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Whether born in Shanghai or not, most Chinese fashion bloggers find their way to the Paris of the East at some point in their careers. After all, the city itself is a mirror of China’s fashion trends: a melting pot of cultures, inspired by the west, and just a little over the top.
Thomas Ye (aka Gogoboi) represents a new era for fashion blogging. Rather than running his own website, Ye carries out his influence through Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. At over 7 million Weibo followers, Ye has more followers than many of China’s top celebrities, but he is an unlikely icon. While many fashion bloggers promote their own style, Ye has made a name for himself by critiquing the style of Chinese and international celebrities, publishing fashion news, and describing interesting products to his followers. He is a bitingly funny critic, calling one actress a “seaweed wrapped rice ball on the red carpet.” Prior to becoming a celebrity in his own right, Ye was the fashion editor for Grazia China, where he developed his entertaining voice. He now lives in Shanghai’s Jing’an district, where he continues to blog, model, and cooperate with his favorite brands.
Born in Singapore, educated in America, and residing in Shanghai and Hong Kong, Denise Lai has a background that is almost as eclectic as her blogging style. Lai, who has a degree in Graphic Design from Pratt Institute in New York, is only partly about fashion. She is also passionate about travel, animals, and food, all of which make significant appearances on her blog and Instagram. Since its launch in 2008, her website, SUPERWOWOMG, has garnered the attention of international publications from Nylon Japan to Paper Mag New York. In addition to her blog, Lai heads up a quarterly magazine called FIRSTLOVE for “everyday cool girls around the world.”
Timothy Parent, although born in the United States, has resided in Shanghai since 2009. A fashion fan since his Harvard days, Parent founded a Chinese street style blog after his move to Shanghai in an effort to better understand Chinese fashion, as well as contextualize it for a western audience. That personal project evolved into China Fashion Bloggers, a platform for bloggers to share their China-related style opinions. That platform is now the largest English-language resource on Chinese fashion and successfully bridges the gaps between consumers, bloggers, designers, retailers and creatives.
Former Shanghai-based journalist Cheng Yan has become more commonly known by her online fashion alias: Pomegranate Granny Report, or 石榴婆报告 in Chinese. The insanely popular website, Weibo, and WeChat fashion blog received a RMB60 million ($8.7 million) investment from an unnamed company in 2015, making Cheng one of the most successful fashion bloggers in the world. She is a styling expert who pairs products from different brands to inform her readers on the way they should dress. What makes her blog stand out is its focus on American and European styles and labels rather than on homegrown trends and talent, a focus which appeals to China’s, particularly Shanghai’s, growing middle class.
Find Cheng Yan on Weibo.
Before becoming one of Weibo’s most popular fashion bloggers, Toni Zheng, also known as Toni Style, worked as a fashion designer for a local Shanghai label. The 31 year old’s own style, however, is what made her famous. In 2013, she was spotted at Shanghai Fashion Week, where her eclectic style stirred heated discussion among China’s fashion elite. Toni loves to mix and match different items in her wardrobe to create a look that is unique to her, but her Taobao (China’s wildly popular online shopping platform) shop sells reasonably-priced pieces that are more accessible to a wannabe fashionista.