Tagged: Beijing tailors

Senli and Frye in Chinese

It’s almost amusing that only now are finally providing a Chinese translation of the introduction to Senli and Frye. My tailorshop, Senli and Frye, has long been focused on foreigners living in Beijing and sometimes those coming through who then order our wares long-distance. We have never really targeted the Chinese market. The notion was always that there are not enough of Chinese with an appreciation for custom suiting. Most of them would prefer to buy a recognized name for suiting like Ermenegildo Zegna or Armani, feeling confident that with names like that, one cannot go wrong. Spending on luxury has, after all, been mostly about status and face and not so much about appearing stylish or even adhering to standards of Western business attire that are, in the end, Western in origin and not necessarily well understood.

Recently, it has become clear that the Chinese consumer has made it in terms of style maturity. Beijingers and Shanghaiers are increasingly cosmopolitan and the constant barrage of mega-brand marketing has brought a degree of fatigue. They don’t want to see more of the same and keep getting treated like reservoirs of cash waiting to be tapped. At the same time, the local customer does care a great deal about his image – much more than the average American and probably as much as most Europeans. Unlike their American counterparts who seem to have absolutely no problem showing up in shorts or sweat pants at Five Star hotels or fancy bars, Chinese men are eager to learn and maintain standards of decorum. They don’t want to look like badly-dressed buffoons. The days of the proverbial Shanxi coal baron bounding into an Armani and spending a million RMB on 30 suits that don’t fit are long gone.

The other trend that favors us is that men around the world have been looking to upgrade their style and the direction these days tends to be be more traditionalist. Quality, customization, and permanent style are the values espoused by the current set of sartorialists, who reject the flashy designer trendwear and slickness of the metrosexual. This is part of the wider move toward all that is artisanal and authentic – and, yes, I realize those words have become quite irksome. China is aggressive in its ability to keep up with the zeitgeist, and the new men are these trends.

So this is our chance to enter as a contender for the rising Chinese gentleman looking to get a better fit for his suits, overcoats, and shirts. We are hoping to soon offer a full range of products including pocket square, ties, shoe polish, and, hopefully, shoes.

Archive – February 2007

Jefen and Wu Yong to show in Paris [ edit ]

February 15 2007 (01:48:00) US/Pacific ( 2 views )

This blog entry at fashionwindows.com introduces Frankie Xie and Ma Ke, two Chinese designers who will be showing in Paris this February 25:
http://blog.fashionwindows.com/index.php/2007/02/14/paris/

The intersting thing is that I will be in Paris on that day. Hmmmm.

The website for Jefen, Frankie Xie’s label is:

http://www.jefen.com/

They have five shops here Beijing, which I might investigate at some point.

Comments

Hi, i like how ur blog documents fashion in China. Is it possible that u start doing something like the SATORIALIST? Like when u see something interesting(even in a nasty way), u put it on ur blog? Because every major city got its own fashion blog except china. it would be interesting for China to have a voice in the net. have a nice day.
Posted by Ah Sir on 02/20/2007 07:45:01 PM

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Exuberance and Disaster [ edit ]

February 13 2007 (11:37:00) US/Pacific ( 2 views )

Spirits are high. Prospects are good. Investments are sizzling. Surroundings are beauty. One drinks to celebrate.

Spirits are in the dumps. Hope is gone. Life is mortgaged. Concrete and pollution surrounds. One drinks to get through.

There is also a new aristocracy that drinks all day, while concluding deals and discussing eros. Drinking is their profession.

How many one-liners and half-misunderstood ideas did I just fuse?

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Fakes [ edit ]

February 13 2007 (10:49:00) US/Pacific ( 2 views )

More on fakes:

http://ca.today.reuters.com/news/NewsArticle.aspx?type=oddlyEnoughNews&storyID=uri:2007-02-12T155222Z_01_N01271663_RTRIDST_0_LIFESTYLE-LIFE-FASHION-COUNTERFEIT-COL.XML&pageNumber=0&summit=

I can understand buying a fake when there is no other choice: that is often the case here in China. However, I’ve never understood buying things where you can tell the brand immediately, whether it is fake or real. Any product which inspires the question “is it real or a fake?” is off limits to people hoping to be stylish.

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A New Opportunity [ edit ]

February 13 2007 (10:39:00) US/Pacific ( 3 views )

Archive - February 2007 louisvuittoncar
A marriage of two forms of consumption loved in China.

Archive - February 2007

Somebody has gotta do this.

LV pattern:

Condoms

Orange Peels in plush clubs

Cellphones, Blackberries

Laptops

Ipods

Contacts

Calculators

Toilet Seats

Refrigerators

Microwaves

Vacuum Cleaners

Pez Dispensers

Pads

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Chinese Cities – No Break with the Past [ edit ]

February 12 2007 (03:58:00) US/Pacific ( 2 views )

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Tiantong Xiyuan Third District South, Changping District, Beijing – Sze Tsung Leong

Another new interest I have is in architecture and city planning. This famous quote explains why the way Chinese cities now develop is not revolutionary at all:

“One of the most important historical characteristics of cities in China is continuity with the past—an aspect reflected in the urban patterns and layouts that have remained, in their many incarnations over the centuries, relatively unchanging. Despite the common view that present-day Chinese cities constitute a break with the past, they are still consistent with three historical patterns that have defined urban change in China: large-scale destruction and replacement of urban fabrics to inaugurate changes of emperors or dynasties; massive relocations of populations; and highly planned urban configurations enabled by centralized and unchallenged forms of authority. These traditions underly the shape and nature of the contemporary Chinese city.”

“The persistence of these traditions is possible only in a nation and society that has historically been steered by absolute forms of power. Only by acting as vehicles of these forms of power can urban and architectural development undergo processes that are by now commonplace – demolishing, relocating, wiping clean, and starting anew – all on a magnitude that affects not just individuals, but populations. Concentrated authority gave shape to cities such as traditional Beijing. It also wiped them clean, accommodating a new society in the form of luxury apartment complexes, office towers, and shopping centers. Power today may not exist in the singular form of an Emperor or a Chairman, but it is managed and exercised with enough strength to channel the possibilities for urban experience, and to choose which urban traditions to preserve.”

-Sze Tsung Leong, a Photographer of Historical Images, Urban Scenes, etc.

One always thinks they are just ripping things up and replacing the old with the garish new beyond any rhyme or reason, but here we see that it actually is the traditional thing to do.

Comments

very interesting indeed.
Posted by Pescatore on 02/13/2007 03:29:30 AM

I appreciate that, Pescatore
Posted by stylites on 02/13/2007 10:24:27 AM

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Careful [ edit ]

February 07 2007 (03:13:00) US/Pacific ( 2 views )

In January, the Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce said that global fashion brands such as Armani, Dior and Zara may be forced to halt sales of some garments in China due to quality and health issues.

Foreign companies are always under closer scrutiny. At worst, the government might be acting in this way to protect market share of domestic competitors. At best, one of the few areas the media is allowed complete freedom is in exposing the wrongs of foreign companies.

Comments

Of course the People’s Republic of Ingroup/Outgroup encourages criticism of all those big bad MNCs who are forcing their inefficient underpaying uncreative local businesses to actually have to compete. How appalling. Ha ha only serious
Posted by Pescatore on 02/08/2007 03:55:51 AM

Hehe…apparently Mango was lying about fabric content – picking up some local techniques it would seem. But to be fair they have done tests in the west that found many fabric content labels do overstate cashmere content or threat count.
Posted by stylites on 02/08/2007 04:01:27 AM

Which luxury Chinese brands are the authorities trying to protect from foreign competition?? I don’t think protectionism is at the heart of the issue here…xenophobic bureaucrats just like to flex their muscles when they can because they can…
Posted by Lincoln Annecam on 02/08/2007 04:08:00 AM

While your statement about xenophic bureaucrats is on target and that is probably the reason here, there are several small Chinese luxury brands and chainstores that they are trying to nurture. Off the top of my head, there is Jefen and if you can scroll down to see the report on Cabbeen, which has 300 boutiques throughout the country. In any case, there have numerous articles saying that China wants to move from just producing to designing apparel with its own brands.
Posted by stylites on 02/08/2007 05:50:30 AM

Chinese luxury brands, with an emphasis on ‘Chinese’, which means they don’t compete with established international juggernauts like Armani and co, and probably won’t for decades if they ever do. And of course China wants to move up the value chain (since when has wealth creation/accumulation ceased being a national aspiration?) but if xenophobic bureaucrats, in their warped minds, think that giving foreign brands a hard time is a means to that end, I think you’d agree that they’ve sadly deluded themselves.
Posted by Lincoln Annecam on 02/09/2007 07:42:14 AM

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If you work from home and want a discount… [ edit ]

February 07 2007 (02:39:00) US/Pacific ( 2 views )

Archive - February 2007 businessbib

The new “business bib” is for conference calls from home where your boss can only see the upper half of your body. Our bespoke version is priced at 65% of the cost of our standard suits. I wouldn’t call this suit “versatile”. For more information: http://www.luxist.com/2006/09/17/the-business-bib/

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We bring Milan, Paris, and New York to Beijing [ edit ]

February 07 2007 (02:34:00) US/Pacific ( 4 views )

I’ve been delaying this for some time due to a heavy workload. Below are some interesting looks from the Fall ’07 collections that we would like to recreate for you:

Lacoste

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I like the jacket and Frenchness of the outfit.

John Varvatos

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I enoy the full trousers and the slim scarf. This would be perfect in the heavy English wools that are our specialty. By the way, you should see the scarf Yuanyuan is knitting me from Italian yarn. Just a reminder: Beijing’s best custom hand-knit scarves.

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Gucci

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The model looks a bit questionable, but I love the skinny checked suit, even though it is double-breasted and you should never walk around with a double-breasted suit unbuttoned. It’s interesting to note that not a single client has ordered a double-breasted suit. Medium and light grays have been “in” for a couple winters. They are so much soothing and fresh-feeling than black. Or I should say: black is appropriate at evening while light gray is a truly versatile color. I have noticed that many young men in China view this shade of gray as suitable only for older people, but I think black is already played out for the young. Light gray seems to make an older man’s face fade a bit, especially if his hair is also gray.
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These updated Tyrolean jackets are nice, especially in the colors chosen by Frida Giannini, now designing menswear at Gucci.. With the oversexed days of Tom Ford in the past, we can see this label emerging as a constant reinventor of Mediterranean style. This winter took us on vacation in the Alps – a skiing trip for a Roman dandy.

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It’s sad that this label is so over-hyped and mainstream because the style options it is starting to present are fresh alternatives for the sartorially inclined gentleman. These are stylish revisions of classics that could actually be worn every day (thank goodness she didn’t seek to revisit lederhosen).

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Ignore the bag. I must find a medium weight tweed in this color.

Valentino

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This seems like nothing special: a slim, peaked-lapel, one-button suit. We have created suits in this style to great effect. Everyone probably knows that this is the cutting-edge shape for a suit currently. And yet…and yet…something about the color and the texture of the fabric makes this very desirable. Valentino’s color palette made heavy use of this shade of gray.

Light to medium grays could be both good and bad for Beijing. Good because they show dirt and dust less than either white and khaki or black and navy. Bad because you might blend in too much with the air – not enough contrast. Hmmm, dressing to match the pollution – would this signal a final resignation to live contentedly in this moonscape?

Rag and Bone

I would like to draw your attention to some coats showed by this US label:

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These casual wool jackets would be perfect in the Chinese and English tweeds that we offer.

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Zara, Review [ edit ]

February 06 2007 (06:49:00) US/Pacific ( 3 views )

Archive - February 2007

Let me do a swift analysis:

Overall, the big surprise is the extent to which products and prices are the same here as they are in the West. Yes, foreigners, Beijing finally has a chain store where you get stylish clothing without nonsense words scrawled across or beads and lace – and it will actually fit.

1. Price: Basically the same as New York, though there could be slight differences that I cannot discern because of a different mix of products (Zara is always changing that).

2. Selection: Again, a pleasant surprise for the most part. There is quite a range for both men’s and women’s clothing. I was expecting the selection to be poor, as it often is in the mainland branches of luxury chains, but that is not the case at Zara. It does too different from New York.

3. Best Value for a Foreigner: Shoes, shoes, shoes. They have big sizes! 44 AND 45 for men. 39 and 40 for women are no problem in most styles. You can pick up a pair of stylish men’s trainers for 400 or so. There’s good value in a city of such poor selection when it comes to quality and style. For less than 700 RMB you could have a pair of suede peep toe wedge pumps or the cutest patent ballet flats – very “of-the-moment”. Other styles of ballet flats are under 400.

4. Quality: My initial reaction is that the quality is similar to the West. Some of the cotton fabrics are a bit unpleasant and there are far too many 100% synthetic pants, which for 500+ RMB seem a bit much overpriced. However, there aren’t many sources for modern slim-fit trousers in town (unless if you want some tailor-made in quality English wool cashmere blends – Contact me!).

5. Style:

Men: Beijing’s first one-stop source for fashionable clothing for work and going out. Dior Homme style blazer/safari jackets were in abundance in at least five different colors. Zara is the best place for pointy captoes with, regrettably, PVC soles. These are made in Spain and priced at from 850-1000 RMB. Do not go for a suit here. Zara may offer the only slim-fitting suit in Beijing off the rack at an acceptable price, but we can give you a much better one in English fabric in the same style for this price range.

Women: Somewhat bland, but that is just what we need in sequined, rhinestoned, lace-infected Beijing. This is a great source of party outfits and work clothes for young ladies working in foreign multinationals. The Beijing office girl finally has the chance to vie with the style of her female boss without a monumental financial sacrifice.

With your youth and good looks, you’ll look way better than her when she strides across the office in her newly purchased Christian Louboutin.

The young female expat can finally abandon Yaxiu and the outlets opposite the zoo. The price is a bit more, but the style and absence of logos and sequins are worth it!

Foreign Girls: your womanly form can finally be properly fitted. Sizes 6 and above are available.

Archive - February 2007 InditexCEO220

Mr. Pablo Isla, CEO of Inditex Group, parent of Zara.

Comments

Fun and fashion in Beijing. You are a bright spot. Wish you wrote more!
Posted by Kim on 02/06/2007 09:06:35 AM

Dear Kim, I really appreciate your kind words. Please keep reading my blog and encourage your friends to do so as well. Any suggestions for content or contributions would also be much appreciated. Best, Nels
Posted by stylites on 02/06/2007 10:09:16 AM

Amancio Ortega is the owner of Inditex
Posted by pelocha on 03/05/2007 11:51:03 PM

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Cabbeen Takes Manhattan [ edit ]

February 05 2007 (03:43:00) US/Pacific ( 4 views )

Chinese label on show in New York

(Article is from The Guardian, photos are from google.cn)

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Jess Cartner-Morley in New York Monday February 5, 2007The image of Chinese fashion, still in the west associated with cheongsam dresses and Mao jackets, has been brought up to date by a catwalk show in New York. The show by Cabbeen [NF:卡宾], a hugely successful menswear label in China, which now plans to go global, marked the first time a designer from mainland China had taken part in New York fashion week.

The image of Chinese fashion, still in the west associated with cheongsam dresses and Mao jackets, has been brought up to date by a catwalk show in New York. The show by Cabbeen a hugely successful menswear label in China, which now plans to go global, marked the first time a designer from mainland China had taken part in New York fashion week.The collection, by the 35-year-old designer Cabbeen, featured faded jeans, “vintage” look T-shirts, customised blazers and designer trainers – all key elements of popular contemporary men’s casual wear in New York, Milan and London as well as in Cabbeen’s native Guangzhou.

China is already a powerhouse of production in the fashion industry, the base for more than half the world’s textiles manufacturing. Increasingly it makes clothes for European and American labels, and has a fast-growing interest in fashion.

When Chinese Vogue launched 18 months ago the first issue demanded a second print run within a fortnight, and all copies still sold out. The appetite of the growing Chinese middle class for luxury goods already has western labels such as Giorgio Armani and Louis Vuitton competing for Shanghai’s prime retail locations. China is increasingly restless with its role as the manufacturing arm of other countries’ fashion brands.

Cabbeen, launched in 1989, now has 300 stores on the mainland, and is favoured by fashion-conscious young Chinese celebrities. The style is international and expensively casual.

At his show the designer himself appeared in black jeans and with artfully dishevelled hair and diamond earring studs. On the catwalk faded jeans were worn with rock’n’roll T-shirts and pinstriped blazers, a look already much favoured by boy band members and successful off-duty young .

Cabbeen maintains a distinct identity using Chinese elements; there is a mandarin-collar velvet blazer but worn with white jeans and trainers; traditional pink cherry-blossom embroidery, but juxtaposed onto a suit jacket.

“The Chinese are often viewed as somewhat stiff and conservative,” says Cabbeen, “and so I am always trying to relax that.”

Archive - February 2007 ghf 68945586894558

Here is the designer himself. And his slow, but interesting, website:

http://www.cabbeen.com/english/eindex/eindex.asp

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Beijing Zara Analysis: One [ edit ]

February 02 2007 (08:15:00) US/Pacific ( 2 views )

Coming soon…Detailed analysis of price, selection, best items to purchase, quality, style, etc. for the new Zara.

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ZARA [ edit ]

February 02 2007 (07:50:00) US/Pacific ( 2 views )

It is simply the highest fashion chainstore and it has now arrived in Beijing.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2007-02/02/content_799411.htm

Zara is for the person who wants exclusivity, but can’t afford it. In some respects you do really get it. Of the major chains, it is the only one that recycles its fashions so often and has a design to shelf timespan of two weeks, supposedly. If you find something you like, snap it up, because it will be replaced with something different.

It’s interesting that, despite having production here in China, you do not see very many zara overproduced items or fakes. Zara stands out in this regard since Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, Gap, and Abercrombie are everywhere. The highest fashion items at Zara are made in Europe, often Spain, Portugal, or Romania.

If you want suits at this price that are more “exclusive” (tailored for you) and have the same fashion-forward look but made of far better, English fabric and with top-notch construction, contact me.

Archive - February 2007

The party was a bit of a bore. It seems alcoholic of me to say this, but a good party does need more than enough alcohol. Here there was a tiny trickle of wine that was almost as good as Great Wall, though it came in a foreign-label bottle.

They made up for everything with the gift: a cute slim red tie with white polka-dots that claims to be 100% silk and made in Italy. I am wearing mine now and the one that Yuanyuan received (they said she would get a scarf) could be yours.

Thanks go to Oglivy for arranging for a party which had pluses and minuses. Perhaps if they had supplied more alcohol, people would have bought more at the store, which opened right after the party.

The store opened afterwards.

Archive - February 2007

I met Mr. Dong Lu in the store. He has started a stylish custom tailoring business here in Beijing. I really liked his outfit – most of it custom made. The cashmere coat is based on a Gucci one from Fall ’03, but the lining makes it better than anything from Gucci.

Archive - February 2007

More on Dong Lu in the future. These pictures don’t really capture how exceptional he seems.

Here is his website:

www.beyondtailors.com

His business, started late last year, centers on shirts at the moment. He’s taken up the noble causing of convincing Chinese men to wear custom-made rather than big brand name. His approach: tailoring with style makes so much more sense for men than buying designer stuff off the rack.

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Aristocracy of Cuties [ edit ]

February 02 2007 (07:08:00) US/Pacific ( 3 views )

Archive - February 2007

To give you a taste of our jet-set lifestyle, here is a pic of Yuanyuan from last weekend while she was staying at the Tabarcka Inn in Marakesh. She was there for the North African High Fashion Crocheting Forum’s Annual Seminar on Hot Pink Cashmere Thread.

By the way, we do hand-knit custom scarves too.

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Velvet Jacket for Girls [ edit ]

February 01 2007 (06:42:00) US/Pacific ( 2 views )

Here Yuanyuan is wearing her newly completed midnight blue velvet jacket.
Archive - February 2007

With stylish one button closure, notch lapels, and a cut that tapers at the waist and hits at the hips, this versatile piece can be worn with jeans to the club or in an ensemble like this for an office party.

Ladies: Don’t worry about shoulder pads, boxiness or any other unstylish nuissances that might have harmed your past efforts at having clothing custom made.

(Photo: Colin MacLennan)

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Archive – January 2007

The Best Bloody Mary

January 31 2007 (09:28:00) US/Pacific

If you like a good Bloody Mary, check out the 5:19 bar at Women’s Street. They have the best one in Beijing. In fact, it was the best I’ve had in the world. And it was 25 RMB, which is quite reasonable considering the imported ingredients.

I went there this past Saturday night for a discussion on Lolita that didn’t really materialize.

As an added plus this bar has a contingent of builders and carpenters from the Southern regions of the United States. They are a very lively and congenial bunch. This is a very authentic collection of dudes from Louisiana, Mississippiand other Faulknerian sorts of places transplanted directly into Beijing. You should go to this bar just to meet them. They are building our government’s new outpost in this heathen land. They recognized me as a Yankee at once but were very friendly anyway. The owner is an Canadian named Dave who has opened several similar bars in Beijing.

5:19: 8448-0896 26 Xingba Lu, Nuren Jie Next to PiliPili 女人街星吧路28号 比力毕利餐吧旁边

Comments

Pity the souls of the heathen masses that must burn for eternity in the infinite cauldron of hell!
Posted by Lincoln Annecam on 01/31/2007 05:05:30 PM

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Faux Fur for Every Generation

January 31 2007 (09:08:00) US/Pacific

Archive - January 2007

Near the Dongsi and Chaonei Avenue intersection.

Archive - January 2007

The amount of faux fur in Beijing is irritating, though apparently not to the skin of most Chinese men. That’s Beijing even did a guide to buying fake (or real) fur. Almost every down coat (羽绒服) in the city has fur around the collar. Does it really offer that much extra warmth? Do you really need that warmth in a city where the temperature rises by five degrees with each new winter? No matter how much fake fur people wear, they are loath to don a hat even on the few days that are genuinely cold. Yes, I am bitching about Beijing not being cold enough.

Often the coldest days are the windiest ones and on these days the air pollution is swept away. The sky becomes blue and the air crisp.

(Photos: Colin MacLennan)

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Paul Smith Notebook

January 30 2007 (05:55:00) US/Pacific

Stripes were the new stripes at Colin’s birthday party held last week at a fabulous, but secluded, Hunan restaurant north of Oriental Plaza. We rented out a whole section of this trendy but authentic establishment. I forgot to bring my original gift for Colin, so I picked up the newest and most popular Paul Smith accessory to overwhelm local markets.

Let me not take credit for work that is not my own. Please go to Colin’s flickr empire at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/genki_cochan/

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N+1 in the Bookworm

January 29 2007 (08:25:00) US/Pacific

N+1, NYC’s chicest new literary journal, is now on sale at the Bookworm, Beijing’s premier literary cafe, lending library and foreign language bookstore. The Bookworm is Beijing’s literary hotspot for the foreign community – a hive of aspiring intellectuals. Every writer or reader passing through Beijing stops at the Bookworm. Check out their website for more information: http://www.beijingbookworm.com/.

As VP Asia-Pacific and China Marketing Director for N+1, I am proud of our prominent spot in this esteemed literary institution.

Archive - January 2007

Several copies have already sold. The price is RMB 100, which is now about 13 dollars.

Archive - January 2007
N+1 is next to the The Jews in China, which is a photographic journey through a century of Jewish life throughout the mainland. It contains many fascinating photos of mixed Jewish-Chinese families, highlighting the way Jewish Europeans found a welcoming haven in Shanghai and other Chinese cities before and during WWII. One can see from these photos that the Jews integrated locally to a much greater extent than many other European settlers. I searched for pictures of relatives of my dear friend, David Adler, whose family lived like royalty in Shanghai during the thirties and forties.

The Jews have been a tiny but notable part of the tapestry of minorities since the Northern Song Dynasty, when they established a community in Kaifeng.

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What? Bar

January 28 2007 (03:30:00) US/Pacific

I visited the What? Bar, after nearly a year of frequenting posher establishments.

Archive - January 2007

This band was pretty good I was told. Of course, I don’t actually enjoy raucous music, whether it be dance, hip-hop or rock. I do support the subversive spirit – especially here in China.

The What? Bar is one of the most famous live music venues in Beijing. Located just north of the West gate of the Forbidden City, the What? Bar is on Xichang Road, the narrow strip that runs between the new and the old centers of power. Thirty meters east of the What?Bar is the Forbidden City, from which the emperors of Ming and Qing issued their dreaded commands. Fifty meters west is Zhongnanhai, the “Southern Central Sea”, center of power for the modern rulers of China. There is a notable dearth of other commerce around the What?Bar, certainly no other bars or businesses catering to foreigners or the Chinese bourgeoisie.

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Businesses Crack Down on Prostitution

January 28 2007 (03:06:00) US/Pacific

This sign is from the doorway of a Mexican restaurant in Shanghai:

Archive - January 2007 zapata gif

This photo is from a discussion that I started on the forum of thatsbj.com

Comments

we disapprove this resteraunt Notice. it’s posted by that pervert wacko Laozhong aka Macro polo aka Laowild aka street laowai. i thought prostitution is always some hidden factor to promote the economics developing, no matter in what countries. a fairly subtle contribution to national GDP.
Posted by Mottosinner on 01/28/2007 09:39:19 AM

Nobody is saying prostitution is bad or that it is unique to China. I’m sure it plays a part in the economic miracle (may that miracle be praised and worshipped eternally). On a side note, would anyone shed tears if they never heard the acronym “GDP” again? One of the reasons why so many development experts are trying to create alternative macro-economic indicators must be that they are simply sick of this yardstick’s divine status.
Posted by stylites on 01/29/2007 08:32:51 AM

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A Peeping Dateseeker

January 28 2007 (03:01:00) US/Pacific

Ugo Umeh came in for his first fitting yesterday. He is using an s120 navy matte from England. This is the best value option we offer, and perhaps the best value for a custom-made suit anywhere in the world: 2500 RMB (320 dollars) for a slim fashionable suit in durable, all-season, English suiting wool.

Archive - January 2007

This is going to be one of the best looking suits, which is partially owing to the model-like physique of Ugo.

Ugo lives in New York City and he was born in Nigeria. He is at the start of a career in investment banking. He will be based out of Hong Kong.

Archive - January 2007

This young lady entered the shop and unobstrusively watched the entire fitting process. Her job is to welcome people into the building where the tailorshop is located. There are three or four other people who have this same job. They all stand in the lobby visible behind her. She wants to find a foreign boyfriend to learn English.

Archive - January 2007

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chic and sporty is back

January 27 2007 (07:50:00) US/Pacific

The happiest day in a long time.

I am accessing my chic and sporty blog from China.

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Temporary Blog on Sina

January 09 2007 (05:44:00) US/Pacific

Dear Fans,

This regrettable situation with the web has continued. I have no way of accessing this blog and updating, which has caused no small amount of anguish. There are so many uberchic happenings in the chilly courtyards of Beijing these days. I need for you to know.

Please go to http://blog.sina.com.cn/u/1273331532. This is my stopgap solution. Sina is one China’s largest web portals.

I’m going to go be up-and-coming with it.

We will be back here shortly.

Once again: http://blog.sina.com.cn/u/1273331532.

Best,

Nels

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Earthquake – natural disasters really do matter

January 01 2007 (14:52:00) US/Pacific

The earthquake in Taiwan made the internet really hard to access from the land of Yellow. Please keep checking back since the Central Committee will rectify the situation imminently. I have some fantastic material waiting. (0) Comments | Post Comment

Archive – December 2006

Peasant Streetwear?

December 26 2006 (05:54:00) US/Pacific

The question of what constitutes style in China is a perrenial one. Does style have to be deliberate? Does the wearer have to be at all aware of fashions? Does style need to be unique? Is the wearer more important or what is being worn? I suppose the answer to the final question is both and how the wearer wears things. There is also a question as to how the great income disparity figure into these questions.

Below is a typical middle aged migrant labourer wearing a typically oversized hat. These hats are probably the most stylish item that peasants and soldiers wear. I applaud them for being among the few people who wear hats through the cold winters in Beijing.

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Peasants, beggars, and laborers can be the most stylish people, since often fashionistas and hipsters look too brand-laden and contrived. Of course, the real point here may be the expression that has been captured.

I would like to thank my friend and close associate Colin MacLennan for taking the great shot. I’m for more contributions from Colin as Stylites develops and expands. I look forward to his becoming a key articulator of the Stylites voice and lifestyle.

The common folk deserve their place at Stylites, if only because I love them for what they are not. They are not members of the Chuppy bourgeoisie, the global corporate meritocracy or the plutocracy of pigheads and vulgarians running the world’s two most powerful countries.

Comments

‘They are not members of the Chuppy bourgeoisie, the global corporate meritocracy or the plutocracy of pigheads and vulgarians running the world’s two most powerful countries.’ – well said. There was an interesting article in the WSJ Asia the other day about construction workers, how they make 3 dollars a day and are working all-out to finish all the construction in Beijing before sometime in ’07 so that the dust can clear for the olympics and then they are just expected to go somewhere else and not get in the way.
Posted by Pescatore on 12/29/2006 01:47:11 AM

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Happy Holidays! Lovely things to come!

December 26 2006 (01:32:00) US/Pacific

Merry Christmas to All!

Over the Christmas weekend I met two young designers working in Beijing, whose photos and profiles I will be posting over the next week or so. I’m very excited about this. I think you will find that one of the designers in particular, surnamed Huang, has really figured out how to blend Chinese and Western styles to great effect. You will love his designs for both men and women!

So keep checking back and don’t drink too little over the holiday season!

Also, not to be overly narcissistic (I’ve never been that way), but below are some photos from over the holidays.

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We both wore similar-colored herringbone tweed coats. On mine, the herringbone pattern is bigger, appropropriate for my status as a male. This overcoat is also a custom-made piece. We were posing by the restroom in Bed Bar. This is a perfect opportunity to introduce my closest associate, eternal partner in good works, and charming muse, Yuanyuan. We do everything together and she always makes me happy.

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I have been getting a lot of use out of my blue cord jacket recently. I will do a little post on it to show all of the special features. Here I am with my good friend Colin’s girlfriend, Marie, a Japanese baroness from Michigan.

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Dapper Dragon Robe

December 22 2006 (02:38:00) US/Pacific

Born at his family’s summer villa in a hilltop village near Lake Van, Barak Bessarian is a Sephardic Armenian who grew up in Beirut, and spent his adolescence in Haifa, Novosibirsk and Yokohama. His father was an amber and fur merchant, and work took him frequently to Yakutia. Barak has many fond memories of summers on the family yacht cruising through Lake Baikal, right after the fall of the Soviet Union. The yacht was later confiscated by a local magnate/governor, but the Bessarians purchased a new one, which they sailed mainly in the South China Sea. This yacht was sold to a Singapore developer when amber prices plunged around the turn of the century.

At fifteen, Barak was sent to New York to live with an uncle and reap the benefits of an American education. His nickname growing up was “silver bolt” – referring to lightning rather than the metal object.

That gives you a bit of an introduction to Barak. I would love to continue telling his story, but I have to write some steps companies can take to protect IPR.

Let’s come up to the present.

Barak is an antler merchant currently, though he also smuggles champagne. Demand for the latter product is skyrocketing in China. Antlers have been hot since the Zhou Dynasty.

Barak is also an accomplished scholar of Naiman (a tribe in northern Mongolia) burial rites. There is even a Naiman mating dance named after him.

Barak is THE man about town in many towns throughout Asia.

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Barak recently bought a Blackberry to replace the little Inuit man that did his scheduling.

Here he is checking on a delivery of ground reindeer collarbones coming in from Omsk.
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He smokes the cigarettes officially designated for use in bribery, Zhonghua.

It is a Chinese style tux, smoking jacket or emblem of elegance, but Barak calls this product of his imagination “seduction with a passion lining”. Imagine him saying this in a smoky Southern Caucasus accent while gently moving his many-ringed hand.

The poppable collar is like the spoiler on an Aston Martin Lagonda that rises to stabilize the vehicle at high velocity. Barak raises the collar not to show-off his chicness, but because he must…it’s just safer for everybody. He is not only successful and a true sybarite, he also has a sense of civic responsibility.

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Perhaps I should mention that this jacket is made of the finest silk, both the shell and the lining. It is thicker silk, perfect for use in odd jackets like this. Adaptations of traditional Chinese fabrics in modern dress rarely conform to current taste. Forget Tom Ford. This is a rare example of total success that works off the runway, too. The perfect fit and quality of the craftsmanship are what do it. Do you dare to don the Barak Bessarian Seduction with a Passion Lining?

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Feline Print out for a Wild Night

December 21 2006 (14:52:00) US/Pacific

Here is a typical late twentyish Chinese society girl. She was crossing Stadium Rd. on her way to go play at a bar or nightclub. She seemed proud of her plans for the evening. She was more than willing to pose for me after I told her she had wonderful taste and looked very nice. I expanded her ego.

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She could be your life, but you will have to take her shopping for more prints that belong on a Masai chieftain’s wife.

Her manner was forward – confident, which is not so common here. She smiled and gazed enrapturingly.

Note the bus in back. I quickly boarded a similar one after this shot, afraid to walk in the same direction as her.
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Stella! Coming to a paw near you!

December 21 2006 (09:39:00) US/Pacific

Footwear maker wears own shoes

China’s largest leather shoemaker has put the shoes on its own feet, deciding to sell footwear under its own brand after being a supplier to famous brands such as Prada and Timberland for more than a decade.

Hong Kong-based Stella International Ltd, which exported 5 billion yuan (US$621 million) worth of shoes last year, plans to open 100 stores across China under the Stella Luna brand in three years.

“We plan to invest 1 billion yuan to open the stores in China’s major cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu and Chongqing,” said Jimmy Chen, the firm’s chairman, who opened its first store on Shanghai’s Huaihai Road.

He added that the firm plans to have 30 stores this year alone.

The company, which is the original design manufacturer for LVMH Group, Paul Smith and other top luxury brands, said it also signed an agency deal with American fashion brand Guess pending its entry to the US market.

“The partner will help us open stores in New York and San Francisco in two years,” said Chen. “We will later expand our brand to Europe and other Asian markets including Japan.”

Apparently, Stella International Ltd (hereafter: Stella) even designs the shoes for Paul Smith. The fakes or factory “overstock” selling everywhere must be the work of Stella. I wonder if any other brands besides Stella design and produce Paul Smith. Stella probably designed my pair of “Paul Smith” trainers.

Stella’s other major newsworthy item is considered a landmark legal in the history of the modern labour movement in China. Several workers were jailed after protesting sub-human working conditions at one of Stella’s sweatshops and then released following a concerted effort by concerned Mainland lawyers and international labor rights groups.

The full story:

http://www.time.com/time/asia/magazine/article/0,13673,501050131-1019909,00.html
http://www.cleanclothes.org/news/newsletter19-15.htm

It’s hard to find anything else about Stella on google.

Once Stella becomes a well-known shoe brand, all of its production facilities will come under increasing scrutiny. The more people that know about Stella’s past misdeeds, the better. Stella will no longer be able to force workers to slave over the leather 15 hours a day while failing to provide proper ventilation, a sanitary work environment, and food fit for human consumption. Stella, I’ll be watching you!

Comments

i have seen their shoes and they are beautiful. i contemplated buying a pair at RMB1,300. interestingly, at both outlets i visited in Shanghai, the staff told me the brand’s from Italy…
Posted by LHS on 02/05/2007 02:55:13 PM

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The Oldest Profession and My Favorite Topic

December 21 2006 (06:43:00) US/Pacific

I heard there are a few prostitutes in China, and here is an article from the International Herald Tribune that proves it:

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/12/14/news/letter.php

Chinese economist, Yang Fan, has estimated there are 20 million sex workers in the country, accounting for fully 6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

There is no mention of ducks here, but the Guardian did a piece on them earlier this year:

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1769387,00.html

One of my first posts on this blog is on Chinese street fashion. I describe some duck fashion:

http://stylites.blogsource.com/post.mhtml?post_id=10165

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Celebrate!

December 19 2006 (04:31:00) US/Pacific

Google “Nels Frye”! My blog now comes up. At last.

Try to ignore the hookah article.

Yahooing me works as well. In fact, the yahoo image search turns up this image:

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This is from an Assyrian demonstration outside the UN.

The Google image search yields this image:

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Naturally.

Comments

Where would you find the wettest place on earth? What is the world’s largest desert? If you walked the whole Appalachian Trail, from start to finish, what states would you start and end in? These are just a few examples of the questions Geograbee winner Andi Zhou ’09 (day student representative) and other cluster finalists faced at Andover’s ninth annual geography contest. In a quiz-show format, Chair of the History Department Peter Drench read the questions, while students buzzed in to answer. Students were awarded three points for every correct answer, while they were penalized one point for each incorrect answer. Chair of the Biology Department Marc Koolen kept score. The other finalists were Peter McCarthy (WQS), David Mauskop (WQN), Oliver Bloom (PKN), Hugh Edmundson (FLG), and Ben Elder (ABB). The competition began with a few “warm-up” questions for the audience, including where was the wettest place on earth: Hawaii. After the contests completed the warm-up round, the bee started. Zhou buzzed in first to answer correctly that the world’s largest desert is the Sahara. After Edmundson answered the second question incorrectly, Elder gave the right answer: Georgia and Maine frame the Appalachian Trail. The rest of the questions from this year’s bee ranged from the most sparsely populated country, Australia, to the name of the United States’ first national monument, the Devil’s Monument in Wyoming. Zhou took a commanding lead in the beginning of the round with 13 right answers, but by the end of the competition Elder had caught up to him. Elder nearly won, but Zhou answered the final question to win the initial round: Hundreds of wooden churches with Christian and Viking ties were built in what country? Norway. Unlike previous years, this year’s Geograbee went into overtime, which consisted of a sudden death following a round of five questions. Zhou answered the first question correctly: The Queen Elizabeth Islands are part of which Canadian province? Nunavut. However, Elder won the second point, naming Cote d’Ivoire as the site of one of the largest churches in the world, The Basilica of Our Lady. By the fifth and final question of overtime, Zhou was losing, but would win if he answered the last question correctly. The final question asked what Dutch-named group in South Africa had once been described with the word “trek.” After giving an older name of the group, Zhou said the correct name, Afrikaans – giving him not only the lead but also the win. Zhou received $100 and a world map with his name engraved on it, which he plans to hang in the day student locker area. Elder, who placed a very close second, received $50. In third place was Edmundson, who received $25. When a student asked Zhou where he had learned so much world geography he replied, “My dad kind of started me when I was three and after that he me started me with maps. Then I just went along with it.” When asked how he felt about winning the bee Zhou said, “Relieved.” Every year the Community and Multicultural Development Office (CAMD) organizes the bee with Instructor of Biology Raj Mundra. Mr. Mundra said, “I thought i t went really well. There was a pretty sizable crowd. Each of the finalists was well qualified.” He continued, “It’s a fun competition because the whole school gets involved…It’s a different type of knowledge [than what’s taught here] and it’s nice for students to be able to showcase it.” Mr. Drench said, “I think that the Geograbee is one of the best events of the year at PA, combining fun and competition, and because it was started as a collaboration between students and faculty.” Mr. Drench, Cluster Dean of Pine Knoll Ms. Murata, and Mr. Mundra handpicked the questions for the bee. The Geograbee was founded in 1997 by a former Instructor of Spanish Nels Frye ’99 and former International Student Coordinator Hal McCann. Obviously the last paragraph was what caught my attention. “Andover: Training journalistic standards from a young age.”
Posted by Pescatore on 12/19/2006 07:53:06 AM

Yes, they gave me some real Mianzi there. Did they mean that I was an Instructor of Spanish prior to graduating in ’99 – perhaps even before I enrolled as a student? Still, I get the credit I deserve for founding “one of the best events of the year” at such an elite high school.
Posted by stylites on 12/19/2006 08:49:43 AM

Yes, they gave me some real Mianzi there. Did they mean that I was an Instructor of Spanish prior to graduating in ’99 – perhaps even before I enrolled as a student? Still, I get the credit I deserve for founding “one of the best events of the year” at such an elite high school.
Posted by stylites on 12/19/2006 08:49:43 AM

Yes, they gave me some real Mianzi there. Did they mean that I was an Instructor of Spanish prior to graduating in ’99 – perhaps even before I enrolled as a student? Still, I get the credit I deserve for founding “one of the best events of the year” at such an elite high school.
Posted by stylites on 12/19/2006 08:49:45 AM

Yes, they gave me some real Mianzi there. Did they mean that I was an Instructor of Spanish prior to graduating in ’99 – perhaps even before I enrolled as a student? Still, I get the credit I deserve for founding “one of the best events of the year” at such an elite high school.
Posted by stylites on 12/19/2006 08:49:45 AM

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Xidan Fakes: Talk to the Hand

December 18 2006 (06:12:00) US/Pacific

At Xidan, there are cartloads of fake streetwear. They fake limited-edition sweatshirts designed and made in Tokyo and worn only by obscure rappers living in the Bronx. It is difficult to take photos.

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This shop stocks this Japanese streetwear brand called “A Bathing Ape”, also refered to as “Bape”. Apparently these hoodies sell for USD 300+ at one store on the Lower East Side – maybe more than just there, but that is the most visible example. Here they are for under RMB 300, probably in more styles than the original.

If you want the product of local talent, Xidan has much to offer:

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Enticing…But even at this shop selling its own branded dross – not fakes – they won’t let you take pictures.

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It would be too embarassing if people outside the caverns of Xidan got an idea of what passes for fashion inside.

Comments

Mwahah, Ape must never fight Ape.
Posted by Pescatore on 12/18/2006 09:14:32 AM

I was trying to take photos of that too. But just got some hands back~lol… It is true,that many fakes in Xidan. But it’s always fashion and cheap,so many young people buy them. It’s just common in China,don’t be surprised anymore.
Posted by Lori on 12/19/2006 09:22:15 AM

Hehehe, how practical! Must one drain the freshness out of everything? I adore being surprised whenever possible. Granted, I must pretend some of the time, but it’s worth it!
Posted by stylites on 12/19/2006 10:17:17 AM

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Velvet Jacket and Hoodie

December 14 2006 (02:11:00) US/Pacific

It was Riel’s last weekend in Beijing before heading back to Toronto for Christmas. He wore the jacket from the stunning velvet suit just completed by Senli and Frye. The color is a smoky java with a tint of aubergine.

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Riel is kind and gentle but has a titilating sense of humor. He is a good listener, but also clever. A free spirit, he is also very committed to his friends and family. I like him a lot, so he must be a swell sort of fellow. He also boasts an excellent background and education. This month he will turn 24.

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He enjoys the company of charming, stylish, and witty but calm females. If you would like to arrange a meeting, please send me and email. The fee for an introduction is 100 euros, which can be sent to my paypal account.

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Most Stylish Movies

December 11 2006 (05:24:00) US/Pacific

A men.style.com feature on the 25 most stylish movies of all time:
http://men.style.com/gq/features/slideshow/v/10122006FILM?loop=0&event=&designer=&trend=&slideshowId=slideshow37667&iphoto=0&play=false

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Sybarites Anonymous

December 08 2006 (06:45:00) US/Pacific

Here is an advertisement I placed for Stylites in Beijing in That’s Beijing, the main expat mag in the city.

http://www.thatsbj.com/index.php?a=2&b=162168

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1. Be a Eurotrash Construction Worker

December 08 2006 (02:02:00) US/Pacific

Here’s a kwik rheed on how to dress to impress women:

http://men.msn.com/articlees.aspx?cp-documentid=702600>1=8883

Many sartorialists are against this practice, believing women have bad taste, but I see nothing wrong with trying to look good for them.

They are the fairer sex and all, and all they think about is making us happy (and competing with each other) through looking good.

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Premium Denim

December 07 2006 (09:19:00) US/Pacific

True Religion is an old one, but it’s still interesting that there is far more of it on Taobao than US ebay:

http://search1.taobao.com/browse/3035/t-g,orzhkzjaojswy2lhnfxw4—————-40-list-commend-0-all-3035.htm

Rogan may not be the most obscure brand in the world, but as I understand, it does take pride in being “made in the USA”. They should also be proud of being “Made in China”:

http://search1.taobao.com/browse/0/t-95—————–g,ojxwoylo—————-40-list-commend-0-all-0.htm

Rogan jeans and outerwear can be found at the fourth floor of the 3.3 market in Sanlitun.

We all know A.P.C. is the trendiest thing at the moment. New Yorkers always want to seem French. So do Beijingers:

http://search1.taobao.com/browse/3035/t-g,mexca4boebrs4—————-40-list-commend-0-all-3035.htm

To be fair, perhaps BJ is still behind the fashion curve. For this one, there is very little and the prices are in that high bracket where one starts to wonder if the product is real. I have to examine more closely.

Shockingly, there are only 1945 entries for Evisu. Hmmm, 1945 for Evisu.

http://search1.taobao.com/browse/3035/t-g,mv3gs43v—————-40-list-commend-0-all-3035.htm

I’m sure it’s all from Japanes looms.

We are now up to 104 entries for Dior Homme jeans. We should keep in mind that most of these entries has several pairs available in different sizes.

What about Rock and Republic – a totally mainstream brand? I’ve actually never seen the originals, since it’s a relatively new brand, but I have seen some in Xidan.

Taobao has 41 entries, starting at around 15 dollars in price.

http://search1.taobao.com/browse/3035/t-g,ojxwg2zaojsxa5lcnruwg—————-40-list-commend-0-all-3035.htm

Rock and Republic is all being made in Guangzhou. Cantonese people are fashion forward.

Let me note in passing that two US designer brands, John Varvatos and Theory, are entirely absent from the Chinese market. It’s strange because most Theory is produced in China. Come to think of it, I have seen Theory here, in shops.
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Two Weeks in Posh One-bedroom in Central Beijing

December 07 2006 (06:35:00) US/Pacific

Spend winter in the capital of the next hyperpower!

Hack up phlegm before it becomes illegal!

Will you brave the firecrackers and myriad Volkswagens?

Can you stomach lardburgers and no oxygen?

Buy a plane ticket to BJ and you’ve got a place to say for the two last weeks of February!

February 18 – March 3, babysit my flat.

You must be stylish, sophisticated, silly, and a sailor.

Please send a photo, statement enumerating prejudices and vital sentiments, and a commitment to wear and take with you my Bollywood-style leather jacket.

All female applicants must agree to (1) buy plastic white boots and (2) tuck their jeans into the boots.

I shall be in the city of light…

Comments

i enjoy reading this blog a lot. and i sure would like to come. 🙂 haven´t been to china for quite a while. although i´m not so sure about the bollywood-leatherjacket. have any photos of it online?
Posted by peripherique on 12/07/2006 07:32:36 PM

Well, thank you for your interest. It’s a perfect location and it is quite comfortable. As for the leather jacket, it’s also very Detroit – a cross between detroit and bollywood. Waist length, vintage 1960s, it is on my girlfriend’s list for incineration. It’s not that bad though.
Posted by stylites on 12/08/2006 01:34:31 AM

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beyond caps and commas

December 06 2006 (13:50:00) US/Pacific

My dear friend Mark sent me this email message:

“i will think for you and i love you enjoy man miss you lots”

I’m moved. It’s too bad he left.

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More Tweed Jackets

December 06 2006 (01:53:00) US/Pacific

Another picture of the tweed jackets. I’m wearing trousers that are also a tweed with a very subtle check and Colin is wearing jeans that he distressed himself. Colin and I were at Hatsune that night.

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Some comments made by members of styleforum.net after seeing photos of our custom tweed jackets.

“I agree, I love the tweed jacket and hat combo. It works so perfectly and gives that that great “fish out of water” look while still being fashionable.”

“Dude, I’d love to find a jacket like that. If you ever plan on having one made like that again, count me in.”

“By the way BGS, I love the tweed blazer/jacket with the ticket pocket on your blog. Is this made by you?”(I am BSG)

We are trying to locate more of this fabric. Despite being a very classic herringbone, it was a limited run.

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Trousers in boots to reign for several more generations

December 04 2006 (06:12:00) US/Pacific

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These two models are on their way to the agency on floor 25 of my building.These tall women have achieved the winter style goals of many Beijing girls – the white coat, sunglasses, permed hair, and tall boots. Jeans tucked into boots is, thankfully, not quite as common this winter as last, but still captures the imagination of the most fashionable young ladies. These girls do have the proportions to wear this style.

It is very unremarkable that they are both wearing the same outfit. The scary fact is that they probably did not plan this. Note that one girl added a green scarf as a statement of individual style and perhaps, in keeping with the shades, rebellion.

In my hutong, starting the next generation early:

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The trousers make it work.

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So why do Chinese girls like this style so much?

Comments

Posted by Morbid-Calendar on 01/13/2007 03:58:56 AM

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A visitor

December 04 2006 (04:16:00) US/Pacific

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I had a guest over the weekend, and I had to take him sightseeing.

Here I am welcoming him to Paris:

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I got this blue corduroy suit made without a lapel button hole, so I had to use the chest pocket for my orchids.

Please start checking again regularly this week, as there will be frequent updates coming once again.

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Pocket Squares

December 01 2006 (09:36:00) US/Pacific

Can’t really buy ’em here, so gotta make ’em. My next project.

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The press takes notice…

December 01 2006 (09:09:00) US/Pacific

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I’m extremely ecstatic that my blog was mentioned at the top of the Links of the Week section in the That’s Beijing “That’s Seven Days in Beijing, Weekly Newsletter”:

Stylites in Beijing, which appears to model itself on New York’s The Sartorialist, is keeping a critical eye on fashion – and pollution – in the capital.

This mention is well-deserved; I have worked hard for it. How might one even imagine what could come next?

I don’t know how much like The Sartorialist my site really is, but it is a flattering comparison. I think my blog is going in a different direction, due to the nature of the content that is available. I have certain ideas about that direction, and it will be an exciting one. We could end up with a coffee table book. Obviously, my blog functions as a promotional tool for Senli and Frye, temporarily, until we get the website up and running.

It is proving difficult for me to find interesting street style to post, I must confess. The Beijing street fashion scene is more repetitive than I had anticipated. Does one focus on ugly chuppies, punks and hipsters, wannabe hip-hopsters or the “real people” -workers, bums, and farmers? The groups are too defined. People are too obsessed with looking like the group that they aspire to enter. They rarely break free in their style, and I rarely break free of the office. Maybe I am just not noticing things. Any suggestions?
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What is the correct path on fakes?

December 01 2006 (04:05:00) US/Pacific

I don’t really want to support buying fakes. I don’t want to give advice about which ones are good and where to buy them.

So, as Westerners, should we be coming up with solutions for this problem? That is, should citizens of the countries in which the brands are produced not buy fakes? Is it unpatriotic? Are we supporting China’s rise and the West’s demise when we buy their fakes of our stuff?

The problem for the established brands may not be as great as they themselves make it out to be. Clearly Hedi Slimane and Paul Smith aren’t about to starve on the streets because of IP theft. The companies they design for or own also have a loyal base of consumers who derive great spiritual value from buying the real thing – even in lands where fakes are available. However, I should caution that brand loyalty is not fully developed in China, their fastest expanding market.

The new affluent classes hanker after luxury brands for the status they can provide. A percentage of these people are not price sensitive, but highly face sensitive. This group might only buy the real thing.

There is another large slice of the wealthy who are happy to have the status at a lower price tag, and who don’t really give a damn about the illustrious history of LV.If they can find a fake that looks just as good as the real thing to be their new toy, they are happy to take advantage of a discount.

Paul Smith just entered the Beijing market this year. He had a store in Shanghai for a year or more before that. There is Paul Smith EVERYWHERE now. This was not the case a year ago. Can you imagine “Paul Smith” appearing with the same frequency as GAP and Banana Republic combined in the US? It’s almost like that. The quality difference is apparent for SF types, but not for everyone. I met a very stylish Dutch fellow yesterday, wearing a real Paul Smith scarf, perusing the mall of fake Paul Smith shops. He said that he was happy to buy the fakes selling there, since they were just as good as the real thing. Perhaps this is not a problem, since Paul Smith will continue to be a successful company.

Archive - December 2006

You don’t think this has a negative effect on his brand image? Maybe not, but it seems hard to believe. I want to analyze this further when I have the chance.

As for rising brands, designers and creative types, this is a terrible problem. You can say that their niche consumers will carry them through, but this is imbuing dissimilar consumer groups with attributes of ones with which we are more familiar. Chinese consumers prefer anything foreign and established, particularly when it comes to fashion. A fake Dior Homme sweater will always sell better than that of a local brand, because it still has that aura of style, of Paris, of something elite. Also, please keep in mind that you cannot even rise to any level of fame and profitability when your brand is ripped off immediately. There are exceptions, things will change, but for now the situation is getting worse.

“D&G” is sold in boutiques that seem glamorous and foreign. The sales assistants will state they are a registered seller of D&G. It is very hard to compete with stylish, decent-quality, “D&G” selling at a lower price than you could possibly hope to offer if you wanted a profit.

Archive - December 2006 dolce and gabbana photo

Keep in mind that “D&G” is not necessarily just copies of the real D&G. Anyone hoping to sell a stylish clothing item would be advised to slap on the tag D&G, Dior Homme, or True Religion, or Rogan (I see this in increasing quantities).

You can either pay to market a brand that will promptly be copied, or slap D&G onto your product. Which one is more profitable? When you make 100 dollars a month, the choice is not hard.

I can only defer to those who are really facing that problem. Local designers all list IP theft as the main problem preventing their rise.

So, will production ever go back to the first world because of this?

Or will the market that best protects IP be the one that succeeds in the long-run or atracts foreign producers?

It would seem as though the problem of IP theft is not as big for the big companies as I am making it out to be. They obviously all keep their production here in spite of being copied.

Are the “fakes” and “overstock” sometimes actually allowed by the parent companies so they can secretly make a profit off people who do not normally have the means to buy the originals? A kind of price selection.

Perhaps this is a secret stategy on the part of the big brands to curtail the development of local competitors, while making money off lower income members of the production…Probably not, but it seems to be a benefit that comes out of an othe rwise bleak situation.

Maybe IP theft offers the West the chance to retain its ascendancy, since brands and marketing are the only real advantages we still possess.

Well, I guess they still make better wool in England.

Archive - December 2006 handspinning sheep

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Stylites.net Launch

The formal launch of stylites.net and the reemergence of Stylites in Beijing as a trendsetting force in the blogosphere is on the horizon. With luck, daily street fashion updates on stylites.net will begin within the next week, so stay tuned. Please note the link to the Senli and Frye page on the right.