We hit the streets of L.A. in 2019 — make that one seriously lit street: Fairfax Ave, the Mecca of hype beast streetwear, surrounded by such brands as Supreme and The Hundreds.
Our mission: to shine a spotlight on Chinese streetwear designers and styles. So we started carrying brand new apparel from the hottest brands, like Li-Ning and STA, plus hot up-and-comers like Ecosys and WHOOSIS.
But we never aimed to be just an apparel store.
Shine Marketplace (Chinese name: 闪) is also the first Chinese hype-culture streetwear incubator in North America, discovering and promoting designers. We're also breaking streetwear-retail tradition by combining new apparel, sneakers, accessories, food, and more to redefine the hype lifestyle.
And it all began with a guy named Green.
As an undergrad at Brandeis University in Boston, Jiahuan "Green" Xia began reselling sneakers and streetwear from his dorm room. The raw business took off. Later, after earning his degree in Economics & Business, Green tried traditional careers — banker, real estate investor, even hospital assistant — but they just didn't fit. For Green it had to be streetwear or nothing.
Fast forward to today, and Green is called the “Sneaker King of China” by the Chinese media. Within China's highly competitive sneaker circle, his peers say that there's not one pair of sneakers Green can’t get his hands on. He also has a massive social media following in China, with thousands of followers on Douyin (the Chinese version of TikTok) tuning in for his insights on streetwear and entrepreneurship.
Shine Marketplace is Green's second streetwear startup. In 2012 he founded the first, Solestage, with two other young Chinese entrepreneurs. “I used to compete with them,” Green says, “then I realized that since we're all Chinese, we should work together instead of against each other." When they opened Solestage on Fairfax, the landlord raised the rent, saying "making money is what Chinese people are good at."
Green laughs at the memory. "Ironically, it's tough for Chinese entrepreneurs to succeed in the creative fields of fashion and streetwear in America," he notes. "People attach negative connotations to the label 'Made in China,' looking down on Chinese businesses, saying that they only copy." So for Solestage, the founders focused on American brands like Nike, with only a few Chinese products in the mix.
Solestage succeeded wildly, and now has stores in New York and Beijing, plus a second Southern California location in Irvine. "The appetite for streetwear in SoCal is insatiable," says Green. And while he could have thrived on Solestage alone, Green kept thinking of streetwear fan attitudes toward Chinese brands.
"I know so many talented designers and artists in China, and the street scene there boasts this totally unique style, not a copy. Given a chance, I think these artists and their work will be welcomed to the American scene, even embraced and collected."
So Green and his partners launched Shine Marketplace, not just to sell new apparel, but to provide a platform and resources for undiscovered street artists from China and other Asian countries. “I want everyone to see how Chinese youth have contributed their talents to the streetwear community," says Green, “because Chinese designers are dope.”
Shine Marketplace strives to support talented and creative artists — as our slogan states, “Let Your Talent Shine.” While our store primarily carries apparel, our website shines a spotlight on talented artists in all genres and media. So whether you’re an artist, musician, dancer, writer, or designer — and no matter where you come from — if you have the passion and talent, you deserve the chance to shine. Join us.