Shanghai is the business capital of China and it is the most inhabited city with a population exceeding 23 million people. While abroad this month, I was lucky enough to experience the Chinese Golden Week, a seven day festival commemorating National Day of the People’s Republic of China. The celebration included over a million and showcased the vivacious vibe of the ever-growing city. Situated at Pu Dong’s Century Park in the Bund (Shanghai's equilivant to Grant Park and Michigan avenue) gathered throngs of people to watch patriotic displays of fireworks and enjoy traditional music and food. The scene provided the perfect atmosphere for Shanghai fashion with every inch of the strip overwhelmed by the masses decked out in their finest.
Within the first day of my trip to Shanghai, my previously held notions of the city had immediatelyl changed. Sure, it was overcrowded and the language barrier proved difficult, but the energy and temperament of the people was beyond what I had expected. Telling of this was the fact that this week's bossy Fashionista had approached me to inquire about a pair of vintage aviators I had on, she even joked about a potential trade for her black stripped umbrella. Bubbly and vivacious, this curious college student informed me that she loves Vogue by pulling a copy from her woven backpack. While this Fashionista did not speak English, she affirmed; fashion is a universal language.
This Fashionista illustrates China’s emergence into high fashion with a look that combines the two themes of Paris Fashion week 2011: sporty and girly. After premiering a week ago, the Fashionista had already customized the ladylike aesthetic mirrored in the Marc Jaccobs, Valentino and Louis Vuitton shows and even added athletic touches featured by Alexander Wang and Proenza Schouler.
Shanghai's enigmatic energy inspires the media hungry, yet culturally grounded youth. Rocking military inspired leggings and a tutu-like skirt, this trendy lady is flirty and fierce. The combination of many trends into one look derives from Shanghai’s fearless and exuberant fashion culture. Fashion is a form of individual expression; to the insightful onlooker it speaks volumes not only about Chinese taste in fashion, but also the effect of liberalized culture on a once restricted society. High intensity and attitude is the norm among cramped and cluttered Shanghai streets, on one side the historic Bund Hotel is littered with the likes of Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana and Armani, while the other is filled with teens toting homegrown, yet becoming street chic ensembles.
Fashioinsta/o's seek to experiment by integrating their personality, culture and media into their clothing. The look may be labeled “crazy” by the previous generation, but it is that energy and hint of “chaos” that makes Shanghai unlike any city. For sport inspired cargos like our Fashionsta’s opt for J Brand's Houlihan in olive green. This trend can be worn alone or with an eclectic skirt and pumps like this two tone platform or cream tutu like this one redolent of Alexander McQueen's spring 2012 runway. Shanghai fashion proved invigorating and truly genuine. In a culture where being different is viewed as inappropriate, I found it admirable and becoming how the population of youth has choosen to express themselves creatively and visibly through their fervid fashion that is hardly homogeneous.