Meet Ma Ke, the fashion designer who dresses the Chinese First Lady

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1st July 2022 – (Hong Kong) President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan arrived in Hong Kong by high-speed train at about 3.15 yesterday(30th). Peng Liyuan, wearing a grey cheongsam, waved and greeted everyone when they got off the train. In 2013, when Peng Liyuan accompanied Preisdent Xi Jinping to visit Moscow for the first time as the first lady of China, she wore a dark blue coat with a handbag. The clothes she wears are specially designed and custom-made by Chinese designer Ma Ke.

Ma Ke is a Chinese fashion designer. She has two clothing labels: EXCEPTION de Mixmind, a ready-to-wear line started in 1996 and retailed in China; and WUYONG, an haute couture line founded in 2006. In 2007, Ma Ke starred in the award-winning documentary Useless by Chinese director Jia Zhangke. In 2008, her fashion house WUYONG was appointed as a Guest member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in France.

Ma Ke

Ma Ke designs have been wore by the Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan, on several occasions.

Ma Ke is the founder of Mixmind Art & Design Co, Ltd., based in Guangzhou, China. She currently works in her studio in Zhuhai on the southern coast of Guangdong province.

Ma Ke is among the youngest of the first generation of Chinese fashion designers who have received international acclaim, and she is the first Chinese to show at Paris Haute Couture. Ma Ke is best known abroad for her two WUYONG collections: WUYONG/the Earth, which debuted at Paris Fashion Week Spring Summer 2007; and WUYONG/Qing Pin, which was held on 3rd July, 2008 as her first show for Paris Haute Couture.

Ma Ke’s designs are celebrated for their use of environmentally friendly fabrics and recycled materials, and for their manufacture using traditional dyeing, weaving and embroidery techniques, most notably those of the Dong people of Southern China,  Her fashion house EXCEPTION de Mixmind hosts shows in China each season for their new collections. Ma Ke’s first two shows for WUYONG, held more than a year apart, were distinctive for their absence of a runway and for incorporating certain elements of performance art. Her unorthodox shows and anti-consumerist statements have earned Ma Ke a reputation for being anti-fashion, but she is equally lauded for her conscientious efforts to preserve traditions and protect the environment.

In 2006, Ma Ke founded a new fashion label, WUYONG which literally means Useless. Ma Ke’s workshop in Zhuhai, which produces the WUYONG collections, employs a team of workers skilled in traditional clothing manufacturing techniques. All stages of production are done in-house, including the spinning, weaving, dyeing and sewing; even using traditional equipment such as a Chinese loom dating from the 19th century. Some of the articles in the collections either incorporate or are fashioned out of recycled material and found objects, including a paint-covered sheet made into a dress and an old tarpaulin constructed into an over-sized coat.

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