Chinese Designers Yushan Li and Jun Zhou On Their Menswear Label, Pronounce
Based in Shanghai and Milan, Li is a graduate of Central Saint Martins in London and honed his skills at Kanye West’s brand Yeezy, while Zhou holds degrees from both the London College of Fashion and Istituto Marangoni, and cut his teeth at Ermenegildo Zegna.
Since launching Pronounce in 2016, they have been nominated for the 2017 International Woolmark Prize, landed a sell-out collaboration with Diesel and, this February, launched a unisex capsule collection with H&M.
How did you first realise you wanted to work in fashion?
Li: I discovered Rei Kawakubo in middle school and I found her work so powerful; it shocked and inspired me so much.
Zhou: I began learning how to sketch in middle school from my teacher Hu Xiaodong, and developed a huge interest in it.
What was the first roadblock you had to overcome?
Li: To get into art school. Zhou: To learn English and Italian at the same time.
What was your first job?
Li: I interned for Mary Katrantzou on her first perfume and interiors collection—the experience was unforgettable.
Zhou: I worked part-time with Italian brand Mariotti Milano, where I learned Italian tailoring, in 2011.
When was the first time you realised your brand was getting attention?
Li: Honestly, we still don’t feel that yet.
Tell us about creating your first collection.
Li: Our first collection was in 2016 when we showed in Milan and then in Shanghai. It was inspired by the 200 photos we captured on the streets to document how people were dressing and how they were enjoying a slow life one summer.
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Who are the first celebrities you want to dress?
Zhou: We really want to dress Tommy Cash and Marina Abramović.
Where is the first place you look for inspiration?
Zhou: We always find inspiration at the Navigli Antique Market in Milan.
What is your next goal?
Li: We can’t wait to launch a Pronounce flagship store.
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