VERSEAS began back in 2019 in a coffee shop in Chengdu, China. Founded by May Wang (‘97), Chengdu local, and Stijn Ernes (‘95) from Brussels, Belgium.
Connecting with Chinese designers
The two met during Stijn’s student exchange program in 2016. After going back in 2019 to travel Asia, Stijn ended up living at May’s place in Chengdu for some months. With her own jewellery brand already on the go for some years, May was in touch with several Chinese designers. Both fashion enthusiasts, she introduced him to some of those living in Chengdu. After visiting the studios of the designers, both were very impressed by the quality, production process and designs.
In most cases, Chinese designers only offer their collections to the domestic market due to the language barrier and lack of opportunities. With no real idea of how to pursue a future in the West for their brands, they focus on success in China. The brand survives, but it is very difficult to gain global recognition. May and Stijn saw an opportunity – what if a platform could exist which offers global marketing to emerging Asian designers, shipping to customers worldwide. Working directly with them, sharing the success. After hearing the designers were enthusiastic about the idea of working with May and Stijn, VERSEAS was born.
With the concept in mind, May and Stijn spent the next months creating and organising the infrastructure of the online store. Given the name VERSEAS, to denote a bridge for the overseas market, the brand used its connections with designers in Asia to create its own collections. The duo decided to focus on creating blanks constructed of high grade fabric in timeless shapes. As a first collection, they went for a boxy hoodie and wide-leg trousers, both in all black.
Present and Future
When Stijn had to leave the country due to the pandemic, the two decided to continue the project from afar. After a year and a half of sampling and research, the blanks were perfected and the online store was ready to launch. Today, VERSEAS offers collections from five upcoming Asian designers, selected pieces from established asian brands, and provides its Essentials collection to retailers in Europe. VERSEAS is only growing, welcoming more and more talented designers from the Asian market to the platform.
Have you seen their collections?
Stories on the history of the designers, soon to come.