Chinese Style, French Concession

As Shanghai Fashion Week approaches, the fashion media will inevitably ask both attendants and participating designers alike silly questions, the most likely being “What is Chinese style?” I say such questions are silly only because they are unanswerable by a single person or a single brand, as a collective “Chinese style” is only definable by understanding many different facets of Chinese sartorial culture, primarily street style and the domestic industry. So I want to start introducing some street shots of people wearing clothes that I think is indicative of the Mainland’s collective sartorial culture; however, as China is a diverse place with diverse people and traditions, it is only through a collection of pictures that we can start to understand the street style of China. Hopefully this blog has provided some incite thus far, but I’m going to ambitiously try and define this currently undefinable thing, picture by picture.

So here is the first shot to kick off this new series:

As Chinese fashion history shows, Chinese men have typically worn robe-like garments that Westerners would perceive as at least a tad feminine… Although this particular example isn’t as androgynous as other long garbs, it does demonstrate the propensity of Chinese men to wear more full-length clothes that their Western counterparts typically wouldn’t, likening such garments to dresses.

This outfit also has some traditional Chinese details, such as buttons. This guy also has a bit of a heel on his shoe, which makes the whole getup a bit more androgynous… But despite this ambiguity in the gender of his clothing, I think he actually looks quite masculine. I mean, a guy who can pull off a full length coat, heels, drop-crotch pants, and a ponytail has to be pretty confident in his sexuality, no?

So street style is just one side of “Chinese style”… If you want to learn more about the domestic Chinese fashion industry to understand more about Chinese style, check out China Fashion Collective to discover some of China’s top fashion designers, or check out for even more pictures and info.