I’m at the “Bring Me Your Vampires, Your Fae, Your Bulbous Alien Masses Yearning to Breathe Free” panel at AWP. It’s been wonderful so far. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the panelists have presented some great material on genre writing, and how some people seem to think that genre is the wrong way for new writers to go.

F156: Spotlight on China Week - P1Magazine Interview   

“Among all the Chinese fashion giants we featured for the Spotlight On China Week series, P1CN has definitely caught our attention with their success, innovation and aesthetics. As the first, leading website in Chine to feature street-style, P1CN has created the legendary change in Chinese fashion followers to pay attention to streetstyle. Additionally, P1CN has created an exclusive online social networking site which is for invited-members only. Now with over 2 millions members, P1CN is creating the most luxury online network for young, elite fashionable individuals.

Could you explain more about this street-style project that you are working on in London?

We are planning to organize an exhibition to showcase the progress of how people in China have styled from when the company was just established in 2007 until now.
In the exhibition there will also be trend analysis across various cities. The exhibition in China will be this year and we hope to have the exhibition here in London next year. The whole exhibition be also be compiled into a book and now we are working to get the English version of the book out

What is it about London that most makes you want to come and visit?

One good thing about London is that it treasures talents and London, as an art focused city, is one of the cities where streetstyle started. It has such rich culture and of course , there are many stylish, cool people.

From what we have seen so far, your website is divided into two different parts, one is online fashion magazine showcasing international street style, culture and the other part is an invitation only private social network for exclusive members, can you share with us a little more about the private social network part? What are are the goals to be achieved through this?

In 2007, the company started off as taking pictures at events, in nightclub and slowly transforms into to taking pictures at famous shopping centers where many stylish people are. Back then in China, there was no Weibo(the Chinese twitter, no Renren ( the chinese facebook ), and only a few people are on facebook. There was no real way for people with similar interest to meet and to organize to go to events together. So we wanted to create a leading social website in China for people with passion for lifestyle to meet, an online platform that brings stylish people together and inform them about interesting events.

Compared to other social networking websites such as ‘Weibo’ or ‘Renren’ (the Chinese Facebook),what can be some advantages for people to socialize through P1 other than factors such as exclusivity and meeting with stylish people?

P1 is where the trends come from, Weibo or Renren are the platforms to spread the trends to a broader audience. Also, P1 is creates a closer and more private social networking environment for the members, because people who met on the website actually go to parties or events together in real life whereas people meet on other social platforms rarely attend events together.

The private social network already has over 2 million individuals across China, how do you think this network will develop in the future?

It will definitely get larger and larger. In the past 6 years we took over 6 million photos and featured more than 1 million people on the street. When people tell friends about P1, words get spread out so fast and now there are even people deliberately going to places where we usually shoot and trying to be featured on our website to become a member.

What is the function of the magazine part in relation to the P1 network?

The magazine part is an indicator of ‘trends’. It provides information on cool and interesting events, which serves convenience for members. Our members look at the magazine part to get inspirations on fashion.

What are the factors you look for when deciding what events to feature on the magazine site? How do you determine if the certain matter is ‘relevant’ enough for you to publish?

The event has to be interesting and matched with the lifestyle of the members on the network. It is more ideal for the events to take place in major fashion cities like Beijing, Shanghai. Also we want to feature events, which we know that lots of P1 members will be attending. Since the photographers have personal connections with these stylish P1 members, it is easy to get information on the cool events our members will go to.

The website is also very famous for its street style part as it is a pioneer in China to shoot street style in major cities and showcasing them online. What are the challenges you faced when taking pictures of people on the street since streetstyle was ‘a new thing’ in China back in 2007 when the company was just established?

In early years people on the streets were not as collaborative, they presented mixed feelings about taking pictures because it was unusual for people to be approached randomly on the streets to have their pictures taken. They would always ask questions such as ‘why choose me’? So the photographers have to explain to people about the website everytime, but now people are excited to get their pictures taken by P1 photographers.
We also had the problems of having shops owner chasing after the photographer because they thought the photographers were causing trouble to their customers. But now as the website has grown so big and well-know between the fashionable community in China, stores would approach our photographers to invite them to takes pictures in their store for publicity.

What are the specific traits that you look for when approaching people on the street to shoot their style?

We look for eye-catching and unique individuals who stand out from the crowd.
The people we like to take pictures for do not have to get dressed so well, as long as there is something special about the way they look we think they are cool. Also, the photographers can decide whom to photo for themselves, they are like the first filters for the street edit.

Compared the Chinese streetstyle with the London streetstyle, what are the obvious differences?

There seems to ne a larger variety in the way people dress in china, London is more limited as people seem to get dressed more in the same way.
Another major difference is that Chinese people dress for the look, they do not necessarily understand the meaning behind each trend and the origins of where each type of look comes from. And yet, London people tend to know more about the connection between culture and history, people choose to dress in this way because the meaning behind this style or trend, whereas Chinese people merely care about the aesthetic aspect of the look.

If you could only recommend one city that best represents the streetstyle of China to the London /European fashion followers, which city would it be and why?

Beijing I would say, it has more variety compared to Shanghai, you can see people dressed in almost all kinds of look such as punk, indie and girlie. Beijing is where all the artsy and music people go.
Guangzhou ,surprisingly, has many stylish people and there is also a large variety of streetlooks. However during the wintertime it can be not as interesting because the west her does not get so cold that people do not necessarily wear the typical winter clothing pieces.

In what ways has the streetstyle in China changed from 2007 to 2013?

In 2007, people regard the way they dress as a representation of their consuming power, they always go after the expensive look because it represents high social status, not so many stylish and fashionable individuals at all,
In 2013, many unique individuals who dress to present themselves and their own personalities, get inspirations from the internet, magazine and ‘cool people’ around them. Most young people are not chasing after the expensive items. People do not so much focus to showing ‘consuming power’ anymore.
In general, the variety of looks just expanded by so much, not only influenced from Japan, Korean or nearby Asian countries anymore, the impacts from European fashion and culture has been prominent.

What do you think has influenced the fast and dramatic changes in the way people dress in China?

Internet is definitely the biggest influence. It provides more options to the way Chinese people can dress up and it also makes different pieces of garment s more accessible at a reasonable price. Online shopping website such as Taobao (chinese Ebay) provides pieces similar to the big brands but in a very low price, enable the consumers to easily copy to the high-fashion look if they wish.
Internet allows young people to explore the western fashion, from looking popular online fashion website and trend reports etc, they become more and more influenced by a large variety of cultures and looks, and they can decide for themselves what is cool. Then they can quickly search for items they like on Taobao and have the look they want in just a few days.

How did you select photographers when the company just started in 2007?

In the beginning, we found photographers through personal connections. Some of them are professional, some are not. We generally look for outgoing and sociable people, photographic skills can be learnt later on, but because photographers act an important medium between the website and customers, they need to have good social skills. It is often interesting how some non-professional photographers take better photos and can better spot stylish people.”

Image Source: P1CN

Posted by: Frieda Zhang

Read more: http://www.fashion156.com/daily-blog/#ixzz2ao3n8Sau

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