Profile: GQ China’s Rocco Liu on talent, creativity in fashion

    Rocco Liu discusses staying relevant in China's fast-paced market and navigating the challenges of the fashion industry.
    Rocco Liu, the editorial director of GQ China. Image: Courtesy
    Jing DailyAuthor
      Published   in Fashion

    In an age when digital platforms dominate and self-publishing creators increasingly shape the tastes of young consumers, traditional print media faces significant challenges staying relevant.

    Among them, GQ China has steadily built a large following in the country, amassing billions of reads for its Weibo post on the publication’s “Men of the Year” gala in December last year.

    Jing Daily recently spoke to Rocco Liu, the editorial director of GQ China, to learn about the publication’s fashion and editorial strategies, as well as the secrets behind its appeal among an increasingly style-savvy Chinese male readership.

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    Jing Daily: Do you have any advice for young talents eager to dive into the fashion industry?

    Rocco Liu: Navigating the fashion scene can sometimes feel like a maze. It's crystal clear that often you’re the one crafting or ferrying the content, not always the star of the show. This industry is a melting pot of incredible talents, and it’s easy to feel a bit lost, both spiritually and materially. My biggest piece of advice? Have a clear vision of what you’re passionate about and what you want to achieve.

    Chasing after the glitz and glamor might seem appealing, but it’s the love for creativity and your own ideals that’ll keep you grounded. If you’re drawn to the deeper, more creative aspects of fashion, those that resonate with your passions, then you're less likely to be swayed by the industry’s whims. Remember, it’s not just a mental game; it requires physical stamina, too. Make sure you’re fully prepared to take on both challenges.

    JD: How does ‘GQ China’ stay relevant In China’s fast-paced, rapidly evolving media landscape?

    Rocco Liu: Creativity and the current consumer mood are deeply intertwined. Each successful creative piece resonates with the collective emotions of a specific community at a given time. Understanding what young people are experiencing is crucial, as what constitutes effective creativity changes from year to year.

    JD: Looking ahead, what are your hopes for China’s fashion industry?

    RL: I’m all for breaking down walls, mixing it up with different cultures and industries. There’s so much we can learn from each other. I want to see the young creatives out there getting their hands dirty, exploring, and bringing back treasures that enrich us all. It’s about opening doors and letting the world in.

    JD: How do you think ‘GQ China’ stands out from other editions of the magazine around the world?

    RL: GQ is a global name, but here in China, we've put our own spin on it. We’ve gone beyond just fashion tips to really diving into what it means to live a fuller, more vibrant life. GQ Lab, our WeChat public account, epitomizes this transition, engaging audiences with creative content across multiple platforms. It’s about creating content that speaks directly to our audience, making sure we're not just another magazine, but a part of their daily lives.

    Image: Courtesy
    Image: Courtesy

    JD: GQ’s Men of the Year gala was all about ‘going crazy’ this year. How did that theme come about, and does it resonate with you personally?

    RL: The theme mirrors the current mindset of Chinese youth, who seek liberation from the pressures of urban life through moments of unbridled freedom. While creativity often drives me to ‘go crazy,’ maintaining a stable mental state is essential during interviews and team management.

    JD: Speaking of creativity, do you have a personal philosophy, or methods you swear by?

    RL: My creative motto is “go big or go home.” I want to make sure my ideas can create as much impact as possible. When it comes to being creative, I have a two-step approach. I’m not one to settle on the first idea that pops up. I like to dig deeper, see what else is out there, and really challenge myself to stretch those creative muscles. And, of course, letting loose and embracing a bit of craziness from time to time is key. It’s about allowing ourselves to truly explore and express those wild ideas.

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