DAFF was recently featured on Hunger TV
, online version of the London-based biannual magazine “for the culturally and visually hungry”
from photographer and publisher, Rankin. With the latest happenings from across the globe on art, culture, fashion, lifestyle and the main faces within.
Launched in November 2011, Hunger Magazine was born from Rankin’s desire to celebrate the innate drive that we all possess and that, with a bit of creativity, can be used as an impetus for cultural change – we can’t think of a better match for a write-up of DAFF, that includes an interview from our creative director David Lin. Check out the full story here: http://www.hungertv.com/feature/shanghai-calling/
, or find the text below.
It’s mid-September; our tans have faded and summer is becoming a distant memory…if you live in London that is. Shanghai, complete with its 30º degree temperatures, sunshine and blue skies, is still a perfect place to play outdoors. Fortunately for those in the city the aptly named The Ice Cream Truck (TICT) threw the biggest lifestyle event of the year last weekend along The Bund, Shanghai’s world famous waterfront. Held on September 20th/21st, DAFF (Design, Art and Fashion Fair) coincides with a Chinese national holiday. The event allows the public to explore what the local creative community has to offer through a series of live performances, art exhibits and pop-up shops. It is a platform on which China’s rising creative talent can interact, share ideas and promote new projects, as well as connect with and inspire the general public. The fifth installment of this biannual community event received overwhelming attendance and enthusiastic crowds. Amongst the countless pop-ups participating we uncovered some rather ‘bling’ offerings from jewellery designer Zachary Goh, accessories at hip boutique Absoluter and lifestyle products by Jonas Mekas, finishing off with a healthy dose of Ethiopian street food at Helina Tesega’s Eat Ethio. I could have survived on the music, artisan food and drinking alone, but for the temptation of a smattering of live art and other sources of entertainment – catwalk shows, animated photo booths, a fixie alleycat bike ride with POLO&BIKE and even a free dog walking service! (n.b. bring dog next year). There were a multitude of things to lead us further astray, not to mention the daily Pommery happy hour… The masterminds behind this event at TICT confess to being inspired by “fresh new sounds, bad haircuts, late-night eats, and the fun-loving spirit of summer,” – not bad I say. In four short years the boutique creative agency has grown, they now host festival stages, giant warehouse parties and Shanghai’s most dynamic and international lifestyle event – DAFF. With their goal being “to foster a more connected, cultured, and creative community in China,” DAFF is the ultimate destination for those seeking to discover the latest trends and newest concepts from Shanghai’s creative scene. With that in mind, we caught up with TICT’s creative director, David Lin.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU’VE SEEN WITHIN THE CREATIVE COMMUNITY IN SHANGHAI SINCE DAFF STARTED AND HOW DO YOU SEE IT CHANGING IN THE FUTURE? Before DAFF started in 2011, Shanghai already had its fair share of “creatives” and talented individuals starting up new projects here. Though, it was a very loosely knit community with not a whole lot of interaction going on between the different groups. There wasn’t a platform for them to get noticed, outside of your average “weekend market.” I think DAFF has really helped these creative talents by giving them that platform to take off and run. Over the past few years, we’ve had the pleasure to see and hear many stories from people who were designing or making products as a hobby (most still had day jobs to pay the bills), wanting to start their own brand or company, finally being able to do what they love for a living now. Some of the biggest changes we’ve seen since DAFF started is the increase in collaboration, co-promotion, and a stronger alliance between these groups. More recently, we’ve also seen a huge influx of both entrepreneurial creatives and creative entrepreneurs (there is a difference), arriving in Shanghai from abroad, presumably through stories they’ve heard from friends about how fast this scene is developing out here. I think collectively between these homegrown talents and the continuing influx of experienced professionals coming from abroad, Shanghai’s creative community will start to become a bit more of an international focus for creativity.
BEING AT THE FOREFRONT AND A PIONEER OF SHANGHAI’S CREATIVE SCENE, HOW DO YOU THINK IT COMPARES TO THE REST OF CHINA IN TERMS OF CREATIVITY? Most of the interesting things happening creatively in China are in Shanghai and Beijing, unsurprisingly. Comparing Beijing and Shanghai, the two biggest cities in China, I feel the creative scene in Shanghai has recently become more edgy and avant-garde. You can tell the big difference of influences from Shanghai Fashion Week and China Fashion Week in Beijing. Lots of emerging designers are choosing to base their new businesses in Shanghai, which goes to show that in many ways Shanghai provides a better creative environment than Beijing, where inspiration may come from more traditional Chinese culture. Looking at the whole of China, I believe there are definitely lots of small groups of young creatives in every city. Though they are missing the platforms and opportunities to promote their projects to the rest of the country and the world, which also goes to show that in China there is this national platform lacking, which serves creatives in this country.
HOW CHALLENGING IS IT TO BE CREATIVE IN CHINA? CAN YOU DESCRIBE SOME OF THOSE THAT MANY ARTISTS FACE? As with any new city that one goes to for work, I suppose, everybody needs to start somewhere. Just because someone’s been involved in huge, client-backed creative projects back home, does not necessarily mean they are going to walk into that same position out here. You definitely need to prove what you can do out here in this environment. There are certain intricacies in how business is done. At least initially, the pay will almost always be less than one might expect, but hey, this is China, you can still live quite a decent life out here, as you save on basic costs of living. Lastly, attitudes here are still quite traditional in many ways, and the market is different, to say the least. There will undoubtedly be frustrations that arise both professionally and culturally, so that’s also something that one must learn how to deal with.
WHERE DO ARTISTS PULL INSPIRATION? ARE THEY HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY WESTERN CULTURE OR IS IT A MORE INWARDS-LOOKING PROCESS? I obviously can’t speak for everyone else, but I find my inspiration here between the crazy, fast-paced, neon, skyscraper city life, mixed with the slower, more traditional streets and way of life here. To me, China is a contradiction in every sense of the word. Nothing makes sense, yet it all seems to work just fine. In regards to the creative process, I think you’ll find both groups rather prominently out here. For instance within the art community, we’ve seen a lot of inward-looking, modern interpretations of very traditional Chinese art emerging, especially in Beijing. In other areas, such as fashion, you see brands like The Thing, who have unabashedly adopted Western influence, and have seemed to reap the benefits of doing so at the right time and with the right concept.
NAME YOUR FAVOURITE HOMEGROWN TALENTS: The Thing (fashion), Celia B (fashion), Keflione (French-artist based in Shanghai), Idle Beats (screen-printing studio), Strictly Cookies (creative desserts)
AND LASTLY… WHAT ARE YOU HUNGRY FOR? Eating more, travelling more, doing what you love… more.
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