Can you describe the aesthetic of your brand? Alve Lagercrantz: “‘Stupid elegance’ – that encapsulates the brand. It’s about an easy-going attitude. Fashion at the moment is quite serious and [Sirloin is] about having fun, enjoying it.”

How long have you two been working together? Mao Usami: “Two years.”

Lagercrantz: “But we studied together in [Central] Saint Martins [in London, Britain], worked in different places in Europe, then moved together to Shanghai.”

Why Shanghai? Lagercrantz: “We found some amazing factories to work with and it’s an exciting way to start a brand. So many people start in their apartment or basement in London and this was a different way. We enjoy living here; it’s nice to be far away from Paris and London, it gives us a bit of distance.”

Usami: “When we are designing here, we are by ourselves, so there is more freedom to do what we really want.”


How does Fashion Week in Shanghai compare with the Paris version, where you have also shown? Lagercrantz: “There’s less coverage than Paris Fashion Week, but I like Shanghai Fashion Week; it’s exciting, it’s growing so much every time. Paris Fashion Week is always the same.”

Your concept of “underwear as outerwear” seems to suit Shanghai, where the traditional codes about what people “should” be wearing don’t apply. Usami: “Shanghai is famous for people wearing their pyjamas in public and they hang their underwear in the street outside to dry. There is more inside life lived outside here.”


In your latest collection, you elevated utilitarian items and describe puffers as the new fur. Tell us about that. Lagercrantz: “Now, everyone is a paparazzi photographer with social media. We made all those sweatshirts and sweatpants in a tailored and proper way, tailored sleeves and in-seams; they actually have all these constructions inside and the puffer jackets are worn like fur coats.”