Model, style influencer, PR Executive at MR PORTER, and Co-Founder of Totem Collective - a wearable art project in the making. His creative mind, and sense of style is making him a powerful influencer. In The Little Communist, his blog portraying his social engagement and ability to tell interesting stories, he shares various perspective on society, art, fashion, travel and culture. Bohan Qiu is pure inspiration.
How would you describe yourself?
A China Boy.
In three words, how would you describe your style?
Mixing Shit Up. I get inspired by a lot of random things, and I love putting them all together. Such as the baggy suit trousers with perfectly ironed lines of old Hong Kong men paired with a Beverly Hills tourist T-shirt and throw a 50s emerald green silk kimono on top, and of course my favorite white UBER Hat. And you’ve got the look! I get tired of people wearing all brands stuff, needing to be able to “credit it” when being featured. Random stuff is so much more fun.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get inspired when I am far, far away from home. The feeling of travel, or how I like to think of it as “crashing into other people’s reality” sometimes, is where new ideas are born, and you bring them home to nurture.
Who are the most inspiring people in your life?
People who do completely different things from me. They can be politicians, engineers, programmers, sculpture artists, documentary film makers etc. They can always offer me a brand new perspective on what else is out there in the world I need to learn, respect, or learn to respect.
What engages you?
Knowing that at the end of the day I’ll be able to say, I made that, and made other people happy.
What made you start your own project?
I have always wanted to create something that I would be proud of and respect myself doing. I have been having a lot of ideas, and on the coldest day in Hong Kong this year, I stayed up all night over tea and cigarettes and got excited about this one, and decided to push myself to it and see what happens!
What is the story behind Totem Collective?
At first, we simply wanted to make a perfect tote bag, which is a product the we have always wanted but could never find. Then the idea extended further, and the patch element which you can attach or detach from the bag naturally became the core concept of this project, which is to engage the art, fashion and design we love and create something that could continue to inspire others.
In your job you get to travel quite a bit, what is the best place to travel in the world, and why?
For work, I usually enjoy Shanghai, Beijing or Paris, simply because I have so many friends there that it always feels like going home.
In recent years, I started traveling in China more and I’m starting to discover more and more places that remain lesser known to the world. Personally I am in love with Yunnan province in south-western China. It has so much to offer and the ethnic minorities’ culture always fascinate me so much. You can relax by the breathtaking Erhai Lake and go for a day hike in the snowy mountain ranges, and then grab a drink at the alleyways of a thousand-year-old city. It’s where many urbanite escape to and settle for a slower and more spiritual life.
What is your perspective on living in Hong Kong?
I was really tired of it at one point due to the lack of space and creativity in this city. But there is slowly a new and exciting community that attempts to do something new, something fresh and something exciting. However, the rent of the city definitely killed a lot of the youth culture, especially among locals and that is something that makes me sad. You simply cant have any aspirations of the youth life one deserves when you have to go home and drink mama’s soup every night. I love my parents, but the distance has actually made us much closer.
In what way is Hong Kong different from the rest of China?
They are very different. But I am starting to feel like China is surpassing Hong Kong in many ways. As the windows of opportunities in Hong Kong close up, young people are losing their focus. They have the attempt to do things, but their vision is shrinking. Whereas now the energy in many Chinese cities are incredibly exciting. On top of economic growth, art, music, design, fashion, film, to youth culture, innovation and way of life, China is becoming much more diverse and interesting, whereas Hong Kong is just still the financial hub it brands itself as.
What is your biggest dream?
To eliminate social class structures and replace human labor with machines, and have the whole mankind live in a society where resources are being distributed in an economic way, shared scientifically and not controlled by the 0.1%. That’s why incorporating environmental and philanthropic elements in whatever I do is always in the vision.
In your opinion, what is the fashion capital of the world?
I think the concept of fashion capitals is fading. Sure, the “major” shows and houses are still in Paris Milan New York. But every city has its own “dress code” nowadays, and major houses would find inspiration from cities like LA, Tokyo, Berlin, Moscow. Therefore I think every city is a capital of its own style.
If you were elected the new president in the USA, what would you do?
Change the electoral system and make sure that such a big role wouldn’t fall into someone unqualified like I am, and then resign.
If you were to write a biography, what would the title be?
“The Modern Day Class Struggle and All the Sleepless Fun Nights That Comes Along with It”. I haven’t really thought about it.
Who are the most inspiring people to follow on Instagram?
@watts.on and @ignant are two accounts I love for new inspirations.
Check out a few photos of Bohan.
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