Sport the summer 'lao Beijing' look with these 5 classic brands

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

Photo: Meihua/

Whether you’re in search of some summer vintage fashion or are intrigued to dig into the style of decade pasts, there’re a handful of ‘time-honoured brands and labels’ based right here in Beijing that are on the cheap and worth a spend. The products offered by these brands are a combination of fashion and tradition – especially approved by nostalgia-driven local Chinese. Here we look at five of the most essentials ones:

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.

Shengxifu 盛锡福


The label

Founded in 1911, Shengxifu is seen as a trusted local headwear brand for its long-standing, high-quality material as well as fine craftsmanship. The Shengxifu hat store, located in Wangfujing, boasts a long list of influential customers, from former Chinese presidents including Chairman Mao, to foreign political figures like Kim Il Sung, the former chairman of North Korean. In the store, you’ll find a diverse selection of vintage and modern-style hats that range from flat caps, cowboy hats, Jewish yarmulkes to Turkish fezzes.

Get it

Head to the brand's Wangfujing store (196, Wangfujing Dajie, Dongcheng district) or find it on Taobao.

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