Shanghai’s Own Streetwear Brand – Chiin Chilla

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Earlier in the week, had the pleasure of interviewing the guys behind Shanghai’s own street wear brand, Chiin Chilla.    This is a brand going places, cause it has a mission and bombastic back story.  Read on.

So this is how things happen in wonderfully eclectic global cities like Shanghai.  You rock up, you introduce yourself to the most interesting people in the cafe, and then get to talk about the city’s most interesting brand.

Part occupational hazard, part popular cultural geekiness, the conversation with brothers Gene and Enoch Contreras was simply fascinating.

A streetwear brand for ‘the people, the people, the Shanghai people!’

Back in 2012, Gene, feeling inspired by his new city of residence, created a sketch to capture the energy of Shanghai.  The character he drew was a headphone ­bedecked character with thick glasses and a pronounced eye squint, later infamously AKAed as Chiin Chilla.

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Chiin Chilla, the start of a serious operation

Chiin became the symbol of the Shanghai-based clothing brand and movement that provides OCC carries and hat apparel, plus figurines and collectible items.   The brand has grown organically, where the founders ‘hustled’ stickers and Chiin icons into music and street events.

The spirit of Chiin is a reflection of  the sleepless and endless energy of Shanghai’s urban culture, captured in the unifying call-to-arms – “Till you Fly”.

Current custodians, brothers Gene and Enoch are Americans, influenced by the scenes of L.A. and Miami.  In their time in China they were reminded of that same energy, but noticed nothing that was capturing and bringing it together.  Enter Chiin Chilla to fill that long standing void.

From Shanghai to the World

Recently launching a new collection (see below) for the soon to arrive Shanghai summer, Chiin Chilla has built a loyal following here in Shanghai, amongst a group that identify and participate in the ongoing resurgence of Shanghai’s underground.

But as the brand has deservedly grown, there is a natural desire to spread the work of Shanghai’s scene to a more global audience.  This has been achieved by the retro Chinese footwear brand Feiyue some years ago, but not yet by a contemporary street brand.

Looking at the collection, full of local vibe, color, the character of Chiin, and the brilliant iconic use of “$” in the acronym for Shanghai, SH – Chiin Chilla is most definitely a brand to look out for, and get behind.

Check out photography for the new Chiin Chilla Summer Collection –
Shot, of course, on the streets of Shanghai.

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A streetwear brand from Shanghai’s “longtangs” (streets)

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Yes, local youth luv Chiin Chilla 2

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The iconic “$H” design features in the new collection

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Local inferences including retro “Guangming” milk packaging – truly GLOCAL style

Opération Chiin Chilla

Rest assured Chiin Chilla is here

About Author

Jerry Clode

Jerry Clode is Head of Digital & Social Insight at Resonance. He leads Resonance SMART, providing leading-edge research, strategy and naming for brands in China using bespoke methodologies. Jerry also produces Resonance's popular China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly publication covering modern marketing methods of the world's top brands.

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