the choice of the future road, I chose fashion design. Jun Zhou was inspired by his love for men's clothing history and manual tailoring. He was inspired by the craftsmanship and the extreme pursuit of detail, he thus embarked on the road of fashion designer and then studied abroad.
What was your first impression of each other when you first met?
We were really good friends already when we both studied in London. We often discussed art and fashion, sharing our own views back then. I think passion is the word which connects us.
What's your favourite place in Shanghai/Milan?
We like the East Market in Milan very much and some of the old marketplaces in Shanghai. Vintage stuff inspires us hugely, and we can see a lot of interesting antiques and gadgets.
What was the inspiration behind the PUMA x PRONOUNCE sneakers and the Ready to Wear?
The combination of PUMA's traditional sport spirit and the DNA design concept of PRONOUNCE was the inspiration for these sneakers. We agree with PUMA that the wearing experience of sneakers is very important, so in the design of these sneakers, we adhere to the concept of design at the service of its functionality. As you can see, the beautiful sunset of Pumapunku is the theme of our joint collection, then we also chose functional materials to combine this mysterious cultural symbol in the design of the sneakers.
What was important for you when collaborating with PUMA?
We attach great importance to the mutual understanding and in-depth communication with the PUMA team this time. In this collection, both sides have given each other a lot of help, and at the same time, the level of cooperation has been pushed deeper and deeper. We have also found the perfect fit point with the PUMA brand through continuous in-depth communication.
What has been your best moment of 2021 so far?
It has not happened yet, but I believe that this moment will be with us very soon.