Style Icon: Urban Tibetan, Shanghai

Meet Tibetan author and the first “China Style Icon” on CPHNS, Wang Lili:

I first met this nutty but loveable lady outside of last season’s Shanghai Fashion Week closing party, and we ended up sitting together at Zhang Chi‘s fashion show.

She was definitely one of the quirkiest dressers in attendance, donning a peacock feather in her hat, a large and diaphanous piece of fabric, and jeans she wrote on herself.

I don’t usually take pictures with my subjects, but this opportunity was just too good to pass up. We got someone to take a picture of (from right to left) my photographer friend Pablo, my new friend Lili, and myself after the show.

We started following each other on Weibo (Chinese Twitter), but never found the time to meet up. Then one day, while getting my computer fixed at Apple, I spotted a giant peacock feather and the same DIY jeans and figured it had to be the one and only Lili.

So of course before getting her attention, I swooped around to the other side to make sure it was her and snap a few more shots:

After getting her attention, she was so excited to see me and had to show me her coat, which she also “made” herself:

Basically she bought the coat and roughly sewed the white balls and big fabric bags to the surface to give it a personal touch… And that she did. And so again, we harassed someone into taking a picture of us.

I love finding Chinese people like Wang Lili (not only Chinese ethnic minorities, but any unique person in general who wears things a bit differently), even if I don’t make friends with them or see them again. This woman really does have her own style, and goes a step further to alter her clothes herself to fit her personality and aesthetic taste. She is ethnically Tibetan but lives in Shanghai, and is truly one of the most unique and interesting people I’ve met here… It was such a coincidence seeing her again, especially on the day I was wearing my Tibetan vest!

Happy Dragon Year Everyone, especially Wang Lili!!

Best Dressed Generation:
Gen X – 180 points
Gen Y – 215 points + 30 points because Wang Lili is just that cool = 245 points
Gen Z – 178 points