For those of you too busy to check in on the RADII website every day, we’ve got you every Tuesday with a summary of all we got on China’s youth culture from the last week. In this edition:
- A new trend among some Chinese students who have decided to bring the fashion show somewhere closer to home: university and high school student dormitories.
- Although food trends tend to trickle from one part of the world to another, the butter board might not spread to China so soon...
- Chinese rapper slash mom Zhang Tiegang became an overnight sensation after her cover of A$AP Ferg’s ‘Plain Jane’ went viral on China’s version of TikTok.
- Fueled by the pandemic, some religious practitioners in China are turning to the internet to connect with their ‘higher power’ of choice.
Intrigued? Keep scrolling, my friend.
Fashion weeks in Paris, Milan, New York, London, and Shanghai are global affairs and allow designers from all walks of life to showcase their latest creations by way of spectacular runway shows.
Not all fashionistas have access to such high fashion events, however, hence a new trend among some Chinese students who have decided to bring the heat somewhere closer to home: university and high school student dormitories.
Scores of students from across the country have been sharing creative videos of their DIY fashion shows on Chinese social media. In recent weeks, the hashtag ‘Dorm Fashion Week’ (#宿舍时装周#) has amassed 310 million views on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, while also going viral on the lifestyle platform Xiaohongshu and the microblogging platform Weibo.
The creative Chinese youth often fulfill multiple roles — models, audience members, and stylists — in their pet projects. Cramped dorms (usually accommodating four to eight students in China) or unadorned corridors stand in for the catwalk in their makeshift runway shows.
A stark departure from the glamorous catwalks of global fashion weeks, the dormitory fashion shows offer a humorous contrast to the excess and opulence frequently associated with high fashion.
If you think rap only belongs to gangsters and rebellious youth, think again. Zhang Tiegang, one of China’s most talented rappers, is a woman from Liaoning’s countryside, the smallest but most populous province in Northeast China known for producing soybeans rather than world-class rappers.
Zhang recently went viral on the short video platform Douyin, China’s equivalent of TikTok, for posting a cover of hip hop hit ‘Plain Jane’ by American rapper A$AP Ferg. The video had more than 3.2 million views at the time of writing.
Despite only lasting a few seconds and having an unglamorous backdrop, the clip has earned Zhang the unofficial title of “China’s number one rapper,” as bestowed by Chinese netizens.
Social media users have marveled at her impeccable English accent and sense of rhythm and dropped comments such as, “A tractor on the outside, a Ferrari on the inside,” and “NYU graduate who went back to the countryside.” Many also find her positive attitude and raw editing refreshing — “therapeutic,” even.
Her success is arguably tied to a broader phenomenon whereby Chinese consumers crave ‘rural content.’ Case in point: the hashtag for ‘Recording My Life in the Countryside’ (#记录我的农村生活#) has amassed a staggering 27 billion views on Douyin, and several bloggers have blown up for their creative — and often unfiltered — depictions of rural life.
- Guo Pei’s iconic imperial-yellow dress, which Rihanna debuted at the 2015 Met Gala, is now available for purchase — in doll size.
- Squeamish around needles? If you live in Shanghai, you can now opt for inhalable Covid-19 vaccines — breath in that sweet, sweet anti-viral goodness.
- A group of 16 older people from Shanghai have created a 15-minute remake of ‘Empresses in the Palace,’ a show previously released by Netflix in 2015.