BEIJING — China’s top fashion editors and designers were in the capital last weekend to launch Magmode, a new lifestyle platform focused on multibrand retail, e-commerce and digital publishing.
As the name suggests, the project aims to bridge the fashion publishing world (“mag”) and the designer world (“mode”) together. Spearheaded by former GQ China features director and author Chong Da Cai, 34, Magmode received $4.5 million in backing from venture capital firms China Growth Capital and IDG to help roll out six multibrand shops across China this year, as well as an editorialized e-commerce app to be launched in July, selling a selection of fashion and lifestyle items by niche designers. The app will also feature articles about new cultural discoveries from editors and writers who previously worked for fashion magazines including GQ China, Architectural Digest, Modern Media and The Bund.
“During the past few years, people began to demand goods that cater to their own thoughts and tastes and this trend is getting more prominent. As some of the traditional brands were created by people who have long worked in the supply-chain field, attention has been paid to practicality or mainly utility. They didn’t regard the goods as carriers of certain concepts,” Cai said about the inspiration behind the project, adding how consumer palates in China are changing and upgrading. In 2013, Cai launched his own men’s wear line, called Donno, that had a turnover of 500 million yuan, or $76 million at current exchange, in 2015.
Among its collaborators is designer Masha Ma, who gave WWD a private tour of Magmode’s first shop inside Taikoo Li Sanlitun, a trendy shopping district in Beijing.
The 2,150-square-foot store is focused solely on men’s wear and home lifestyle items from a handful of Asian designers such as Discovered, Megratia and Scye from Japan, along with Hiuman and Sean Suen from China, a shift from other multibrand shops in Beijing that are mainly focused on women’s wear. Inside, Ma introduced her new men’s line called Mattitude. The small capsule collection was a preview of her fall offerings and ranged from soft, military green fabric car jackets to a casual two-in-one sweater and button-up denim top. The line – which is priced from 800 to 4,000 yuan, or $122 to $610, is targeting China’s urban man who seeks both fashion and function – a hybrid that’s missing in men’s wear in China, according to Ma.
“Something in the middle gets vague and we want to offer [clothes that men] can travel [with]. Not only for holiday, but for business meetings so you don’t have to get rid of the ugly jacket and actually go to the next meetings looking decent and presentable,” Ma said. She’s busy rolling out 80 Ma by Ma shops across China by 2022 and hopes to have three Mattitude stores open by March 2017.
Overseeing the styling and branding of her Ma by Ma and Mattitude shops is former Vogue China creative director, Stéphane Delgado.
Ma said the project hopes to provide exposure to designers, artists and musicians from across Asia who are not so well known.
“We believe it’s not just about producing fashion clothing, but communication with the public. We want to set up different events — not just promotion about the store but about the lifestyle. It’s a multibrand store and more of a magazine idea and we hope to change the clothes every season, along with the art pieces and have different pop-ups,” Ma said.
The second Magmode shop is slated to open inside a 7,535-square-foot space inside the Kerry Centre in Hangzhou in August. The other four locations, totaling six, will be in Beijing and Shanghai.