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Dominic keeps his Plastered 8 really local in Beijing's Hutong

People's Daily Online)  10:23, December 06, 2012

The file photo taken on October 11, 2010 shows Johnson-Hill introducing the name of his "Plastered 8" store in Beijing, capital of China.

The businessman Dominic Johnson-Hill came from Britain. In 1993, when he first arrived in Beijing, the British never imagined he would stay here for 19 years, run a business and start a family.

In 2006, Johnson-Hill opened his own creative T-shirts store "Plastered 8" in Nanluoguxiang, an old Beijing style alleyway with a history of over 800 years in the city's downtown, with the funds collected in previous market research work. As for T-shirts designing, the most frequent word in his vocabulary is "idea". In his opinion, all of his designing ideas originated from daily life. "I like collecting second-hand goods with traditional characteristics," said Johnson-Hill, "I adorn T-shirts with patterns, such as early subway ticket and food coupon once used in China. For me, those patterns are symbols of the city from a foreigner's eyes."

Johnson-Hill is not serious about formal design theories. Neither is he restricted by traditional thoughts. He liked to catch those images that locals took for granted, relying on inspiration that flashes across his mind.

After years of development, Johnson-Hill has opened branch stores in "798" art zone of Beijing and Tianzifang of east China's Shanghai. He was at first the only designer of "Plastered 8". Through expansion, he started to cooperate with young creative Chinese designers. "The development of the country offers more opportunities for young people here to learn designing," he said.

With the success of "Plastered 8", some parallel stores emerged in Nanluoguxiang. The British businessman was tolerant of the competition. He channelled his energy into releasing fresh designs and services.

For Johnson-Hill, the father of four children, Beijing means not only "Plastered 8" but also as a family. Living in Beijing for 19 years, the British man can speak fluent Mandarin.

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