By now, JUICE readers should be familiar with Feiyue (pronounced FeÃ®-uÃ©) as these shoes have been featured a lot in our pages. This brand of footwear that was coveted since the 1920s by the Chinese in Shanghai has now been brought back to life by a French team, with a new identity and logo to boot.
Since then, Feiyue has collaborated with artists like Steph Cop and Frederic Daubal as well as luxury brand Celine. Nicolas Seguy, Patrice Bastian and Clement Fauth are the ones who have successfully adapted Western influences into the unique and iconic footwear. JUICE was given the opportunity to speak to Nicolas to dig deeper into Feiyue’s vision and what the heritage brand has to offer.
What is Feiyue’s main focus and vision?
Feiyue is a French company whose head office is located in Paris. Originally from Asia, for 4 years Feiyue has been creating sneakers under the Feiyue brand, distributing them in France and in 20 countries around the world. France is currently Feiyue’s main market and its secondary markets are Europe, Asia and the United States. The philosophy of the brand is to explore new territories and create new products that are in harmony with its values, with a strong commitment to being accessible to all.
What is it about Feiyue that intrigued you to bring it back into the scene?
I guess it was mainly the fact that we were living in China and therefore involved in it on a daily basis, professionally and culturally. When you’re involved somewhere you feel the need to be more proactive than when you’re passing by. We felt this product and its history was intriguing, and just went for it. We really did not ask ourselves too many questions but somehow felt, why is it that everybody always complains about the “Made in China” label. There is so many great stuff in China and Feiyue is one among them.
We know how iconic Feiyue is, but how does it relate back to the masses?
We believe the price being reasonable and accessible is important, and helps maintain Feiyue as an affordable concept. Then I think the range has and is becoming large enough for different people with different styles, with aspirations to find their own Feiyue. That was not really true a few years back, but now it is and it’s great.
Who are the Feiyue consumers?
Feiyue offers products aimed at the youth of today, or in any case, at those who are interested in what is going on around them in different fields, whether in art, fashion, culture, technology or on the street. The target market is unisex and ranges from 11-40 years old. The 15-25 age group makes up its core. Determined to make its products accessible to all, Feiyue is now also offering products for children from the age of 18 months, thereby aiming its collections at both the kids and their parents. The kids’ range has not yet been launched in Asia, but we’re looking into it!
How important is Feiyue as an Asian brand?
Feiyue literally means “flying forward”. Today, the name is the key remaining link between the brand and its Asian origins, since the core is now done in Paris. What it means is that Feiyue has evolved into a global label and is now the fruit of collaborations, and time spent between people of all origins. The fact that we’re now working in to the Asia Pacific just gives us even more opportunities to work with local communities, especially artists.
Feiyue really made it big last year. What triggered the buzz?
Woah. That’s really hard to answer, to be honest. I think we came at the right time and in the right way. People like the fact that Feiyue is real, straightforward and originally different! The products must be nice for so many people to like it and therefore, once the core is there, the rest follows.
How many sets of collections or releases have Feiyue released?
2 collections a year since early 2006, so 10 with the arrival of FW10! All together that must be close to over 200-250 models!
How does Feiyue maintain its credibility by being such basic footwear?
It’s not basic anymore, believe me! 1stly, we’re not only a vulcanised label anymore. The 10N28E is a cemented shoe, which means we’re now able to explore a much wider range of techniques and technologies. Meanwhile, we’ve done so much work and changes compared to the old original model that we’re now up to any definition of international standards. We’ve changed every single bit of the shoe ranging from canvas, colour pigments, laces, rubber, printing methods, packaging, resistance and wear-ability-you name it! The industry in Europe and the US has become so selective and harsh in terms of quality standards that we’ve put a lot of work and expertise into it. I think we’ve already gained a certain level of credibility in Europe, including the quality level we’ve reached. Now we need to continue creating, designing and growing our love for the product and its environment.
What was the process like when giving Feiyue that facelift?
Mostly, as said above, it was technical at 1st. The original product could not pass most of the European quality requirements. Then of course, while safeguarding its origins, we’ve created what Feiyue would become as a brand and a community player. That was the best part as we were really creating a personality. The people you choose to work with, the artist you engage in; all of these create a spirit behind the brand day by day.
What is it about the Asian influence to other countries that makes it so appealing?
To me, it’s simple: people are intrigued by what they don’t know. Asia is far away from Europe; it’s booming for most places and becoming a geopolitically strong part of the world, so people are interested!
Would you say the Asia fashion standard now is equal to that of Europe or the US?
Well, the potential and the drive are there. If you think purely in terms of figures, you can’t say Asian fashion has caught up entirely but there is drive, energy, and a will to create and become something. That’s the core for anything to happen and in Asia, we want to be part of it. We want to work and do things with the local community that helps just a little to boost Asia as an active fashion player.
Are you afraid it will lose its identity and essence with the new designs incorporated into the brand?
Not at all. Things that don’t change lose their identity because an identity has to live, evolve and stay tuned to its environment. I would even say Feiyue was dying before we worked on it. Now the brand is building up its own identity in the modern world, and it just makes its heritage even more worthy and fantastic.
What are the projects and collaborations that have involved Feiyue?
Too many to list them all but we’ve had some great fun, for example, cooperating with luxury brand CELINE back in 2008 when we did a special range for them. In our early years, we also did quite a few collaborations with very young artists and that helped us realise what can be done on a pair of sneakers! More recently, we’ve had the chance to work with The Black Crowes on the Black Week End Festival, which was just amazing. The 1st ever music and extreme ski festival over 3000 metres high in the French Alps!!
Why choose KL as another outlet for Feiyue?
KL is vibrant and is undoubtedly a leading spot in South-East Asia. It’s amazing how each of the main capitals in SEA has its own strong identity. We’ve been lucky to meet some of the guys that really do things and move the place around. Once we meet people like this, we just want to go on!
Are there any upcoming Feiyue projects that we should look forward to in KL?
Well, we’re establishing our Asia headquarters in Singapore soon, so we’ll be much more active and locally present. That should start with a great street art exhibition tour in October, and we’re bringing an amazing artist and long-time friend from Paris to exhibit his work. It’s the 1st cultural and artistic connection through Feiyue between KL and Paris!
What else can we expect from Feiyue in the future?
More freedom, sincerity and innovation!
Hit up Feiyue’s website at www.feiyue-shoes.com. Thanks to H5 for the interview opportunity!