They are the power players in the Chinese fashion industry, they are the tastemakers in the glamorous world of beauty and luxury, they influence readers as to what fashion to buy. Jing Daily introduces you to the top 5 Chinese fashion editors you need to know:
1. Angelica Cheung: Editor-In-Chief, Vogue China
Known as a pragmatic and international player, Angelica Cheung is perhaps the best known of the fashion editors to Western readers. A Beijing native, Cheung became the youngest of Vogue’s editor-in-chiefs in 2005. When Cheung launched her first September issue in 2005, 300,000 copies sold out, and the issue went into a second printing. With an education in law and literature from Peking University, one of China’s most prestigious institutions, Cheung built her reputation as an editorial chief of Elle China and Marie Claire Hong Kong. In between, she had a stint as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. As an industry innovator and pioneer, she created the breakthrough Vogue Me, a print magazine that targeted Chinese millennial with tailor-made content—Vogue was the first in the Chinese fashion media industry to do so. When it first launched, the first 30,000 copies of the Vogue Me limited edition sold out online within six minutes.
About the magazine:
Published by Condé Nast and the state-owned China Pictorial Publishing House, Vogue China magazine has more than 2 million monthly readers and more than 5 million social media followers. The different digital platforms such as Vogue TV and Vogue Film complete its fashion media ecosystem, attracting various audiences. Vogue China was called “the most important Vogue,” according to the prolific Peruvian fashion photographer Mario Testino.
“Everything is changing; the world is changing; China is changing. And in China, because it was complicated to start with, it’s even more difficult for people to catch what’s happening. This is what Vogue China is trying to do: introduce a certain structure into a chaotic market. ” – Angelica Cheung said in an interview with Business of Fashion in 2017.
2. Xiao Xue: CEO and Editor-In-Chief of ELLE China
Xiao Xue is more familiar to Chinese readers, having maintained a popular Sina blog and Wechat account that showcases her travels and day-to-day activities. Many Chinese readers follow her writings for insights into her flashy editor role. Xiao Xue started her editorial career at ILOOK in 2000, taking the role from power publisher Hong Huang. She became editorial director of ELLE China in 2006 and after about 10 years became the CEO and editor-in-chief of this magazine. She became known for her cover-shoot collaborations with top Chinese celebrities, eschewing foreign celebrities and models, starting with the actress Ziyi Zhang. This innovative approach became a new industry benchmark at that time.
About the magazine:
As a part of Hearst, ELLE is the first international fashion magazine to be published in China. The publication reaches 6 million readers every month. In addition to a magazine, there is also a website, an app, a television channel, an online shop, and a credit card with more than 2.8 million female cardholders. Under Xiao Xue’s leadership, in 2012, ELLE China evolved from a monthly publication to semi-monthly in order to reach the lower-tier of cities in China.
“You can’t allow yourself to be led by numbers, you need to know your value by heart.” Xiao Xue commented on her struggle and lessons learned in the digital age, in an interview she did with Chinese fashion website Luxe.co.
3. Su Mang: Editor-In-chief of Harper’s Bazaar China
Su Mang is the CEO of Trends Media Group, which owns the Chinese editions of Cosmopolitan, Esquire and Good Housekeeping. In 2001, she collaborated with the American women’s fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar to launch its Chinese version and since then became the editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar China. She also inaugurated “Bazaar Star Charity Night” in 2003. The media attention and donation that the event received was exceptional. In 2005, she founded Bazaar Men, the first business fashion magazine for men in China, targeting those who “would marry a Bazaar woman.” She started her career in ad sales at Fashion magazine at the age of 25, and she has been heavily involved in the publishing side ever since, now considered a powerhouse magazine publisher in the industry. Huang Huang, the Oprah of China, commented that Su Mang’s magazine “symbolized the age of Chinese bling.”
About the magazine:
Launched in 2001, Harper’s Bazaar in China is a publication with a circulation of over one million. Trends officially announced the corporation with Harper’s Bazaar and renamed it again as Bazaar China in 2005. It covers the well-accomplished Chinese women’s lifestyles, often uncovering the behind-the-scenes lives of those successful Chinese women, offering readers a perspective of their struggles leading to fame and power. Su Mang named the mission of her magazine as “to make successful women more fashionable, to make fashion lady more successful.”
“I have nothing except dream and hard work. I very much don’t want to admit being defeated, I recognize that I won’t be defeated. ” –Su Mang in a featured article in NYT China entitled, “Su Mang and Chinese fashion’s road to desire,” in 2013
4. Xu Wei: Editor-In-chief of Cosmopolitan China
She is the one that set the tone for Cosmopolitan China. Graduating from Remin University as a journalism major, Xu Wei first started her career at Sanlian Lifeweek in 1994, reporting on society issues. She began at Trends Magazine in 1995. She has been the editor of Cosmo China for 14 years and is now vice president of Trends Media group. She published her own book, “Love yourself like how you love your luxury goods,” which offers advice about growth and challenges for young women.
About the magazine:
Different from the Western Cosmo “sex bible,” the Chinese Cosmo advocates a “power femininity,” encouraging women to look inside holistically, from their dress, cosmetics, even sex and relationships with men: topics that celebrate women’s assertive individualism and the pursuit of happiness. The magazine set a good example for foreign fashion magazines to locate their counterparts in Chinese culture with over one million circulations.
“I used to despise fashion, think it’s too superficial, after 15 years of being in the industry, I realized that to know yourself is as important as knowing the world out there. I think the meaning of fashion is to be able to look within, to love yourself and your life. ” — Xu Wei in an interview with Sina Woman in 2015
5. Shaway Yeh: Chief Editor of iWeekly
I-D calls her “Avant-Garde Anna Wintour,” Shaway Yeh pushes the boundaries of a traditional fashion magazine and has played a crucial role in developing Chinese fashion by her own definition. She is the chief editor of iWeekly, fashion editorial director of its parent company Modern Media. Shaway was born in Taiwan and built many underground publications as a student. When she studied acting theory at New York University, she founded fashion magazine aRUDE with many of her friends and then became the fashion director for GQ Taiwan. Amazed at the creative scene in mainland China, she moved to Shanghai in 2003. After working at Prada’s PR team and Conde Nast, she joined Modern Media in 2006. As a close collaborator with New Museum of Contemporary Art, MoMA PS1, China UCCA, she really pushed the local magazine to be seen internationally with her art connections.
About the magazine:
Modern Media owns 16 print magazines such as Numero Big City, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Good Life, Ideat, and 15 digital media including iWeekly, iBloomberg, iFashion. iWeekly magazine has generated more than 900,000 readers.
“Fashion websites would report celebrity gossip, even promote baby product, they don’t treat fashion as art and culture. So I decided to create something that would offer more intelligence,” she joked in an interview with BoF in 2015.