Retro Warrior sneakers
THE Warrior, China's first sneaker dating back to 1935 in Shanghai, has walked, trudged, skipped and run through Chinese history and today it has become a retro hit with Chinese and international fashionistas.To get more warrior sneakers, you can visit shine news official website.
Once it seemed that every young urban person wore Warrior (Huili) sneakers or basketball shoes. Then they disappeared as Western sports shoes flooded the market and only construction workers, poor people and rural folks wore Warriors. Now they're back, hip and trendy, a Chinese version of Converse.
The cool street dresser these days wears Warrior sneakers, the striped blue-and-white military sailor shirt known as "haihunshan", the red Young Pioneers scarf "honglingjin" and a pair of jeans. And he or she rides a Forever (Yongjiu) bicycle, or a skateboard.
"For me, it's not only a pair of shoes, it's a reminder of my childhood," said an 88-year-old shopper surnamed Xu. He looked nostalgically at a pair of well-displayed Warriors on a shelf. It was the opening day of the Shanghai flagship store of Warrior shoes, on Pingliang Road in Yangpu District.
"When I was a kid, a pair of Warrior sneakers was the best present ever. Anyone wearing them was envied," he said, gazing at the familiar basic unisex shoes, white with two red or blue arrows. And its flashier modern editions, some with graffiti decoration.
Back in the 1930s a pair of Warriors cost around 12 yuan (US$1.78). Today they cost 40-80 yuan."Warrior shoes have a place in our teenage memories," said a fan from Hong Kong who attended the opening. "We always remember those times that were full of inspiration, courage and dreams."
Warrior sneakers trace their beginnings back to 1935 Shanghai. The manufacturer first came up with the English name, Warrior, and found two somewhat similar-sounding Chinese characters (Huili) for "warrior," or the "mighty power that overcomes difficulties."
The brand survived a civil war, a revolution and the feet of millions of Chinese men, women, boys and girls. It was joined by well-known Feiyue (Flying Forward) sneakers that looked similar and had models named after kung fu positions. Feiyue too are making a comeback. The third big Chinese sneaker name was Double Stars (Shuangxing).
But during the era of sneaker imperialism in the 1980s, the global market and China were flooded by Western brands such as Nike, Puma and Reebok.Warriors were down-at-the-heels and trampled in the stampede for Western footwear. The only people who wore them were poor people who wanted cheap and durable shoes.
Warriors were unheard of by the rest of the world until a few years back when they caught on abroad and seemed magically revived in China.
It's said a French fellow triggered this fashion storm back in 2006 when he took loads of sneakers from a small-time store in Shanghai to the European limelight in London and Paris, where they became the rage. A pair of Warriors at the time cost 40-50 euros (US$52-65), around 40 times the price in China.
Fascinated by the story behind Warriors, a Finnish-Chinese graphic design student published a photography book "Book of Warriors" (2008) that features people wearing Warriors all over China. Each copy comes with a pair of Warriors.
The author, Ye Shumeng, hopes to use the Warrior brand "to tell the story behind the shoes and show a different side of China. Not the industrial and economic power, but the daily life of a country with its own distinctive sneaker culture."
At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, a Warrior company official said that monthly sales had reached more than 20,000 pairs, compared with previous annual sales of only 70,000 pairs.
The French edition of Elle magazine sang the Warriors' praises, saying they may challenge the popularity of Converse shoes with young people who like the retro look.
After Chinese-style cloth messenger bags were copied by international fashion brands, Warrior sneakers appear positioned to be the next Chinese fashion hit. Quite a few Hollywood stars have shown up shod in Warriors, including Orlando Bloom. The late Anna Nicole Smith also wore them. Brad Pitt has been spotted in a pair of similar Feiyue sneakers.Remembering vintage and trendy old Chinese brandsTin toys
The Shanghai-made winding metal toys, featuring rice-eating chicks or hopping frogs, were the sought-after items in the 1950s and became popular with American toy collectors in the 1960s.