Explore Soft Mountains

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Ziwei Longhong

Est. 2017
London College of Fashion
Soft mountains is a contemporary jewellery brand founded by Ziwei Longhong whose background is Nuosu (one of the Chinese Ethnic Minorities). By directly partnering with indigenous skilled artisans, the brand seeks to create new opportunities and encourage the sustainable trades to support and uplift the livehoods of Chinese Ethnic Minorities living in mountains. The emergence of Soft Mmountains stems from a deep love and concern for “nature, heritage,and craftsmanship.” We adore things imbued by emotions and stories. Our ultimate hope is to tell these long-forgotten and often neglected stories through Soft Mountains, making it a polyphonic channel where the voices of us and our ancestors resonate in unison. The ancient craftsmanship combined with the young vision constitute our script, which we use to express our thoughts on history, humankind and its cosmology imprinted on our jewelry. Each series and product of Soft Mountains is rooted in timeless details of the traditional Nuosu-Yi ornamented accessories. After we incorporate these in our innovative design, we work with the craftsmen for production. The Nuosu-Yi people have a profound affection for silver, and the silver making in Nimu, their diverse homeland, has a lengthy history. The silver jewelry contains their whole cosmology inseparably connected to nature and all things and powers inhabiting it. Therefore, in our first collection, numerous silver accessories embodying this special significance have naturally become the starting point of the concept. For example, the elements of the openwork beads in the first series and the four-pointed stars stars in the second series form an essential iconography imprinted on the traditional Nuosu-Yi jewelry, carrying the meanings of auspiciousness and blessings. By extracting these elements from the conventional way of how the Nuosu-Yi wear their jewelry, and through preserving a purely handmade production process, we hope to plant a new vital force into the tradition, achieve a truly sustainable design, and broaden the contemporary meaning of “indigenousness” by diversified, polyvocal thinking and aesthetics. We hope that our visual ethnographic storytelling will enable more people to witness the exquisiteness of the craftsmanship, and will bring the inspiration stemming from nature and emotions connected to our homeland over the mountaintops and valleys to far-away lands our ancestors did not even dare to dream about.

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