Story of Dafu Feiyue Shanghai from Leap to Ashes, and Reborn like a Phoenix - Story of a Brand for a Century

Feiyue -

Story of Dafu Feiyue Shanghai from Leap to Ashes, and Reborn like a Phoenix - Story of a Brand for a Century

Early Development

In 1931, The brand "Feiyue" first came from Shanghai Dafu Rubber Factory. The Shanghai Dafu Rubber Factory was founded in 1931 as a private company, and initially mainly produced overshoes and running shoes called "Dahu" (means Big Tiger). After the China Civil War, Dafu Rubber Factory became a local state-owned factor. At that time, a number of shoe factories and tire factories merged to form the Shanghai Rubber Industry Company.

In 1958, Dafu Rubber Factory developed a civilian sports shoe based on the military shoes, named "Feiyue" meaning Leap, which became popular for a time and was loved by all classes. In the 1970s and 1980s, Feiyue shoes were popular because they were light, soft, and durable. The color matching of red and blue stripes on a white background made Feiyue shoes a popular "fashion item" at that time. In the same year, the "Feiyue" trademark was officially registered. Feiyue became the fashion standard of the "trend-goers" at that time.

First Booming Stage

At its peak in the 1980s, Dafu Rubber Factory's annual output of rubber shoes reached 13.71 million pairs, with an annual export volume of 5.5 million pairs. It was once one of the largest shoe companies in the Southeast Asian market. The Feiyue shoes with red and blue double hooks, yellow vulcanized outsole and white canvas upper have thus become the "national shoes" in the memory of a generation.


Downturn Stage

After the mid-1980s, the Shanghai Rubber Industry Company began to restructure to manufacture more tires due to the high profit and simple process, tires have gradually become Dafu's main business, while the rubber shoe business has been marginalized.

1992, Dafu Rubber General Factory and Shanghai Culture & Sports Import & Export Co., Ltd. jointly established Shanghai TopOne Shoes Co., Ltd. and relocated the rubber shoe business. Five years later, Dafu withdrew its shares, and TopOne took over 306 shoe-making workers from Dafu. In exchange, Dafu authorized Dafu to use the "Feiyue" trademark until 2013. TopOne Feiyue shoes keep the classic style unchanged, but replaced with the self-applied "Top One" diamond-shaped trademark. Relying on the huge wholesaler channel, "TopOne Feiyue" distributes a large number of goods at low prices, while "Dafu Feiyue" almost disappeared from the market. With the wave of market economy and globalization swept in, the leap that once had a market monopoly has been hit a lot. Decades of outdated designs make Feiyue gradually forgotten by young people who love to follow trends. Even because of the flood of counterfeit products on the market, "poor quality" and "low price" have become synonymous with Feiyue shoes for a period of time in the future.


Turning Point

In 2005, Frenchman Patrice Bastian lived in Shanghai. This avid sneaker collector immediately fell in love with this classic "little white shoe" when he signed up for a martial arts class to learn martial arts. For him, who has loved to collect all kinds of classic sneakers since he was a child, the leap made his eyes shine, and he had the idea of bringing it back to France for development.

After conceiving a series of transformation plans for "Feiyue", Patrice went to the then Feiyue manufacturer, TopOne Shoe Factory, and applied to become an overseas agent of Feiyue. Dabowen verbally agreed to his request and got the The trademark authorization of "FEIYUE" then started the "reform" of Feiyue.


The End Game of Dafu Feiyue

Due to the requirements of municipal planning, Dafu moved the factory in the early 21st century, and the tire business was transferred to a tire factory. Dafu finally went out of business in 2005 due to poor management.




But this is not the end, but a new page has just began…


Resurrections of Feiyue – Reform, Improve, Redesign

After the original Dafu went out of business, two master craftsmen (Mr. Liu W.S. and Mr. Liu Q.L.) from Dafu  - registered and established a new Dafu Rubber Co., Ltd., which is privately owned and still produced by Shenglong Shoes. The current situation is that Shenglong Footwear has not made much shoes since the 1990s. Consumers only know about "TopOne Feiyue" but not "Dafu Feiyue". Suppliers and distributors need to expand again. 

After the news of the Feiyue in France appeared, the New Dafu Feiyui in China immediately contacted the Bastian team (the Frenchmen) to discuss the repurchase of the trademark. Unfortunately, the original TopOne Feiyue was discontinued in 2006, and Dafu Feiyue lost the key evidence that TopOne Feiyue allowed the Bastian team to export, and finally lost the case. The French Feiyue gave a wake-up call to Dafu Feiyue to think about how to live better in the future.

At this time, a China marketing firm called “Culture Matters, aka CM) comes in and found Dafu Feiyue in Shanghai and who wanted to rebrand Dafu Feiyue with the two craftsmen (Mr. Liu). CM thought rebranding involves changes in production lines, these old-fashioned domestic brands are either very conservative or have cumbersome processes, but Mr. Liu was willing to let go to embrace the change and let Feiyue to Leap again!

Since then, CM has become the most special distributor of Dafu Feiyue. CM is not only responsible for laying out channels and selling goods, but also covering design and development, and most importantly, brand and market functions.

At first, Dafu Feiyie only made little change based on the classic Feiyue shoes in 2007. The second edition of classic Feiyue shoes was launched in 2009. A layer of sponge pad is added to the inner lining of the outsole, the canvas has been improved, and the shoe shape is straight; the chubby toe has become slightly pointed, and the upper foot is slender and delicate. The improvement is based on the visual requirements of young people. Iconic designs such as curved toe caps, sole dots, heels with climbing technology, and double hook patterns have been retained and become the basic elements of most fashion models in the future.

In addition to improving the classic models, Dafu and CM designed more than 30 fashion models in 2009, which is the first time in the history of Feiyue. At present, after the design of the CM team, Feiyue has five series of about 15 sub-series, 200+SKU, and has 35 stores in Shanghai, except for classic models, improved models, travel lines, boutique lines, cooperation models, and artist hand-painted custom lines. 30% of the classic models are the best-sellers of Dafu, and there are also limited editions that can only be bought in stores. Compared with other cities, Feiyue, as a street culture, has been tightly bound to Shanghai. In Tian Bo’s view, wearing Feiyue is a must. The streets of Shanghai are not so much catching up with the trend, but more like a local way of life. Therefore, their positioning of Feiyue is not a trendy shoe, but a basic item of life.


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