Get the 'lao Beijing' look with these classic brands

Up-swag with a handful of the capital's historic labels

Meihua (梅花)


The label Give your athleisure a retro feel with Meihua, one of China’s first designated athletic wear brands. Produced in Tianjin since the 1960s, the brand’s classic style is a red or blue track jacket with white stripes down the side. The brand was worn by Olympic athletes in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, the first Summer games Mainland China participated in for over 30 years, but fell out of favour over the last few decades when international sportswear brands like Nike entered the market.

Get it Check to purchase the line that was relaunched last year.

Peony (牡丹)


The label First produced in the Beijing Radio Factory, the Peony model radio was one of China’s most popular through the 1950s. During the Cultural Revolution, the brand was renamed Red Flag. Ambitions for Peony to be China’s answer to Japanese brand Sony never really took off, however.

Get it Head to Beixinqiao vintage shop Jindian Soubao (金典 搜宝; 43 Dongsi Bei Dajie, Dongcheng district) to pick up an antique model.

Neiliansheng (内联升)


The label This ‘Beijing Time Honored Brand’, founded in 1853 during the Qing Dynasty, is one of China’s oldest handmade shoe companies. Its formal boots were once worn by officials in Imperial China, and more recently the casual canvas slippers (from 300RMB) have been sported by everyone from Mao Zedong to Jackie Chan. Making the handmade shoes involves nearly 100 steps, but the intricate process makes them both durable and light.

Get it Head to the brand’s Dashilar shop (4 Dashilar Jie, Qianmen, Xicheng district) where you’ll find master craftsmen still making shoes by hand.

Flying Pigeon (飞鸽)


The label Classic Chinese bicycle company Flying Pigeon was started in 1936 by a Japanese businessman in neighbouring Tianjin. A decade later, vice president Liu Shaoqi declared the company the first official bike-maker of the new China and today the company sells bicycles worldwide. The original Tianjin factory continues to produce the nearly indestructible, single-speed black bikes with their cushy leather seats, as well as updated models.

Get it Buy retro models (from 250RMB) and updated versions from the brand’s shop just outside West Fourth Ring Road (74 Lugu Lu, Shijingshan district) and second-hand from markets around the city.