EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jiacheng Wu
CONTRIBUTING WRITER Yung Shun Lin
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Daniel Knott Elisa Carnicer Emil Pabon Federico Fernandez Wei Xing
SPECIAL THANKS Kate Nakamura Stephan Rabimov
COVER: Photography Daniel Knott, Styling Ethan Keen, Grooming Sam Ashcroft Model Felix Kallstrom at Kult Models Australia, Fashion Stylistâ€™s Own Original Publisher Backyard Opera
photography by Emil Pabon
RAF SIMONS SPRING 2017
GUCCI SPRING 2017
J.W.ANDERSON SPRING 2017
IN FASHION, GENDER LINES ARE BLURRING
THE RISING STARS OF MENSWEAR DESIGN IN CHINA
TALK WITH WEI XING OF MIXSEVEN
FASHION LAND: GODS & MONSTERS
photography by Federico Fernandez
photography by Elisa Carnicer
photography by Daniel Knott
photography by Emil Pabon
photography by Wei Xing
EDITOR’S WHISPERS Jiacheng Wu, Editor-in-Chief Men used to be afraid of looking feminine and regard dressing fashionably as a stupid and funny act. Now men are realizing, as women have known for centuries, that fashion is a way to express their personalities and identities. They have started to explore who they really are, and some of them have found they are not like typical men or like typical leading men either. Therefore, they have started to challenge gender roles, defy gender stereotypes, and are trying to show a new attitude. Hence, fashion has become a tool for these men, and this new generation is the boldest group to use fashion to advocate their identities and freedom. When I was conceiving what kind of a magazine I could found, I felt stuck at the very start. I told the magazine thing to a friend, and she immediately suggested I should launch a magazine for men like me. In this friend’s eyes, I belong to a “special” group of men who are fashion-conscious, not that masculine, and what’s more, have some feminine aesthetic and visions. I was enlightened. I know I’m not “special” because there are a lot of “me” who exist out there, yet there is rarely a men’s magazine which speaks to us. Then Boyhood was born. The conception of the magazine was also inspired by trends and phenomena like “boyish”, “androgynous”, “gender-neutral”, “Generation Z”, and even “pedophilia”. We focus on male youths, explore subcultures of the youth, blur gender stereotypes, and experiment with what we find very inspiring with our new generation audience. Gender-neutral fashion permeates the whole magazine. Today in men’s fashion, gender lines are blurring. For example, you can see a willowy teenage boy wearing a granny’s pussy-bow blouse walking down a Gucci’s runway after Alessandro Michelle took the house. J.W.Anderson, who excels at androgynous designs, has been putting dresses on guys for many seasons. Moscow born and based designer Gosha Rubchinskiy is obsessed with the youth culture and he always presented a gaggle of schoolboys dressed in his signature Soviet-era-inspired sportswear in his shows. The visual imagery of those boys is exactly what Boyhood wants to convey. In this magazine, we share the most talked-about trends and subcultures of the youth, such as androgynous styles and LGBT topics. Besides an intriguing series of editorials shooting with like-minded photographers and stylists, we also introduce some featured designers and emerging talents who can inspire us or meet our aesthetic, and review their works. In addition, we’re glad to introduce our exclusive China Special section. Chinese menswear designers are becoming serious rivals of their Western peers as young male consumers in China become increasingly confident in their own style. Even what they are wearing has an inevitable impact on western trends. In this section, we present men’s fashion in China du jour and talk with Chinese menswear designers of the time. If Generation Z is the future of fashion, Boyhood is my hope for the future of men’s fashion.
BOYS Photography Emil Pabon
RAF SIMONS SPRING 2017 Jiacheng Wu Raf Simons left Dior last October because of the heavy workload and the lack of time to focus on his namesake menswear brand. Eight months later, his Spring 2017 collection showed in Pitti Uomo proved that the designer was still able to make waves in fashion even without the halo of Dior. And this time he collaborated with Robert Mapplethorpe.
Simons’ interpretation was generous and straight. Every look on the runway carried one of Mapplethorpe’s photographic works. The show was more like a Mapplethorpe retrospective with Simons as the curator. But the designer found a young, creative way to accomplish the “curation”. The portraits were printed on oversize shirts, apron tops and apron skirts. Mapplethorpe’s erotic art was also reflected by the provocative sexual images, leather thin scarves, leather biker caps, and leather dungarees, as an homage to his most controversial work depicting the BDSM subculture of New York in the 1970s. With a typical Belgian artist’s attitude, Simons was always obsessed with subcultures. The inventive loosely draped sweaters exuded an underground mood, while the cropped knitted vests gave a sensual feeling.
The Antwerp designer is known as a contemporary art enthusiast, and many times, works of contemporary art have been applied in his designs, like the collaboration with Sterling Ruby in his first Dior Haute Couture collection and the use of Andy Warhol’s drawings on the pieces of Dior Fall 2013 ready-to-wear. Simons always spends a lot of time seeking inspiration from contemporary art galleries and vintage stores. It’s said that he even came to Los Angeles every month to meet friends from contemporary art circles.
Last month Raf Simons was officially named the new chief creative officer of Calvin Klein. This NY-badass collection might be a perfect warm-up before he takes Gotham.
Mapplethorpe was a New-York-based photographer, whose works were usually sensitive but also controversial. These works featured celebrity portraits, self-portraits, nudes and still lifes, and these subjects were all represented in this collection.
Image Source of This Page: Vogue.com
GUCCI SPRING 2017 Jiacheng Wu Alessandro Michele is an eclectic magpie himself, as was his Spring 2017 menswear collection for Gucci. The theme of this collection was travel. However, the journey was not real, but imaginary. It’s a travel in the mind. “You can travel in different ways. With a book, you can travel. If I change the tapestry of my chair, I sit and I travel.” Michele told Vogue.com backstage. That made sense why Marco Polo’s travelogue in the 13th century was one of the designer’s inspirations. Half of what Polo reported in the book was not what he saw during his travels. The collection traveled through time and place. The western Renaissance and the romance of Baroque were reflected in the prints, embroidery, texture, and tailoring of the suits. The presence of Donald Duck was Michele’s passion for American cartoon culture. The cheongsam shirt and embroideries of dragons and tigers were the interpretation of an eastern mood. It couldn’t be more fantastic than a knit vest featuring a rabbit riding a dog. These different cultures and mixing references were in juxtaposition in the travelogue of Gucci in Wonderland. There was a black hoodie with the slogan Modern Future. It’s not a Michele’s satiric joke even though his designs looked vintage and past. Gucci is the contemporary, the future, the psychedelic that everyone wants to drink.
Image Source of This Page: Vogue.com
J.W.ANDERSON SPRING 2017 Jiacheng Wu J.W.Anderson’s Spring 2017 collection for men was a fairytale book. The designer started the adventure with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince. The models wore red interlocking crowns and flying goggles with orange-colored lenses. But the protagonist of the story experienced a different space trip with a group of other cartoon characters. Three jackal gods were dancing in a circle. A blue-haired female comics figure was speculating where to put her next piece of jigsaw puzzle. Also you could saw a sci-fi character with a ball-like head running down the runway. For giving more touches of fun, Anderson sewed a dotted eye with lashes, a big teardrop, and a gunny bag into a sided-closure coat. The Little Prince seemed to collect all the tears throughout the journey. Back to the actual garments, the collection was an another Anderson-exclusive odd but inventive chaos: a burgundy satin trench coat, linen shirtdresses with crayon scratches, gingham check shirtdresses paired with cropped flares, colorful knitwear, and sleeves trailing to the floor. Almost every piece was oversized. It narrated an impressive, imaginative dream, be it for children or for adults. Just have a surreal adventure with Anderson.
Image Source of This Page: Vogue.com
Photography Federico Fernandez Styling Luli Farrell Grooming Daniela Pastuszuk Models Bautista Gonzalez Montalvo at Universe Management & Goran Barisic at Civiles Management Fashion in This Editorial Christian Lacroix, Manto, Zara, Giesso, Masklo, Complot
IN FASHION, GENDER LINES ARE BLURRING Jiacheng Wu Today, gender lines are blurring. After Alessandro Michele took over Gucci, an image of androgynous style was what the designer introduced to the established fashion house. For his first menswear show, Michele presented a collection where crochet, embroidery, applique, silk and lace - which were usually associated with feminine styles - were all used, lavishly. Also you could see a willowy teenage boy wearing a granny’s pussy-bow blouse walking down the runway. Others, like J.W.Anderson, who excels at modern interpretation of androgyny by creating innovative silhouettes, has been putting dresses on guys for many seasons. Riccardo Tisci always sends out kilts on Givenchy men’s runway. And in Prada’s Spring 2016 menswear show, roughly half of what Miuccia Prada presented seemed to be taken from her women’s collection. She told Vogue.com, “More and more, it feels instinctively right to translate the same idea for both genders.” “I don’t think most men, especially straight guys, are ready for this trend,” said Bacca da Silva, a fashion specialist at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco. “But this shift is widely accepted by young people and it actually reflects the way they dress now.” The trend of fashion’s gender blurring today derives, to a large degree, from the late 60s and early 70s when unisex was the territory of rock stars like David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix. Women had adapted to the style of unisex and challenged gender stereotypes decades ago, such as Chanel’s cigarette pants and Yves Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking. But this time was men’s turn to blur gender lines. During the early 70s, pop culture pushed the men’s boundary of androgyny. Jimi Hendrix in floral blouses and flared pants and David Bowie in futuristic skintight jumpsuits
and satin kimonos triggered the men’s gender-neutral dressing with their feminized looks. As always, fashion trends are effected in large part by celebrities. In the 70s there were Hendrix and Bowie. Today we have Jaden Smith. The 18-year-old son of Will Smith showed up at his prom in a skirt, and was also a loyal advocate of androgynous styles. Even he became a face of Louis Vuitton Spring 2016 womenswear campaign. Also a 12-year-old boy became the face of Acne Studios Fall 2015 womenswear campaign. The kid, Frasse, was shown wearing a pastel pink coat, a high-neck blouse and high-heeled boots. The gender-neutral fashion is being challenged by new generations, especially Generation Z. Generation Z, the generation born after the Millennials, is more emboldened to express their thoughts of dressing and self-identity. The lines between male and female are becoming increasing blurred among them. They embrace it, and never seek approval from society. Xavier Liu, a male fashion student from Academy Art of University, said, “I’m 23 and I love those clothes for both genders, too. I think it depends on personal style and taste, but I have to admit these looks appeal to the young more, and also better suit them.” Today, as in the past, showing a male model in a female garment seems more intriguing because women have been wearing pants and suits for over a century. However, compared to the womenswear market, androgynous designs in the menswear market are catering mainly to young generations. As Generation Z grows up, and boys are turning into men, will this trend survive?
ENNUI Photography Elisa Carnicer Model Oliver Springman at MiLK Management London Original Publisher VULKAN Magazine Online
THIS PAGE SWEATER H&M OPPOSITE SHIRT MODELâ€™S OWN
THIS PAGE: SHIRT MODEL’S OWN PANTS LEVI’S OPPOSITE: SHIRT ZARA
THIS PAGE JUMPER ADIDAS ORIGINALS OPPOSITE JUMPER ADIDAS ORIGINALS
POLO SHIRT FRED PERRY PANTS CHAMPION
EMO BOYS Yung Shun Lin As I was performing my Friday afternoon routine, aka clearing my head by walking along the Central Park, a group of teenagers took me by surprise. There were at least 10 young kids gathering and giggling at the Bethesda Fountain. Almost every single kid wore fitted t-shirts customized with the names of different bands. Some were also dressed in polos with collars tipped up, as well as hoodies. From the waistdown, they all wore tight jeans. Though their hair was generally all in black, a few dyed their hair with pale pink, purple, blue, and green highlights. Upon closer inspection, I also noted a few neck tattoos on some of the kids. They all wore black eyeliners, and their lips, nose and ears were pierced. Intimate behaviors were widely demonstrated within the group. Patting heads, touching cheeks, kissing and hand holding. Interestingly, I failed at every attempt in figuring out their biological sex. They were androgynous both in looks and in behaviors. From a distance, I could barely tell who was a boy or a girl. But is it even important at all? I decided to do a quick Google research for more clarity on what I saw, and much to my surprise “Emo” was a very popular result of my search. Emo stands for emotional hardcore. It is a sub genre of punk music since the mid-1980s. Participants in this subgroup are emotional and sensitive who release their emotions through music and styles. Unlike other gender-blending subcultures revealing transgender identity, a distinct androgynous look can be found within that subculture. However, like other subcultures, they have something to repute and to rebel against the mainstream culture as well. Emo kids are widespread in American high schools and college campuses today. It is interesting to see how these young male kids nowadays broaden femininity and shun away from the traditional masculinity to the point where they can kiss and hold hands with the same sex
in public. It makes one wonder what it means for indivisible males in the subgroup when participating in this type of dressing and behavior? I walked up and introduced myself. I also invited three of them to have a cup of coffee with me right there in the Central Park. The Emo boys were James and David. James was born and raised in Brooklyn and has maintained his sense of style for 5 years, having been introduced to it since the age of 17. David was 20, from Texas, and attended New York University when I met him. The Emo girl was Kitty who moved to Queens when she was 12. It was her 4th year as an Emo girl. James and Kitty were a sweet couple. The three had been close friends since Kitty tried to coerce James to kiss David at a party. “Obviously the first thing we want to challenge is the heteronormative society. One can easily notice some of these kids, either girl or boy, dress in the same way, such as T-shirt, hoodies and girl’s jeans. Like we three do,” said David. Before he continued, he pointed to two friends in the group who proved that he was right. “The way that society expects how a boy should dress is just ridiculous.”
“No doubt Emo kids are writing a new phase of masculinity.” “Yes, it is quite interesting to see how people judge us. We kinda do it on purpose. I sometimes kiss Emo girls in the pub or on the streets whenever I feel she needs to be comforted. David too. It’s sort of our thing. Kissing with the same sex is never difficult for us,” laughed Kitty. “ We are there for one another. Those who are rejected by mainstream cultures will always be embraced in our group. So we dress the same and kiss the same sex to show we are not alone.”
James noted, “Although we dress and look more feminine, by wearing tight jeans and clothes… and, trying hard to look skinny, always fixing and styling our hair, we Emo boys still follow our own sexual masculinity. We love to make out with girls and have sex with them. Besides, we can talk about make-up after sex. How nice!” “It’s not like we dress in feminine way, or we kissed other boys so our masculinity will be castrated.” All of us laughed. I sipped my coffee and asked if Kitty found men who look handsome and attractive in the traditional sense. She replied immediately, “No. I never find muscular men or a celebrity look alike attractive. I am more attracted to thin, fit, and feminine straight boys. I mean when I hear them speak, almost like whispering, I just can’t resist them. The moment I hear them speak and see them act, I just feel like as if some cozy water are running through the veins.” I asked if any one of them would fall in love with another Emo of the same sex. James and kitty replied that they didn’t think they would. David on the contrary said he was open to any possibilities. Toward the end of the interview, James invited Kitty and David to go shopping for mascaras after having dinner with other Emo kids who were awaiting at the park. On the way home, it occurred to me that in a place like New York, how lucky I was to witness a group of people breaking the boundaries imposed on bodies and sex/gender. Through their style-fashion-dress, masculinity is open to more possibilities and interpretation, and no doubt Emo kids are writing a new phase of masculinity.
FELIX Photography Daniel Knott Styling Ethan Keen Grooming Sam Ashcroft Model Felix Kallstrom at Kult Models Australia Fashion in This Editorial Stylist’s Own and Model’s Own Original Publisher Backyard Opera
Image Source: Thomas Lohr for BoF
A NEW WORLD ORDER OF RUSSIAN YOUTH Jiacheng Wu
On October 8th, 2016, Gosha Rubchinskiy’s first perfume inspired by “the streets of Moscow” was launched at Dover Street Market London and the Comme des Garçons Trading Museum and Comme des Garçons Parfums shops in Paris. The post-Soviet, skater-infected and Comme des Garçons-operated fashion label is the latest to release a fragrance linked to streetwear, finding a blank space in the youth market, while T-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies are staples of the lifestyle. Today, menswear is all about creating a community with a subcultural style. Gosha Rubchinskiy is one of the leaders, and post-Soviet youth culture is the bond between him and his groupies. The Russian-born designer used to be a photographer who captured the life scenes of his skater friends and the youth in Moscow before starting a fashion business. Without any formal fashion background, in the summer of 2008, Rubchinskiy launched his first collection “Empire of Evil” with T-shirts, shirts, denim jackets and DIY sweatshirts with embroidery, which was showed in a local sports stadium with the fund help of a friend. “I wanted it to be like a performance. It was not about the collection, but about these boys, this generation, this energy. We had 600 people in the audience. No one before did anything like this in Moscow,” he said in an interview with BoF. However, the collection did not make any profit. It was Anna Dyulgerova, the former Russian Vogue fashion editor turned creative consultant, who unearthed Rubchinskiy and pushed the wunderkind to the world stage (Later she introduced the designer to Adrian Joffe, president of Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market.) In 2009, Dyulgerova invited Rubchinskiy to stage a show at Cycles & Seasons, a fashion week she organized in Moscow. The show was then covered by some foreign fashion press, and he also started to receive order requests. Due to lack of inventory, Rubchinskiy had to stop processing the orders. However, this media exposure earned him a ticket to London Fashion Week. In February 2010, during London Fashion Week, the designer presented his collection “Slave” as part of the Fashion East Menswear Installation. But after his return to Russia, the label was once again back to the undeveloped situation because of financial problems, till he met Adrian Joffe. Joffe was greatly attracted by the label’s vision and decided to Image Source Bottom Left of This Page: Gosha Rubchinskiy for Perfume Book Top Right of This Page: Gosha Rubchinskiy for Youth Hotel Opposite: Vouge.com
stock his collection at Dover Street Market London, which was also the first stockist to retail the brand outside of Russia. In 2012, the designer began his collaboration with Comme des Garçons. Now Comme des Garçons Paris International wholly owns the Gosha Rubchinskiy trademark and is responsible for handling the brand’s production and marketing, while Rubchinskiy only needs to focus on the creative part. In June 2014, the Moscow designer’s Paris Fashion Week debut with his Spring 2015 collection was a crucial breakthrough. Since then, sales have started to grow rapidly, and so far, there are about 150 stockists worldwide selling the label. In eight years, Gosha Rubchinskiy’s name spelt out in Cyrillic - Гоша Рубчинский - has become an irreplaceable mark of cool. In June 2016, he presented his Spring 2017 collection as the guest designer at the Pitti Uomo tradeshow in Florence. Not only did he offer signature 90s Russian sportswear this time, formalwear and tailored pieces were something unexpected and something he’d never shown before. The opening model wore a loose-cut pinstripe suit with his chest bare. A sense of sexuality can always be perceived in his work. This season’s collaborations with classic Italian ath-
letic brands - Fila, Kappa, and Sergio Tacchini - was Rubchinskiey’s other business success, a strategy to adapt to the changing times. Authenticity is Gosha Rubchinskiey’s charisma. His role as a photographer is reflecting more of who he is. He records what he is seeing and feeling at the moment in his designs as well as in his photography books. In October 2015, Rubchinskiy launched his photobook Youth Hotel, which captured Russia’s next generation and the environments they inhabit through his own lens. It’s contemporary, stimulating and optimistic. Content is the most important tool he’s using to communicate the image. The launch of his latest perfume has been accompanied by a new photography book “The Perfume Book”. “I do things about Russia because I grew up there and those are the things I really know,” Rubchinskiy said to BoF in an interview. “But I always try to speak with my collections, not just about Moscow. I try to feel what is the moment. I speak a universal language, although with a Russian accent.”
Image Source of This Page: Labelhood.com
THE RISING STARS OF MENSWEAR DESIGN IN CHINA Jiacheng Wu
The menswear market in China has long been underrated as it was largely dominated by some traditional brands. However, this market is greatly promising because of the population and the spending power of this country. Yet, it’s not easy for independent menswear designers in China to stand out and succeed in business.
GQ China has been dedicating to discovering and supporting emerging local talents in menswear. On October 14th, 2016, with the organization of the magazine, 10 Chinese menswear labels showcased their Spring 2017 collections during Shanghai Fashion Week, which in part, reflected the new generation’s visions of men’s fashion in China. The first show was presented by Hiuman Chau with her label HIUMAN. Chau, who used to study fashion design in Paris, established HIUMAN in 2009. The designer keeps seeking inspiration from travels and Chinese traditional cultures, and she hopes to combine oriental aesthetics and modern designs to create an urban man image. The latest collection of HIUMAN was inspired by the pop culture of Hong Kong, depicting real life in this city. The models were like passers-by on the streets, where you could see some stylish young men wearing oversized jackets, striped pajamas, long gingham shirts, or bucket hats. They lived there and represented the city’s street styles. From Top to Bottom: HIUMAN, Wan Hung, Chen Peng, Staffonly, Pronounce Image Source of This Page: BoF
Then, the scene switched to another place in China - Hainan Island - by the designer Yunhong Zhang. Zhang founded his brand, Wan Hung, in 2014 after graduating from Central Saint Martins. Inspired by his hometown, the designer turned the showroom into a colorful beach collaged by rags. The transparent PVC parka gave a touch of coolness in a hot summer, while the sand-and-wave print and beading created a dynamic vibe with a relaxing vacation style. 48
“Floating” was the theme of Chen Peng’s new collection. As a graduate from London College of Fashion in MA Menswear Fashion Design Technology, Chen Peng created his namesake brand in London in 2015, based on the concept of one-sized fashion. Exaggerated puffer jacket was a signature of the label, but this season, the designer used the light high-foam materials to interpret the notion - “a down jacket for summer”. Inspired by the life vest, the collection itself was like a struggle and survival of the designer from a “bright” bondage. The menswear label Staffonly was co-founded by Shimo Zhou, menswear designer, and Une Yea, accessory designer, after their graduation in London in 2015. The duo’s Spring 2017 show was like a cult, exuding a mysterious atmosphere. “Addicted” to amphetamine, they even tattooed the models with its chemical formula. The oversized or deconstructed outfits, puffy flare sleeves, and dangling big earrings would definitely bring in a group of followers. A sense of humor was what the designers always asked for when designing for a Staffonly man. The casting
of non-models for the display highlighted the attitude of the collection: It’s all real. Pronounce drew the curtain of the day. The brand was founded by another duo, Yushan Li and Jun Zhou, in 2016. Li graduated from Central Saint Martins and his Fall 2016 CSM MA collection was selected to stage at London Fashion Week. On the other side, Zhou won the Audi Star Creation Award in 2014 whilst his debut collection was showcased at Singapore Fashion Week in 2015. Their Spring 2017 collection was innovative and also wearable. Button loops were the most important element throughout the collection, as embellishment or joints of pieces. The designers didn’t sell their designs by telling a story, but just focused on the clothes themselves.
GQ China has successfully nurtured and pushed some Chinese menswear designers to a world stage, such as Xander Zhou and Sankuanz. Who will be the next to shine? We shall see.
TALK WITH WEI XING OF MIXSEVEN Interview Jiacheng Wu Photography Wei Xing Styling MIXSEVEN Studio Grooming JC Models Masha P at GFI Model Management, Sen, Ran & Dima at Active Models Fashion in This Editorial MIXSEVEN
What’s the DNA of MIXSEVEN? MIXSEVEN is a fun, nonlinear menswear label with vintage and minimalism styles. What’s the biggest difficulty you encountered when you started your business? In the beginning, I just hired an assistant and then started my business on Taobao. We did all the work, and we felt happy with it. The process (of running the business) was like walking in a dark tunnel. You would get more motivation when you saw a light and it was getting brighter. Even if I’ve had a much bigger team now, I still do all the products shooting and their post production. I think the biggest difficulty was being yourself and sticking to your fashion faith. What’s the biggest China’s fashion special? My answer is Taobao. Taobao is the biggest e-commerce mall similar to eBay and Amazon in China. Founded by Alibaba Group in 2003, Taobao facilitates C2C retail by providing a platform for small businesses and individual entrepreneurs to open online stores. Then a group of fashion designers - Taobao designers - emerged. Today, Taobao designers have become part of the backbone of China’s fashion. Even some of them succeed in bringing their labels to the world. In this issue, we had a talk with Wei Xing, founder and designer of MIXSEVEN. MIXSEVEN is now one of the most popular menswear brands on Taobao. As an emerging Chinese menswear designer, Wei discussed the Taobao’s influence on his brand and China’s fashion with us. To Taobao or not to Taobao, for Wei, that’s not the question. How long have you been in fashion industry? I’ve been working as a fashion designer for over 10 years. I used to study painting when I was young, but I didn’t go to college and never had any professional training on fashion design, which was one of my regrets. When did you launch your label MIXSEVEN? I founded MIXSEVEN and also registered the trademark in 2012 after serving as a designer of other fashion companies for almost 8 years. The reason why I left and founded my own brand was I wanted to do my own designs and work for myself.
What’s the most important inspiration for your designs? Or which fashion icon or fashion designer appeals to you most? I’m a big fan of David Bowie and his personal style. I usually get inspiration from ’70s and ’80s, and my latest collection (Fall 2016) was inspired by disco music. Raf Simons is my favorite designer because he is always being himself and never drifts with the current. His work is edgy and also humanistic. He is a real trendsetter. Today fashion is all about selling a concept or a subculture to cater to young consumers, which Vetements and Gosha Rubchinskiy are really good at. What do you think of the phenomenon? Is MIXSEVEN a part of them? Consumers pay for what has an impact on themselves. It’s not accidental that designers like Gosha who put their own unique style or subculture into designs become well-accepted or even mainstream. Every style or subculture could be mainstream, which all depends on consumers. However, MIXSEVEN is not limited in a specific style. I don’t want to define MIXSEVEN with a specific tag. MIXSEVEN is a menswear brand that emerged and developed on Taobao. What do you think of this platform and its influence on China’s fashion industry? Today, China is an undisputed superpower, so is our fashion market. We have a lot of indie fashion designers,and most of them advertise their designs as original. Then Taobao provides these emerging designers with a platform to show their originality to our consumers in a more affordable way. It’s all 51
about convenience and reasonable prices. However, the public’s general impression on Taobao is that Taobao fashion is not high fashion and Taobao quality is poor either. It’s not true. Even buyers now purchase Taobao brands for their offline fashion boutiques. Customers in China, especially young generations, are increasingly aware of their personal styles and don’t shop blindly, while Taobao offers them a wide range of options to be themselves. It dose have a great impact on China’s fashion. It’s a fact that many Taobao designers are having outstanding performance in China’s fashion industry or even on the world stage. SANKUANZ is one of the best examples. But the designer closed his another label Ze by SANKUANZ which was only for Taobao before he had a show at London Fashion Week in 2014. He said
in a interview, “You have to do commercial first if you (fashion brands) want to survive.” Do you agree with him? Yes, I agree with him. Design and management are two different things. Management is commercial. It’s the base. Wanna run? Bend your knees first. Can you share your next plans for MIXSEVERN with us? We are panning to open a women’s line as we’ve got many female customers and I can see a women’s line is in demand. I feel confident in my designs. What I’m focusing on is the brand’s style, quality and supply chain. The growth can’t be rushed, but I have faith in MIXSEVEN. You will see MIXSEVEN at London Fashion Week, lol.
FASHION LAND: GODS & MONSTERS THE FUTURE OF FASHION JOURNALISM Jiacheng Wu On the list of BoF 500, there is a group of members consisting of Eva Chen (Head of Partnerships of Instagram), Evan Spiegel (Co-Founder of Snapchat), etc., who have been filtered into the role of “Fashion 2.0”. No doubt, Internet has become an indispensable part of fashion industry, and what Internet has the deepest impact on in the industry must be fashion journalism. Today, for example, almost all the brand-name print fashion magazines have their own digital editions. Even InStyle UK closed its print edition to relaunch as a digital first brand. Former go-to names for fashion followers such as Cathy Horyn, Suzy Menkes and Tim Blanks are now replaced by Chiara Ferragni, Susie Lau and Bryan Boy. These new generations - fashion bloggers - are given the title of ‘style mavens’ and are also a fixture of fashion weeks, always catching the lens of Phil Oh or Tommy Ton. However, fashion critic Suzy Menkes aimed her ‘pen gun’ at those fashion enthusiasts in the article, “The Circus of Fashion”. She compares the ‘black crows’-traditional journalists-with style bloggers who she describes as the ‘peacocks’, and she writes, “judging fashion has become all about me: Look at me wearing the dress!” It seems that the real runway shows are held outside the houses and what happens there even overtakes the collections sent down by designers. In fact, many bloggers’ critiquing is full of a strong preference, not to mention that their assumed unbiased content is often the result of being bribed by brands’ PR. However, it is an age when any individual with access to the Internet can be a commentator or an image-producer. We cannot deny the impact of fashion bloggers on mainstream media production because fashion journalism has shifted from text-dominant to image-dominant content. Fashion blogs provide an image-oriented platform for all to participate in criticism, a way that the public audience appreciates but is out of reach when it comes to traditional media. Indeed, there is little room for negative reviews in fashion magazines as they heavily rely on advertisers. The wildly welcomed interactivity and instantaneity of online media poses a challenge to traditional journalism for change.
The line between producers and consumers has been blurred by new media, and so has the line between bloggers and journalists. In China, a wealth of fashion bloggers has taken fashion editors for quite a long time before stepping into the blogosphere (like Gogoboi), which means they can write well, have journalistic skills, and know how to deal with the financial relationships with brands properly. Even several ‘untrained’ fashion bloggers have been contributing their thoughts to traditional media. On the contrary, respected veteran fashion journalists have also found their ways to adapt themselves to the times of Internet boom. Cathy Horyn and Joe Zee were two cases in point. Before leaving the post at The New York Times and joining The Cut as criticat-large, Horyn had also penned the daily ‘On the Runway’ blog for the magazine, while Joe jumped to the internet giant Yahoo, serving as editor-in-chief of Yahoo Style, after he had been creative director of Elle US for seven years. Yet, isn’t content what matters most to fashion journalism? The Internet provides a means of distribution of content to a world-wide audience. What bloggers have done is to open up fashion to be enjoyed in a more straightforward way, and more importantly, they have democratized fashion. For traditional fashion journalists, blogging is not a threat, but an opportunity of self-examination and self-enhancement. Why is the content of blogs more intriguing? Are the stories written in magazines inspiring or enlightening enough? Today, fashion journalists have to know fashion history well and be highly sensitive to various aspects of our social life such as culture, art, or even politics, and then use them in fashion journalism to contextualize their analysis. While Suzy Menkes and Cathy Horyn continue to cover catwalk shows with their uncompromising attitude, Tim Blanks goes on contributing his beautifully informed reviews to BoF after leaving Style. com. Still,there is a place for thoughtful writing, and I hope the integrity of fashion journalism is always at the very heart of what is written, be its writer a blogger or a journalist. 60
BAUKE Photography Emil Pabon Styling Mariska Groothuis Grooming Chris Volkers Model Bauke van der Zijp at Brooks Modeling Agency Amsterdam
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