Although I rode around Beijing on Vega Wang‘s bike most of this past weekend, I still feel much less capable of describing Beijing’s street style than Shanghai’s… I guess I just don’t have as many pictures and references for understanding Beijing’s sartorial culture, but given the Alexander Wang party that I attended on Friday night, I felt as if Beijing was a bit more hip than Shanghai to be honest… Or at least a bit more “underground.” It could partially be because the Alexander Wang party was in a parking garage literally underneath Sanlitun’s Village and DJed by Diplo, or because I spent a majority of my time in Beijing’s enchanting hutongs, but the city as a whole seemed grungier and more street and “real” (if it’s fair to use that term) than it’s commercial sister city Shanghai.
Two hip, street savvy Chinese boys on “skateboards” in Beijing’s hutongs proved that at least parts Beijing’s youngest generation are cool yet down to earth, and not at all concerned with pretense (or pretension? Is that a word too?) but rather just having fun.
I feel like Shanghai can learn from Beijing in this regard, as I find the city becoming stuffier and stuffier with its commercialization. The saturation of the market with expensive stores and luxury brands, accompanied by boring, stiff, and all too proper events makes people too uptight and no fun at all. I don’t think China is inherently this rigid and formal in its culture, so although they should be dignified at certain times, at other times Chinese people need to remember how to just let loose.
Alexander Wang’s party reminded me of this fact, and I think he has the perfect brand to enter the Chinese market. Upscale but not pretentious, well designed and accessible, wearable yet edgy, I believe this brand will go far in China, and hopefully keep Chinese people simultaneously cool but also down to earth. China neither has the room nor the need for pretense/pretension, so hopefully it will stop developing in that direction… Anyway, more on the party and store opening coming soon.
In the meantime, if you want to see more of Beijing’s street style, you can check out my friend’s blog at http://www.stylites.net/