The Xiamen Gang sounds a little like the Antwerp Six. Xiamen is becoming the third major city in China for fashion – at least for more independent designers, like Vega Wang, who moved their to escape the horrendous lifestyle of Beijing. More about this and other members of the “Xiamen gang” in this New York Times article.
The Elle Editor-in-Chief, now CEO, of Elle Xiao Xue explains that brand value still matters most even in the age of digital in this Jing Daily piece.
Fast Company discusses how fashion is becoming more ethical and sustainable here in China with looks at the businesses of Anna Lecat of Les Lunes and nods to the efforts of Grana, Ellie Kai, Everlane, and Caraa to produce more sustainably here. Benjamin Cavender, a principal at the China Market Research Group, explains that, unsurprisingly, automation plays a part.
Above Zhang Zilin wears upcycled earrings from Pawnstar while at a photo shoot. Zilin (age 33) has become one of the most famous actresses in China from a start on the runways of major fashion capitals like Paris and Berlin, followed by winning Miss China World and Miss World in 2007. She has starred in Underdog Knight 2 and The Monkey King.
You can see some examples of upcycling from Pawnstar here.
A rather comprehensive interview of Zhang in the Luxury Insider shows her to be sweet, humble, and well-bred. She comes from quite a good Beijing background with a father in the military and a mother who was a professor. This is her instagram.
Here are some of my thoughts about this event:
China and Japan have had different encounters with Western fashion. That’s not to say that there are more differences than similarities but, when we consider how related these two cultures are, the vastly contrasting experiences with modernity and the West seem poignant. Without delving too much into this, let us just say that the Japanese experience of things Western commenced rather suddenly and with great intensity when in 1870 the Meiji emperor cut his hair short and adopted European-inspired military attire. The next period of great Western influence came with the American occupation. China has interacted with Western styles in its own ways but none matches the sometimes tumultuous but usually rather dedicated love affair the Japanese have had with American style, especially since the 1950s.
Ametora means “American traditional” and started in the ’80s in Japan. It refers to collegiate American East Coast or what we usually call Preppy. “Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style” is also the title of a book by Tokyo-based W. David Marx that delves into the cultural history of Japanese menswear.
David will be at our shop, Pawnstar, tomorrow (Saturday 4/22) at 5:00pm to sign copies of his book and talk about Japanese dandy style and how it preserved and shaped American preppy.
The address of Pawnstar is Room 104, Bldg. 1, The Clement Apartments 1363 Fuxing Zhong Lu,Xuhui district 徐汇区复兴中路1363弄克莱门公寓1号楼104室
The Wukang Mansion, formerly called the Normandie Apartments, is probably one of the most recognizable buildings of Shanghai’s French Concession. Built to commemorate the Normandie, a World War I-era battleship, the building is supposed to look like a ship and it seems to sail triumphantly toward drivers approaching down Huaihai Road from the West. When the building was completed around 1924, this would have been near the very Western edge of the city – practically in the suburbs.
The French Concession is one of the only neighborhoods in China that blends old and new. It is the 1% of the Shanghai metropolitan region that is not part of the seemingly never-ending sea of 100 meter tall modern housing blocks. Here is more about it. This post will be the first in a series that shows photos of the neighborhood around Pawnstar’s shop in the Clement Apartments.
Above are the Astrid Apartments, by Russian architect Alexander I. Yaron, and completed in 1934. This eight story art deco materpiece is on the corner of Maoming Road & Nanchang Road (more photos on this Shanghai Art Deco Site).
Pawnstar’s in-house designer for upcycling projects, Shen Tian, took this photo. It could have been on a mood board for some of the work that she creates.
Time Out Shanghai asked me to come up with the trends for Spring 2017 that I like and don’t like:
Here are “like”:
1. Volume will…continue to be big in Spring 2017 with the rejection of skintight jeans and super slim reaching the mainstream and even convincing men to return to pleats and more billowy styles such as slouchy trousers, that are more comfortable in hot weather anyway.
2. Rejecting the new global realities, the resurgence of activism and punk will gain steam as girls become bad girls, as seen from the Mark Jacobs show to the ample British punk references and a predominance of rippedness, mixed messages, and bondage and such.
3. Men will continue to become more dapper on the streets of Shanghai and Beijing as the multiple benefits of seeming well put together are discovered, the proliferation of local bespoke tailors achieve more and more success and the benefits of technology and social media for customization are utilized.
Here is the designer of Pawnstar’s upcycling collection, Nisa, nearby her home in Changbaishan, Liaoning province. She was home for the holidays but says she would never consider living there because the people tend to be a bit rude and she doesn’t like skiing that much anyway. There is, however, a Park Hyatt in Changbaishan.
Upcycling is a big deal at Pawnstar. There is now a dedicated workshop on the second floor of our showroom at the Clement Apartments. You can see more creations here.