DIARY 001 / BACK TO COLLAGE

Hey guys. Recently I’ve been flipping through the main references in my life – Rauschenberg, Meire, M/M – and having fun with mixed media collages again. There’s something so right about a messy piece of work that’s imperfect and almost dirty-looking with just the right amount of stuff. I’ve been obsessed with Meire’s GARAGE layouts, stenciled data on trucks in Beijing, and collecting all types of shitty printed matter (receipts, packaging, newspaper cutouts). Below are some recent assemblages made from old photos, phone photos and random cutouts from really ‘real’ Chinese everyday things. I dig that shit. Also, updates have been non-existent lately because I was trying to find myself hahaha. (the ‘hahaha’ comes from the very dark hole I’ve been living in for the last few months. But I just left that hole 2 days ago. Sup). So this is me, coming back from the dark. Happy to re-meet you all again.

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Blurred phone pic of a rose petal I picked up from outside our office. Quote is something that fell into my brain and I vomited it out.

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Portrait by my sister. Top by Helmut Lang.

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The Joys of Truth x 1993 baby photo of me. Both O’s are replaced by cut outs from a package. The words read 快找 (‘Find quick’) (reference to both ‘truth’ and the fact that delivery is insanely fast in China). The search for speed is not synonymous with truth most of the time, but self-distraction.

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Saw these cute bell-shaped flowers in the botanical gardens in Amsterdam with Lucy’s boyfriend, Gabry. Decided to print and scan them in Beijing, using tracing paper and crayons to imitate them in a primary school manner. I fucking love tracing paper.

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Once again, some tracing action. I’m obsessed with the color combo of black/white/red. It’s the only combo that I feel works for me. The posting stamp is from the same delivery package as the baby photo collage above. I stuck on a 喜喜 (‘Shuang Xi’ – double happiness – usually used when a couple first gets married, denoting love and other marital bliss-like things) because, well, I felt like it. Bag by Simone Rocha, pants by Issey Miyake Pleats Please, slides by & Other Stories.

KOZHA NUMBERS

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Kozha Numbers bag, Issey Miyake pants

FYI this post ain’t sponsored.

I discovered Kozha Numbers a few months ago, on one of my mindless Instagram scrolls. Stumbling across aesthetic brand accounts becomes almost a daily ritual now, and so many in their relentless reposting of creditless Inspo pics become interchangeable. However, with the Kozha Numbers page, I hovered. And browsed. And scrolled. And browsed some more. Their intricate curation of art with leather made me feel like I could finally breathe. It gave me space to think, to digest and to appreciate. I was led to their minimal site, and then straight towards their DM. An interchange later, here is my 01 of the numbers. Receiving her felt like meeting an online friend lol. I had the same experience when I stumbled upon Mansur Gavriel all those candy-colored releases ago – back in their OG days when they had one bucket bag to show. So trust my instincts – Kozha is here to stay.

ANGEL CHEN

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Bags and shoes by Angel Chen SS17, Junya Watanabe trousers, Ann Demeulemeester shoes

Angel Chen’s SS17 collection features some bold ass nostalgia – for a culture that’s your own, but that somehow you can’t own. Her designs cunningly drape the present over the past. She challenges the rebellious spirit with whiffs of youthful romance and delicacy for a new millennial generation whose identity is built on the internet.

The ever-looming question of ‘Is this cultural appropriation’ is once again resurrected. Borrowing and adapting and exploring and developing is a utilitarian act – to explore cultures that don’t belong to you is even more commendable. For me, the delicacy of the exploration and the curiosity that leads the thought is what truly matters. Nationalism as we know it is outdated. It’s a time to align yourself to the ideas you believe in – not people who look like you.

BOUNDLESS 没边

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Trousers by BOUNDLESS 没边, bag by BEN 宋洋, creepers by Underground England, photos by Amber

As rooster year settles in, and I settle out of the food/sleep coma that’s been CNY, I’m kickstarting this year by hunting down true meaning. No longer will I settle for a brand’s semi-transparent rebrand based on the Likes of millennials to hook us on for years ahead. No, this year shall be full of genuine intention and mission statements that make you go ‘What? Oh!’.

So as we push beyond the norm, we – ironically – arrive at Chinese fashion brand BOUNDLESS (‘méi bian’). Launched in 2005 by designer Zhang Da, who comes from the Xi An province, BOUNDLESS breaks fashion convention – subtly and gently. Instead of releasing collections according to the seasonal deadlines, Zhang Da prefers to release capsule collections based on specific concepts. Inspired by Chinese philosophies and traditional ways of making clothes, his capsule collections are minimalistic and soft and natural. A breathe of fresh air with unexpected quirks (like these painted jeans haha). His knack for using understated materials (silk, cotton, linen) and real human beans as models is what led him to be a part of Hermès Group’ Chinese label Shang Xia‘s OG team of designers, as well as having his work exhibited at UCCA.

FYI: Shang Xia integrates and reinterprets Chinese culture and traditional methods in a modern way. Sleek Chinese minimalism is all I can say – not sure if the price point indicates that I am not yet of age to be considered their target audience, but have a look anyway. Definitely interesting to see how a big powerhouse like Hermès is finding new ways to tap into the Chinese market.

On another note, I recently copped some video equipment! While creating images and finding out new weird ways of presenting them still counts as my #1 hobby, I can’t shake the FOMO feeling that video can help me better connect with you guys. I want to show you the baby China I’ve gotten to know – from my one year of living here previously as an exchange student, and now as a full-time creative in Beijing. So much to shows!!!! Stay tuned. Bye babes.