When I decided to immigrate to China, I was sure that I would get an eyeful of the old, familiar, mandarin collar style tradition.
I researched as much as possible–the cultural differences between America and China, and the greatest lesson I learned is that there are so many douchebags that post online about their experiences, and that many of the words, opinions and experiences shared were from the minds of creepy expats. However, I initially trusted the words of these well spoken online presences and decided not to bring any blue, white or black clothing because of supposed Chinese tradition, superstition and custom. I was prepared to start bowing more often and tip-toe around the streets trying not to make any offensive moves or gestures. Really, David? Yes, really . . .
American style is wonderful, but I want to see what everyone else has to say; at least what Chinese people express and teach in their wanderings through town as I see them through my seen-this-seen-that-jaded-eyes craving for something other than Ray-Bans, skinny jeans, dangling suspenders and conforming style grouping. Peace out, here’s my plane ticket.
I am currently centered in Xindu, Chengdu, Sichuan, PRC. Xindu is a distance from the big city, Chengdu, but it turns out that the Sichuan Conservatory of Music is in my area. Still with me? This is where I have formed my opinion of Chinese fashion. The university students are pursuing jobs in the Entertainment Industry as presenters, newscasters, actors, dancers of multiple teachings including popping, b-boys, hip hop, ballet and Latin and all other venues for Entertainers to enter the business scene. Around, I can clearly see individuals that carry their own aura; style. The popular trend is to be loud, colorful and cool. Inspiration is very evident from the colorful Korean wardrobe, the Kawaii Japanese style (no, not Loita, just cute), and the influence of Western sports culture. We all have seen English misspellings in Eastern style, brand emulation for the affordable budget, pattern-mixing and false glasses, so I will not focus on those topics. I see around me heads colorful in pink, lime green, lavender, blue, blondes and what I call burnt-violet. On first sight, I thought to myself, Geez, ARTPOP, much? But that is a habit of mine, to associate something exotic with an icon. So maybe I am right, maybe they are just cool by themselves.
My focus subject is Cha Cha-Sama. His style is fun, romantic, strong, androgynous at times, and colorful; I can totally relate to him on a visual level. I consider the thin male figure unafraid to disregard the cookie-cutter gender demands to be futuristic and reflective of what more there is to come. This is what to bring in front of the eyes. Fashion has the power to connect people together in more ways than I have heard discussed. Perhaps it is inexpressible, the light of fashion and human interaction. In friendships, I strive to gather around me other people that I can learn from and share special non-verbal communication in the form of designer’s intuition (textiles, patterns and garment cuts, construction). I love his style, just like I admire, respect and love G Dragon. I am sharing a test photo shoot in preparation for this article so that more people can see what has caught my attention.
I first met Cha-Cha Sama over the PSVita Connect Network. This semi-dark-social interaction does not include photos, stats, or much at all about the person behind the screen name because it is clearly used to simply connect with other players that share common interests in gaming. We became friends because I am a foreigner and he noticed my English name. Well, my Vita was stolen by a thief in the night breaking into my apartment. This was explained to me as a habit of Chinese people (by other Chinese people) due to the coming of Spring Festival and the need for money. Oh well. Actually, I considered it a loss because with my Vita I could no longer communicate with the gamer I was sharing English words with. One night I attended a painting class at the Sichuan Conservatory. I was there just to, “Pass the soy sauce” or simply show other art students my method of painting by demonstration–I was indirectly teaching a lesson with a professor nearby to explain to the younger artists what to pay attention to in my work. A cool boy had a Vita, and I explained my Vita situation. He said that maybe we were friends on the network, and then he showed me the screen with my screen name in the message box. What are the odds! From that point on we were able to continue friendship.
His style impressed me. I remember there was a single pink thunderbolt dangling from his ear, red hair extensions flowing from his cap, and a wonderful mixture of colors, layered knits and weaves and perfect color combinations. I continued to notice his choices and invited him to prepare photos so that I could share them with an American audience. More people should be models. More people should pursue sharing. Cha-Cha Sama enters the game.