Shanghai Fashion Week SS22 (October 8-16) is here and with that comes some label lickin’ goodness courtesy of the Week’s LABELHOOD showcase (October 9-13), home to the most seductive of China Fashion tantrums. Temper presents the 5W on our favorites of the line-up. First click: photographer Leslie Zhang. Check!
Born Zhang Jiacheng (张家诚 in Chinese) in 1992, photographer Leslie Zhang embraced painting before shifting his focus to fashion photography, inspired by Japanese artists Shoji Ueda and Yoshihiko Ueda. The self-taught visual artist supreme looks to his personal world and surroundings to feed his creativity, serving up a nod to Chinese iconography throughout his aesthetic.
Currently based in Shanghai, Zhang is often inspired by his childhood growing up in the Chinese cities of both Yangzhou and Nanjing.
Zhang, who studied fashion and film editing, works both digitally and in analogue, capturing faces, your run-of-the-fashionable-mill street typography, incorporating references to Mando- and Canto-pop MVs as well as Chinese iconography of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
Zhang has gained an international fanbase for his romantic portrayal of Chinese culture and a poetic depiction of daily objects. The man’s still-life and portraiture art translate a mood for love and sultry ambiance with a romantic view of everyday moments. The epitome of his stylistic influences combines throwbacks to his own youth, putting emotion at the center of every image. The East remains the greatest muse for his body of artwork.
Carving out a niche for himself within the Chinese fashion photography landscape, Zhang’s approach has many considering him a leading figure among his artsy peers.
In 2018, Zhang shot the cover for Nylon China’s April issue, which also featured his photography series titled “Little Flexes,” following a group of teenage gymnasts in China. That same year, Zhang captured Shanghai’s local clubbing scene for Dazed. Zhang’s magazine work also covered a collaboration with Dazed creative director Robbie Spencer and designer Simone Rocha for the 18th issue of A Magazine Curated By.
That same year, he was recognized among the Top 100 New Wave: Creatives at the British Fashion Awards.
Zhang has photographed for the Chinese editions of Harper’s Bazaar, Grazia, Vogue, GQ, ELLE, Marie Claire and T Magazine. Take in his most dazzling and ravishing portrayals right here, on his website.
When LABELHOOD Met Leslie
Hot, hip and happening China Fashion incubator and retailer LABELHOOD embarked on a collab with photographer Leslie Zhang and four Chinese designer brands, namely Shushu/Tong, YUEQIQI, YIRANTIAN, and NOMANOMAN, in celebration of Qixi (七夕 in Chinese) aka Chinese Valentine’s Day No. XXX. Entitled “Romance of China” (浪漫中国 in Chinese), the project kicked off on July 17. On October 9, they took the project to the LABELHOOD showcase during Shanghai Fashion Week SS22 with an exhibition called “Romantic”.
Inspired by the aesthetics of different eras in Chinese history, the creative team effort explores the romantic side of the Middle Kingdom in contemporary contexts via different cultural designs, photography, and offline pop-up exhibitions; an all-round strong and authentic showcase testifying to modern Chinese culture and fashion.
Any stylistic or representative choice is unconsciously or consciously the result of a path of life, which starts from the place where we grew up. In Zhang’s case, the color red is certainly a quote to the ancient Chinese paintings, combined with a skillful compositional elegance.
Red stands for communism. Red stands for censorship. Red conjures up thoughts of a mystical Middle Kingdom located far far away. Red has more personal associations than any other color. Recognized as a catalyst “drug,” this color genetically generates a feeling of excitement and, what’s more, the amount of red is directly related to the level of energy perceived. Red draws attention and sparks debate. A keen use of one shade of red as an accent can immediately focus the eye on a particular element.
Red is passion.
The fashion industry is what the artist finds most closely related to his notion of how to represent beauty. Zhang once told Dazed:
“More and more so I’ve realized the things I have the deepest emotional connection to and find most beautiful, are the sentiments from my memories of growing up in China. I now try to recreate these ambiances and moods in the images I create. It’s all about portraying and celebrating the little romances in our daily life.”
Starting the process and building a set from scratch time and time again, Zhang tells visional stories of everyday life with an off-the-grid vibe and eye-catching twists and turns.
See some passionate red via Zhang’s
IMAGERY: ©LESLIE ZHANG
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