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Chinese '50s sneaker brand Feiyue makes a comeback, over 10 million sold in 2019

(People's Daily Online)    13:34, October 15, 2020

China’s time-honored sneaker brand Feiyue is gaining increasing vitality thanks to the brand owner’s innovation in design and marketing, creating a surge in interest of “Made in China” heritage brands.

First founded by the Shanghai Dafu rubber tire factory in 1958 in Shanghai, one year later over 1.6 million pairs of Feiyue shoes were produced, gaining favor and popularity among consumers.

Distributors select Feiyue sneakers. (Photo/People’s Daily)

Sales of the classic blue-and-red striped sneakers exceeded 10 million pairs between the 1970s and 1980s, with almost half of them selling in overseas markets, recalled Liu Wangsheng, general manager of Shanghai Dafu Rubber Co., Ltd., adding that the brand was a fashion icon during those days.

However, the brand lost its luster in the 1990s, and the Dafu rubber tire factory came to a halt in the production of the shoes in 2002.

Working as a technician at the factory in 1979 at the age of 20, Liu obtained the right to use the “Feiyue” trademark in 2003 to reproduce the sneakers with the desire to make it popular again.

In 2007, Tian Bo, a young man who opened Culture Matters (CM) – a store selling classic Chinese shoes – began to cooperate with Shanghai Dafu Rubber Co., Ltd. Working towards brand marketing, they held fashion shows to display Feiyue sneakers, and used social media such as douban.com, a Chinese social networking website, to approach more consumers.

Feiyue’s collaboration with Disney to launch a Star Wars-inspired series in 2015 was a great success, opening up the opportunity to cooperate with international copyright holders like Pepsi and Marvel in 2016. During last year’s National Day holiday, Feiyue’s collaborations with another nine well-renowned Chinese brands, such as the chili sauce brand Laoganma, were exhibited in Paris, attracting consumers both at home and abroad.

To boost creativity, Dafu has employed more than 10 designers with an average age of about 30 for the design of new styles of canvas shoes.

This year, Feiyue adopted 3D printing technology, greatly reducing the time of making models. In the future, more customized patterns and complex processes will be completed using the new technology.

In 2016, Dafu changed its traditional sales channels for brand building, requiring that each distributor of Feiyue sneakers must gain direct authorization from the headquarters of the company to open a new store.

Dafu also cooperates with a company specializing in running online shops to manage its flagship online stores, achieving remarkable results. At present, Dafu has more than 300 distributors and over 700 offline retail stores. Over the past two years, the sales growth of Feiyue sneakers have exceeded 50 percent. In 2019, over 10 million pairs of Feiyue shoes were sold, generating nearly 200 million yuan (over $29 million) of revenue.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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