This is Daniel. Let’s take a quiz. Daniel is this many years old:
I don’t know if you’re as surprised as I was (I can’t tell if the pictures do him justice), but Daniel is 19-years-old. Not 15, as I presumed when accosting him in the street. It’s possible I was misled by the cartoon monkey.
Daniel’s also Korean, and one of the recurring themes I notice when shooting street style here is that everyone with a modicum of conventional style is Korean and/or everything they’re wearing comes from Korea. I asked Daniel where he’d bought his outfit. “Korea.” “Everything!?” I asked. “Yes.” It should be noted that Qingdao has a huge population of Koreans and that, statistically speaking, they have more money than the Chinese (a fact that I was informed “the Chinese” begrudge “the Koreans” about a week into my time here) so it’s more likely that I’ll see them in the relatively narrow commercial strip on which I live, and outside/inside the locales at which I find myself compelled to whip out my camera (Starbucks, H&M). That being said, one of my better Chinese friends, who I only knew in real life for about two weeks before he returned to school in New Zealand and our relationship took on the shockingly more conventional internet aspect most of my friendships have now that I live in China, was a fashion design major who dressed well (we had the same coat from Zara! So needless to say he had amazing taste…)
China is the biggest manufacturer in the world (that’s an assumption, but if it isn’t true then I feel deceived by someone in the American media), but homegrown designs and designers are noticeably lacking. Redstar, the magazine for which I’ve officially determined that I’m “freelancing”, covered a local designer last month and it’s my mission, which I’m now typing out for all of the internet-connected world to see, to get in touch with him and others like him and offer my “image consultant” services (at no extra fee! aren’t I…aware of the fact that they’re doing me a bigger favor than I could ever do them). You might ask what I have to offer these people, but that’s honestly a whole ‘nother story with a whole lotta background that I’m too lazy to go into. Huh…maybe this is why my blog is read by like, 8 people.