Oh tempora, oh mores… In November 2007, still a Beijing virgin after having only studied here for a meager three months, I received the following text from a Milanese acquaintance:
There are pig heads in front of me. Not the food; the earmuffs. I want to go home.
Fashion Statement: well, ‘gutsy’.
The content of that particular message is still quite up-to-date. Truth be told, walking around Beijing sometimes gives you the impression of being lost in the Magic Kingdom. Yet the entrance is free (well, except for your Visa fee, but that’s a whole different topic). Uncalled for exhibitionism from our male counterparts and general conservatism from the Chinese sisters are on the order of the day. If you stick to the classic ‘you only get one chance to make a first impression’, the city of Beijing might not be an instant hit… But once you venture through the sea of bared beer bellies and flesh-colored 30DEN tights under the scorching summer sun, you will find yourself pleasantly surprised, sometimes even astonished, by the burgeoning amount of innovative and motivated young designers, slowly penetrating the mainstream with their own take on fashion.
YES! Beijing’s fashion scene is on the rise and it’s sizzling.
In a city that moves at the pace Beijing currently does, with an emerging urban middle class constantly increasing its spending capital, a political agenda that in all but name states capitalism as its number one priority and a rapidly widening gap between poor rich and poor (it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there), there is a constant sense of electricity in the air. This place fascinates, captivates and sucks you in like a whirlwind. It was only a matter of time before the major Western fashion magazines would tap into this new pool of consumers like, for example, Vogue did in September 2005 (the most anticipated and biggest magazine launch ever to take place on the mainland). Moreover, the rate at which these magazines currently sell out at the newsstands clearly demonstrates the eagerness of the new urban woman to be inspired and create a style that defines her, rather than the People’s Republic of China as a whole. And in the end, that is what fashion’s all about.
Even though your average local Beijing fashionista generally does not yet display the strong sense of individual or cutting edge style like that of her South Korean or Japanese colleague, she is most definitely on the move and getting out there . Trial by error you might call it, but I think we all share an extensive history of fashion faux pas (unfortunately mine were often captured on camera). I created this blog to give you an insight into the Beijing fashion scene and give it the attention it, in my humble opinion, deserves. It will range from the girl in the streets wearing glittery Minnie Mouse ears to budding designers like Mario Duyuchen, Iris Fang, Curry Lee, etc. And of course, let’s not forget about established designers such as Xander Zhou, who first presented his collection on the international catwalk during Paris Fashion Week 2009. The scene is developing into its own; it’s new, it’s exciting and puts the fun back in fashion!
You know that I like it a lot.