Retrieve the quietness
2007-07-23 16:37:17 [ Big Normal Small ]     Comment
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The customer is always right, says the "creative director" at AIAIA - it is the fashion style she wants that matters most, not what the director may think when on a buying expedition.

Not all fashion boutiques keep a high profile. AIAIA, taking its name from an island in a Greek fairytale, is located quietly and neatly in a tranquil two-story old house on Taiyuan Road.

"It is a kind of different atmosphere, unlike those in the center of town which offer too much," says Miyuki Miyama, AIAIA's creative director. "The private space here gives a 'private feeling' to every newcomer. It's quieter, guests can pick up and try on clothes without being disturbed."

Purple walls, cozy sofa and warm lights, which in the Japanese owner's eyes is good for creativity, give off a peaceful and elegant scent. With a total of four showrooms, two on each floor, the store has a nice layout.

"On the first floor is the Tokyo-style zone, which is acceptable, practical and easy to make, and a small room for discount clothes," Miyama says. "The upper floor displays unique designs from Europe, such as England and France."

It is true that at the first step into the shop, the mostly black-and-white series of Tokyo collection murmur the attractiveness that these two fashionable colors always have. However, step upstairs, the flavor of Europe swarms over the eyes. The diversity in colors and designs brings guests into a world of sweet candy.

"Special items from each designer indicate different characters. The unique clothes we sell are all works from international pioneering young designers," Miyama says. "Big-name designers such as Anne Valerie Hash and Matthew Williamson can be found among the European collections."

Although Hash is a young Paris designer, she has cooperated with many luxurious brands. Wise, humorous and simple, her feminine designs do not have so many colors but features smooth and fluent cuttings of lines.

Williamson is characterized by geographic patterns. "He is one of the treasures for entertainment stars," Miyama commented.

Introducing seasonal fashion to the guests, the director will go to fashion shows in Milan, Paris and Tokyo twice a year and do purchases on-site.

"My former experience as a buyer contributes a lot to my current work," she says. "My first job was working in a boutique for two years and that was 10 years ago. Then I went to England to study English for two years. It was there that I was first shocked by the high standard of British fashion. It is a country that has basic history of fashion culture."

Back to Japan after studying abroad, she found a job at an English-style magazine, later an advertising company, all of which dealt with the fashion industry.

"Four years ago, I came to China for the first time. I walked through Shanghai, Beijing and Dalian to find a location for my boutique. Through visiting friends and local people in Shanghai, I finally settled down on Taiyuan Road," Miyama says.

Through good relationships Miyama cultivated during her work at the magazine and the advertising company, she knows very well that concerns such as customer taste, color and style should be taken into consideration when picking up clothes from shows.

"I often do research on new designer to find out whether their future performance will be good or not," she said. "When a buyer is buying, personal likes or dislikes should not be a priority. It is the customer's demands and what she finds acceptable that matter the most."

Women ranging from 28 to 38 years old are AIAIA's main customers. Since most of the clothes are imports and limited in number and size, the prices are relatively high. It has a a high and steady turnover and more importantly, it pursues a different and individualistic life style.
"We have a press team, doing newsletters for our guests. When new arrivals come calls will be made by shop assistants to keep them informed. In addition, if a customer has special needs in designs, they can tell me and I will take special care at shows to bring the things they want home," she says.

Miyama said she really feels she is so lucky. "I am lucky because I can see the fashion. Now I have already set the clothes for this autumn and winter and I am also working on the trends for next spring and summer."

"Bringing fascinating fashions for females means I am planning another AIAIA in Hangzhou now," she adds. "It is through the good reputation passed on by customers from one to another that has made AIAIA what it is today."

AIAIA
Address: 165-1 Taiyuanlu
Tel: 021-64679231

(Source: Shanghai Daily)
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