Iconic subcultural imagery and gender-flexible patterns (and models) have become the trademarks of Zhang Chi – a young Beijing designer not afraid to take fashion tips from the dark side.
Like Vega Wang, whom we featured a couple of months ago, Chi studied abroad, returning to Beijing in late 2000s to put his education to good use in the fertile Chinese market – gaining traction first as a stylist and then as designer to the local stars. His runway shows often cause a stir: jewel-encrusted gas masks and pretty boys in thigh-high boots are just some of what you can expect.
We met Chi on the rooftop of his spacious new atelier (think minimal, crystal chandeliers and vintage arcade games) to talk about his roots, his work and about being an innovative designer in the relatively new and conservative Chinese fashion scene. Here are some of the pieces he shows us:
During our chat, Zhang Chi sited the video game, “Diablo”, as one of his influences for a recent collection, then switched gears to name a Russian symphony about a mountaintop witches’ sabbath as another.
His other inspirations for that same collection? Military uniforms and leather fetish-wear alongside pretty flower prints, which all ad up to make a perfect kind of sense in Beijing – the city of contrasts.
BONUS! Feast your eyes on Zhang Chi’s F/W 2012-2013 collection in action.