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Mr. X at Muxiyuan

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I never know who I might run into at a shirting shop. Xander Zhou (also here) shouldn’t need much introduction to viewers of Stylites. Among the most well-known Beijing-based menswear designers, Xander studied in the Netherlands and his brand sells internationally. For more information about him check out JC Report, an interview with him at Dazed Digital, and a Time Out London piece on “Beijing Heroes” where Xander ranks with Ai Weiwei and Gia (also been on stylites).

Oil, Econ and Rock ‘n’ Roll

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Mylène Chen is an economist at Shell China Exploration and Production Co. Ltd. On the side, she sings for a rock band. Only 22, she speaks English and French, perhaps taking her name from France’s answer to Madonna. It’s funny because, in one of their constant comparisons of China with “developed” countries, several Beijingers have remarked to me that youngsters here have far fewer hobbies than their counterparts in the West. They do face far more constraints in the forms of huge loads of schoolwork and pressure from family, but I think that many people I meet in Beijing do a pretty good job in surmounting these.

Xidan Hair Stylists

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These hair stylists stand outside the malls of Xidan all winter long, waylaying unsuspecting passersby, attempting to drag them in for a cut. They insist that the potential victim’s hair looks terrible and that they can do a better job – or perhaps it is just my hairdo that is particularly dreadful. Even if it is, I’m not sure that I would trust them to make it alright.

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These guys are particularly aggressive with females. They will corner unattached girls, getting really close to them, and talk to them for as long as possible, even following them. I don’t think it is mean-spirited or with definite ill-intent, but it certainly would make me uncomfortable if I were one of the targets.

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I like the rock and roll look of this guy. I think it is important to realize that Stylites is a record. Much of the time this is an anthropological exercise rather than an aesthetic one. I’m not deliberately attempting to provide style inspirations or examples of refined taste. The attempt is to document the development of style and fashion on the of Beijingers – to show the style landscape, as it were. So if the people photographed are rookies in the world of style or global fashion, then that is what will be here. I’m going to be putting up a full mission statement soon, that will pick up on these ideas.

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This guy was trying to help me find other people to photograph, though that might have been yet another ploy to talk to girls.