Over the past decade the name Helen Lee has become synonymous with Shanghai fashion. Following her graduation from the Raffles Design Institute and two years working in Japan, Helen Lee returned to Shanghai and founded insh (short for “in Shanghai”). The success of insh led to the creation of the Helen Lee label in 2009, a premium brand known for its sophisticated and edgy designs. In 2010 Helen Lee opened her flagship store on Fumin Road in the French Concession, marking the beginning of a new chapter in high-end Chinese fashion.
The basis for Helen Lee’s remarkable success is her adventurous design philosophy. The process begins with her diverse influences, an exciting mix of East and West, old and new, sensuous materials and striking textures. Her garments combine an appealing simplicity with intricate details.
Helen Lee clothing aspires to the perfect line, the perfect cut, the perfect garment.
Shanghai – Fumin Road, Lane 182, Building 13
上海市富民路 182 弄 13 号
Shanghai – 1605 West Nanjing Road, Reel Shopping Center B2, INSHOP B20-B28
上海市静安区南京西路 INSHOP B20-B28, 芮欧购物广场负二层
T: 189 648 27 601
49 Wang Fu Avenue
南京王府大街 49 号
RI GUANG 日光
Yin Yi Plaza, 39 Cang Qiao Street
宁波市海曙区银亿时代广场仓桥街 39 号
Qian Long Lane
宁波市江东区潜龙巷 82 号
690 Jie Fang Avenue, Wuhan International Shopping Plaza, Section B, 2nd Floor
武汉市江汉区解放大道 690 号武汉国际购物广场 B 区 2F
Hai Xin Plaza & Zhang Zhou 1st Road
7 Nong Ke Road
MIX: 河南省郑州市金水区农科路 7 号
SeasonsPlace, Level 1-3 , 2 Jinchengfang Road, Xicheng District
TimesSquare, Level 1-4, 99 Middle Huaihai Road, Luwan District
IFS, Shop L302-303 & L401, Section 3, 1Hongxing Road, JinJiang District
IFC Mall, Podium 3, 8 Finance Street, Central
3 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay
310 Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000
86 -108 Castlereagh Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
One of the first designers to ever show at Shanghai Fashion Week back in 2003, Helen Lee became famous for balancing her signature playfulness with sophisticated undertones. Her eponymous brand—whose flagship can be found on Fumin Road— features feminine-yet-sporty womenswear, accented with bold colors, fun prints and luxurious, unexpected fabrics.
Entering through a sun-dappled courtyard, we climb the stairs in a three-storey colonial-style wooden house on Fumin Lu, a quiet, tree-lined street in Shanghai. On the top floor, colourful, contemporary outfits hang on racks in a carefully curated space mixing vintage Chinese furniture with black and white photography and colourful woven stools.
Dressed in a striped blue and white Breton shirt (a design from her most recent collaboration with French brand Saint James), with her black hair pulled back neatly, Shanghainese designer Helen Lee is showing us the hip headquarters, showroom and atelier of her eponymous designer label as well as her street wear brand Insh.
Ten years ago, Chinese fashion designer Helen Lee founded insh, a brand aimed at expressing the spirit of Shanghai, and was invited to attend the first Shanghai Fashion Week. Today, her namesake brand Helen Lee, which delivers a modern metropolis style, has transformed into a Shanghai Fashion Week focal point. This past decade has been an important one for Lee, who has been not only a participant in and witness to, but also a leader of China’s original fashion design scene.
Jing Daily recently visited Lee’s studio at Tianzifang, Shanghai, and had a talk on her brand positioning, team building, overseas expansion, capital operation, and development goals.
Lee is a leading figure in Shanghai’s emerging fashion scene. A graduate of China’s most prestigious fashion institute, LaSalle International Design College, Helen’s talent has been recognized, receiving awards like China’s “Jeanswest Fashion Award” and Belgium’s “Les Etoiles De La Mode.” Recently out of the wood work, she presented her HELEN LEE SS13 collection.
Arriving at Helen Lee’s sunny Taikang Lu studio, an impossibly long-limbed model being fitted for a floor-length evening dress and framed pictures of the designer posing alongside the glamorous likes of Halle Berry and Clive Owen, it’s clear that the designer has moved forwards and upwards from cult label, insh, known for its playful t-shirts, low-key elegance and youthful edge.
Classic CollectionFall/Winter 2014
Helen Lee x DisneySpring/Summer 2014