The Pawnstar booth at The HUB had a few rather fun highlights.
I think the one to start with is the facade of the former Lafayette Theater, designed by Shanghai’s most famous architect, Hungarian László Hudec. From my perspective, it’s unfortunate that the interior of the building did not preserve any sort of period detailing. It was a gut renovation.
In addition to quite an impressive assortment of sponsors, the Pawnstar first year anniversary party had a great body-painting artist who wrote in very stylized versions of the worlds “Pawnstar”, “Re-love” and “Re-use”.
Above is Shen Tian, one of the leading designers focused on upcycling in China and a key Pawnstar collaborator.
Click to see more photos.
Here is the Bifu by Chen Xing pop-up being set-up.
And some photos from his latest fashion shoot. Chen Xing is taking off this time as he again brings a chic pop-up lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel Beijing. The fashion show for his latest collection will also be the first event on Opus Terrace this year. It will be taking place on April 9.
Above is a dress by Haus of MoHawk (Ireland) currently displayed at the Four Seasons Hotel Beijing as part of a special exhibition of designer pieces that appeared at London Fashion Week in a show by House of iKons. Click to see more pictures and the press release.
Some coverage of the recent pop-up Zamani x Rechenberg pop-up at the Four Seasons includes this interview with founder Matin Zaman from Jing Daily. Matin explains that Chinese are just now getting into having a nice space to live in. He also notes that “people don’t like the rugs that are used in China. People like brand new things. Therefore, in our exhibition we’ve been more successful with the modern pieces,” and that his role is to educate on the “difference between hand-spun wool and machine-spun wool, or what’s the difference between chemical dye and natural dye, or what’s the difference between doing a double knot and single knot” so that people understand why they are paying so much.
Coverage of the pop-up also appeared in the Beijinger as well as here and here.
Together with House of Ikons, the Four Seasons Hotel present an opportunity for Beijing-based fashion designers to explore the possibility of participating in London Fashion Week. If you’re interested in learning more througb speaking with House of Ikons founder Savita Kaye, stop by the hotel on Friday afternoon!
This is part of an exhibition that will be in the hotel from March 23 till 31 that showcases some of the gowns and shows that House of Ikons brought to London Fashion Week over the past year.
Click more for the details.
Literally on top of the Xintiandi subway exit sits the former Lafayette Cinema, which will be the new venue for The HUB, Asia’s leading premium fashion trade fair.
This truly fantastic venue is now called the Art & Design Centre, at 323 Middle Fuxing Road. This is definitely the most beautiful large-scale venue in the Xintiandi region. One of László Hudec’s masterpieces, the building first opened in 1933 and was renovated again in recent years and has played host to quite a few fashion events, including one by Louis Vuitton, and was also the site for the Kick the Gong Around market in 2014. The HUB will be happening there from April 9 to 11, the same time as Shanghai Fashion Week.
In her Jing Daily column, the most famous KOL and media figure of all, Hong Huang seems to suggest that we temper our enthusiasm, pointing out that “KOLs can buy fans as well as create fake numbers of readership, just as easily as print can lie about circulation”. She suggests that customers are getting more sophisticated and less materialistic. Brands need to really represent something deeper and more meaningful if they are to succeed. I would say the same about KOLs. Their anodyne spirit, obsession with taking photos of themselves, and fixation on the latest trends hopefully will make them a trend that passes quickly. People might appreciate them more if they represented something bigger than their latest outfit.
As we try to seek out a direction in the field of upcycling fashion that makes sense for Pawnstar, I have poured through the China fashion blogs, eco-fashion related websites, pinterest etc. to get an idea for what is already happening in this field. I thought I would share some of what I found related to designers and others in China that are using leftover factory fabrics waste, bamboo, discarded clothing, as well as recycled and sustainably sourced materials to create new fashions.
Click below to see some of the sites that I’ve found.
I do get out of China on occasion. The At Pingnakorn Huaykaew, in Chiang Mai, is one of the more eccentric hotels I’ve visited.
You can book a room here. The hotel was completely undecipherable in its style and age, so I was both surprised and unsurprised to find out that it was built only two years ago.
At fashion parties in Beijing or on terraces of art deco apartments in Shanghai, people often ask what became of Stylites. This site is still known as the first street style blog, mostly about hipsters in the Beijing hutongs. But I haven’t photographed the style tribes of China for a while, though friends and fashionistas say I should have continue. Maybe I got tired of it. Maybe the subject of China and style is too overhyped with the myriad local fashion designers, KOLs, and platforms that promote them. The freestanding blog also seems less viable in the age of mobile everything and social media: wechat and instagram trumped blogs like stylites. I didn’t come up with a way to truly capitalize on Stylites when it was most publicized around 2009. Now there’s no way to compete with the influence of the mega-KOLs such as Gogoboi, Leaf Greener, Peter Xu, etc., etc.
Stylites now contains a record of all the projects on which I’m working. And that’s exactly it. Here you can find information on the pop-ups that I’ve been doing at the Four Seasons Hotel Beijing – click on Stylites Projects to the right and this intro to the pop-up program from the Four Seasons site as well as their pinterest board – as well as what I’ve done for other clients like American Rag Cie and The HUB. The project that perhaps most excites me at the moment is something else though, something that I have found challenging to explain here.
Pawnstar is a project that I have been working on in China with my wife. For me, it’s about doing a business that relates to fashion but at the same addresses the frustration I get from being involved with fashion. What bothers me is the waste produced by the fashion industry and its numbing seasonal fashion cycle. Being surrounded by people who seem to revel in this addiction to change and newness feels very much at odds with my values. I needed to do something with a more eco or puritanical dimension to it. This has led me to move toward a business focused on secondhand, consignment and resale. This business is now called Pawnstar but it remains in the research and trial period.
I had the opportunity to see the showroom of Woopin, the Beijing design studio that organized one of the most attractive pop-ups that has appeared at the Four Seasons. Their pop-up was in September and October last year and became one of the major destinations during Beijing Design Week.
Stylites presents Kee Atelier at Shanghai’s famous Kee Club on Huaihai Road. This three day pop-up event will bring some of the top designers from China and beyond to what may be the most beautiful private club in Asia, which is set in twin 1920s grand stone villas, which are practically a palace.
The first event this weekend will pair Shanghai and Beijing based Yiwen Studio with Cerrito, a collection of vintage new oldstock jewelry from Rhode Island.
This installation at the Four Seasons Hotel Beijing is particularly special for me because my father my father, Richard Frye, was a professor of Iranian history and I grew up surrounded by rugs at home. When my mother, Eden Naby, and her family immigrated to the United States they sold their land in Iran and used the money to buy rugs, which they shipped their new home. Some of these they sold, using the proceeds to purchase their first house in the Philadelphia. Others of these rugs are still with my family today.
This heritage made me especially happy to work with Zamani Collection to put together the pop-up that will be at the hotel for the rest of this month and early February. Continue reading
Anyone critical of all the hoopla over Bowie’s death should consider that 60s and 70s rockstars were quite similar to Greek gods in terms of their lifestyle and the cults of personality. Bowie was and will always be the maximum in terms of decadence, style, creativity, and freedom from norms. It’s not surprising that with the passing of the top deity, all of the believers are experiencing a bit of disbelief.
Here are my selections for his top songs:
Life on Mars