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 Nationalism as we know it is outdated.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.

The lungin is easy but the squatin is hard

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Dress by Song for the Mute, shoes by ALYX, coat by Lucien Wang

It’s been a hot second and took a rare blue sky day for me to realize that – fuck! – I haven’t shot anything in a while. Since the dawn of 2017, I’ve been invigorated to do more, shoot more, see more. I moved to Beijing in August and the past 5 months have passed by faster than delivery men on 11.11. I’ve been work-working and enjoying the transition into adult life, but I have definitely missed doing personal projects or things just because. So here I am. Back at it. ELLO.

I shot these with Dong Liang veteran turned photographer, En Tong 恩同. A mix of Chinese designer Lucien Wang (previously featured here), Song for the Mute dress, and my new obsessions – the Alyx hiking boots that I got myself for Christmas. I’m less into complicated get-ups these days, more into combining larger pieces that are individual in their own right but fit together like Legos – chunky and fun. When the only color you wear is black (and you don’t want to look completely like a Fall Out Boy – which I admit is not a bad look) you’re almost encouraged from enrolment to experiment more with furs, leather, lace, prints…. It sounds like I’m on the verge of transitioning into a life of burlesque but, you know, small doses LOL.

OLD SCHOOL NEW SCHOOL

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A golden spare moment during Golden Week to update this site. I previously featured MS MIN before, but with her FW16 collection it just keeps getting better. New structure, avant-garde silhouettes, all black. My kinda paradise. Also, updates are coming in slow I know. Feeling finally settled in Beijing now so I’m being greedy and embracing life. I’m planning on more proper designer features – interviews, studio visits – and creative collabs so stay tooooned (and toned). Big love.

Wearing MS MIN FW16 blouse and dress