The profile of China’s fashion industry continues to rise. Entrepreneurs and innovators are creating fashion brands that have a very contemporary take on luxury design. Zhefeng Dong is one of a new generation of Chinese businessmen looking to make a mark on 21st century fashion. The 46-year old entrepreneur founded Milalio more than 15 years ago, starting as a wholesale knitwear supplier but gradually improving and increasing the quality of its fine wool and cashmere. Today, it is a major supplier of high-end knitwear. Dong describes himself as a “combination of idealism and perfectionism”, attributing his business success to determination and persistence.
When it comes to cars, he is a fervent admirer of Aston Martin. Indeed, his ultimate vision for Milalio is to develop its brand identity to a point where it approaches. Aston Martin’s level of global awareness. His hobbies include driving — naturally — as well as photography. He first encountered the brand at the Shanghai Auto Show. “I saw the original DBS there,” he says. “I was drawn to the lines of the car’s design; so different to traditional styles. It was the dream car I was looking for. So, I then made up my mind to own an Aston Martin.” Now the proud owner of a Vanquish Volante, Dong says the car sums up his desire for “elegance, beauty and an intensely British style”. “I use it during my leisure time just for the pleasure of driving,” he says, “although sometimes it stays in the company car park as a work of art on display.”
For now, the Vanquish Volante remains his favourite contemporary Aston Martin, although he also admires the lines of the DB5. Dong believes that Aston Martin is undergoing a bold and necessary evolution. “During its ‘second century’, led by Andy Palmer, Aston Martin has entered an era of rapid development,” he muses. “With revolutionary products and designs, and its success in motor racing, Aston Martin demonstrates it can progress with a focus on performance and model diversification.
This is something that I, as an Aston Martin fan, hope to see.” The company’s image of low-key elegance and enduring beauty clearly resonates with the businessman. “When a product combines beauty, performance and brand recognition, it must be perfect,” he says.
When a product combines beauty, performance and brand recognition, it must be perfect
Above all, his Vanquish Volante provides him with exceptional driving pleasure. “Last year, my ultimate experience was a trip through the Daocheng Yading Plateau, on The Aston Martin China Serenity Journey 2017,” he recalls. “The car had perfect control on the winding roads, as well as comfort for the long-distance journey. The plateau lies at more than 4,000m above sea level, so, the car’s performance on the extreme road conditions was really impressive.”
Dong hopes for more opportunities to explore China in his Aston Martin.
“I really enjoy driving along roads by the sea in coastal cities with the hood down and the wind blowing. It makes for a very satisfying way of life.’