“Gigi Hadid for President” will, with luck, be plastered across the land not long after the larger-than-life model and super influencer turns 35. Sadly the arabesque beauty (22) is too young run in 2020 against Trump, a figure not altogether dissimilar to herself. Not showing up to her own party at the Victoria’s Event in Shanghai is sexy. I’m with her. There’s more here, but she was denied a visa, seemingly due to some good old-fashioned squinty eyes stuff. A singer named Kate Perry also wasn’t allowed in due to some unfortunate antics in Taiwan.
The photo below is delightful. What an inclusive message! Zoroastrians are left out as usual and are Mormons really Christians? They should have been mentioned, but I like the joy-filled, instagram-worthy smile.
I’ve enjoyed all the controversy around the Victoria’s Secret thing here in Shanghai (Bloomberg has more). It could have been just a slightly tacky commercial event for mass consumption from a tired brand hawking unmemorable lingerie in a market where the size of need is obviously questionable. Princess Gigi made it something I care about. One has to appreciate her blend of hypocrisy and unearned status, though I’m not sure this is the type of hereditary elite I was hoping would define our new era of yawning inequality.
She’s not just another pretty face who made it through boring old good looks and hard work, but rather this icon of our times is famous for being related to people who are famous for being famous. We should be yelling “Gigi Hadid for President!” at the next rally. As for Victoria’s Secret, serious minds will finally notice it – this wasn’t just another party with free champagne and an unmemorable fashion show. It’s appropriate that a brand bringing decadent, overly sexualized, products within reach for the varletry would be helping Western civilization go out with a splash. It’s almost as if they have the same PR Director in Asia as Trump and it’s a coordinated strategy.
I wasn’t invited to the party, but at least I can claim to have been in the same city at this seminal moment. I was probably having a slightly botched cocktail at the time and maybe even thinking vacuous thoughts to match the tenor of the botched event itself. Actually turning up tends to cloud objectivity and, from my laptop, I can see the real takeaway is “Gigi Hadid for President”!
Photos by Brandon McGhee
Pawnstar is very happy to have received a decent amount of coverage for our new shop on Fuxing and Fenyang roads. The photos here were taken by photographer Brandon McGhee and featured on SmartShanghai, one of the leading sites that caters to expats here.
Sarah Boorboor wrote the piece in SmartShanghai and included this delightful quote by me:
“…a rising middle class, who not only have disposable income, but have traveled and want to try new things. There’s also a growing desire for unique product, stuff that other people can’t get. In addition to changes in Shanghai, Pawnstar’s online platforms are able to reach 3rd and 4th tier cities, where access to brand clothes at consignment prices is a rarity. And there’s always the desire for designer goods at a discounted price.”
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.
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.
Stylites has documented Chinese street style, from the Beijing hutongs to Shanghai Fashion Week. Now I’m fusing the Chinese street fashion of Stylites, what has been one of the most popular Chinese fashion blogs, with Pawnstar, my online platform and secondhand shop in the French Concession of Shanghai that features vintage, designer consignment and unique upcycling.
The most interesting part about Pawnstar is the customers. They live throughout China and are pioneers, since until recently only the poor wore secondhand fashion. It was even called dead people’s clothing.
China will soon be the largest consumer market in the world. Hopefully, Pawnstar will encourage more people in China to re-use and recycle fashion items.
Here is an article I wrote for Cobo Social on “GET A LIFE!” with Vivienne Westwood that will run from December 20, 2016 to February 28, 2017 at Shanghai’s K11 Art Mall, the brainchild of Adrien Cheng. The exhibit pulls together a great body of Westwood’s activism related output and links it with works by Chinese artists curated by Song Zhenxi of the K11 Art Foundation.
As you will see if you read my article, the overwhelming focus of this is on climate change, a topic quite relevant in a city like Shanghai that sits close to the sea and at a very low elevation.
Another perspective by Jing Zhang of the South China Morning Post, Jessica Rapp from the Jing Daily, and some basic info on Adrien Cheng at the Art Newspaper.
An interview with me focusing on Stylites at elitesem.com as part of their expert interview series. Elitesem is a marketing company with HR practices that seem very attractive, including flex-time and salary transparency. This article from entrepreneur.com has some interesting elite SEM This company is ranked No. 1 in our large-company category on our Top Company Cultures list.
This focuses mostly on Stylites as a Chinese street fashion blog and my endeavors as a consultant and doesn’t really touch on my latest ventures related to shopping in Shanghai and eco fashion.
Above, Fashion Blogger Yanie Durocher wears an item she found at Pawnstar’s shop in the Clement Apartments, the heart of Shanghai’s French Concession.
The ever-style Yanie Durocher’s shoot and interview with Marie Claire Italia (in Italian) that happened on her last trip to Milan. See the companion piece on her blog, The Marginalist, here, Yanie as Fashionista in the Shanghai edition of City Weekend, an interview on That’s Shanghai, her PR Agency, and here is the piece that she wrote on fashionstatement.asia.
A lot of people have been asking about schedules for Shanghai Fashion Week 2016, taking place roughly from Oct. 12 to 19, and the various associated trade fairs. There will be a Pawnstar display at MODE Shanghai Fashion Trade Show and I am likely to stop by The HUB at Super Brand Mall. Greencode is a eco-fashion focused event at Lane Crawford, some of which I will attend.
Shanghai Fashion Week is always a festival of street style. WWD did this feature, which is quite fun.
Click below to see the official schedules.
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.
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.
In association with 700Bike, Pawnstar has launched a vintage exhibition at Shanghai’s American Rag Cie flagship store at Crystal Galleria, near Jingan temple.
The idea here is that you can either rent clothing for the tweed run on Nov. 22 or buy the clothes outright.
See more pictures below.
DF photography Ltd., Model: Felzing Nadya
In a notable example of tech meeting fashion, Hong Kong designer Markus Fung Qihao has developed a garment that projects human emotions onto the wearer’s body as colors through the use of 3D printing and BCI technology. By utilizing an EEG device, the wearer can digitalize brainwaves into different signals and converts them into an array of colors simultaneously as the wearer shifts through different environments.
For anyone who might be worried that the Chinese economy is slowing or that domestic consumption cannot being to take the place of exports or investment, a visit to Yo’hood would be the perfect cure. This was the third edition this massive event has the setup of the trade fair, but is really more consumer-oriented. There may be no better venue do you have a look at a wide swath of cool youth and all of the things that brands large and small are doing to attract their renminbi.
The organizing company, Yoho, started as a magazine focused on youth fashion and street fashion around ten years ago and was founded by Chao Liang, a native of Nanjing, who was just out of college at the time. What has emerged in the last few years is a behemoth that is far more than just a media platform or a e-commerce site. The Yoho of today is a social and commercial phenomenon that is proving that street culture can become supremely popular for teens and 20 somethings in China today.
When I was leaving at around 2 PM, there were already a few thousand people in a line that stretched several hundred meters, but according to exhibitors I spoke to, the lines were even bigger on Saturday. Some said they went for over a kilometer. Even when I was there, on Sunday morning, the crowds of youth in trucker hats and cleverly logoed tee-shirts, tattooed beauties, freebies, pop concerts and pumping hip-hop, collaborations of every type conceivable between brand, street artist, and celebrity, and still tons and tons of neoprene everywhere nearly gave me a seizure and I had to leave before I probably should have.
My old friend Sam Lee (Li Mengxia-李孟夏) came by the American Rag store yesterday and took some photos. He is the Director of Art Beijing.
Here are his weibo and a photo I took of him for Stylites the first time we met six years ago.