With a global spotlight on China’s booming economy, the country’s more nuanced areas of growth have been overshadowed in recent years. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the “Waking Dragon” boasts a fascinating underbelly, complete with young culture to rival anything coming out of the West.
As guest curator of Chapter 52, CLOT will show us a side of China we don’t often see. Starting with an interview between co-owner Edison Chen and the RZA, we will also explore the legend of the King of Kowloon, profile international fashion photographer Wing Shya, explore Basquiat’s impact on Chinese streetwear design, and get a tour of Nigo’s® Harajuku. Other Chapter 52 contributors include Murakami, KAWS, Bobby Hundreds, Michael Dupouy, and many more.
Tsang Tsou Choi, better known as the King of Kowloon, might as well have been the first graffiti artist in Hong Kong, and was definitely the most public in how he sent his message. His motivation wasn’t that of a traditional “American” graffiti artist. According to the King, the land of Kawloon belonged to his ancestors, which made him the rightful heir. So he used his incredible calligraphy skills to write messages claiming his territory all around town. In 51 years he has created more than 55,000 pieces of artwork in 80 locations all over Hong Kong. Unfortunately, only a few remain intact today. Even the super-respected, multitalented artist and graffiti writer MC Yan treats the King like a god, and spent a lot of time trying to get a conversation with him. When Yan finally got a meeting, he was gifted with an original piece of artwork.
Ancient Chinese garments say a lot about specific dynasties. There are impor- tant details in the way the clothing was worn, the quality of materials used, and the style of the embroidery. CLOT takes inspiration from the styles seen in the dynasties that conquered Asia, and carries that tradition into the 21st century.
“Moon white” brocade dragon robe made to be worn by a nobleman for a ceremony at the Altar of the Moon during the autumn equinox, circa 1740. The dragons on the chest and back are front-facing and reduced in size, but are still larger than the ones on the shoulders and skirt hem.
CLOT is often talked about and celebrated, but perhaps rarely understood or fully appreci- ated. Especially for those of us outside of Asia, the idea of CLOT is borderline mythologi- cal. The brand retains an aura of mystery and cool that transcends blog gossip, consumer hype, and industry politics. The reality is that most of CLOT’s international fandom is hardly equated with the creators and story behind the project. So when KP and Ed approached me to direct this interview—in fact, the first interview the two have done together—I was honored. I’m a CLOT fan, but I also look to these guys as my brothers. So I guess you can say I’m a fan of Kevin Poon and Edison Chen, foremost. And I am grateful to help tell their story.
I’ve been a hip-hop fan since the age of 12. I was attracted to the spirit of the music, but I always felt out of touch with the themes—the street part especially. When I picked up my first Wu-Tang Clan album I was jolted by the Chinese influence, and it became a way I could really connect with hip-hop culture.
Through the journey of life I got to meet the RZA. This was a long time ago, when they were recording Wu-Tang Forever. He invited me to Legacy Studios where I met each member of Wu-Tang, watched them record, and talked with the RZA about film. After that we’d chill here and there, but I never had a chance to dig deep into who he is, why those themes are there, and how in touch he actually is with Chinese culture. FRANK151 gave me that opportunity.
Tai Pai Dong is a type of open-air food stall, once very popular in Hong Kong. The government registration name in Hong Kong is “cooked-food stalls,” but Tai Pai Dong literally means “res- taurant with a big license plate,” referring to the size of the permits, which is bigger than those of other street vendors. There are only a few stalls remaining, and Sing Kee is one of the most popular in Hong Kong because of the delicious stir-fries and authentic ambiance.
Mr. Lam Chi Sing has been the owner of and sole chef at Sing Kee Tai Pai Dong since 1958. It’s located on Stanley Street, in Central, Hong Kong, which full of Tai Pai Dong and has been around since 1948. Mr. Lam’s stall was originally called Cheung Kee, until the owner gave the business to Mr. Lam’s father in the ’70s. Mr. Lam took over the business in the early ’80s.
Wing Shya is a Hong Kong-based photogra- pher who works in fashion, film, and art. Born in 1964, he started his career as a graphic designer after studying at the Emily Carr Insti- tute of Art and Design in Canada. Upon his return to Hong Kong, Shya set up Shya-la-la Workshop. He regularly contributes to numer- ous international fashion and art magazines including iD (UK), Visionaire (US), Tank (UK), and other prestigious and influential publica- tions. Shya has also been the exclusive pho- tographer and graphic designer for Wong Kar Wai’s films, including Happy Together, In The Mood for Love, Eros, and 2046. Aside from being a well-known photographer, Wing Shya is also a recognized director. He has directed several music videos and TV commercials, as well as the film Hot Summer Days.
Staff & Contributors
Founder Stephen Malbon
Editor In Chief Adam Pasulka
Guest Curator CLOT
Art Director Nicholas Acemoglu
Production Director Jamie Story
Digital Editor In Chief Marisa Aveling
Associate Editors Nemo Librizzi, Lily Waronker
Web Manager Shana Pilewski
Video Producer Nick Dunlap
Video Editor Ben Boas
Designer Asa Turner
US/Japan Ambassador Daisuke Shiromoto
Far East Operations Directors Lyntaro Wajima
Contributors AMIAYA, Tony Chan, Matt Charof, Chef, Edison Chen, Evian Chow, Jymi Chun, Matthew Clark, Eddie Cruz, DDT, Michael Dupouy, Galerie Perrotin, Mark Goss, Mia Haggi, Bobby Hundreds, KAWS, Kazuki Kuraishi, Mike Lam, Norman Lo, Pat Lo, Jordan Loo, Ricky Lorenzo, Alvarez Montero, Carri Munden, Nanzuka, Winnie Ng, NIGO®, José Parlá, Kevin Poon, Alex Reyes, Darren Romanelli, RZA, Wing Shya, Soda, Ruslan Valentine Karablin AKA SSUR, Willie T, Ken Tang, Joe Tirado, Undefeated Inc., Matthew Williams, Rocky Xu, MC Yan, Michael Yuen
Editorial Lina Abascal, David Arkin, Hannah Armour, Ines Auzina, Kisha Batista, BLVCK KRVY, Tony Brown, Basil Burley, Maia Canter, Amanda Carrasco, Justin Carter, Jameel Charles, Spencer Cohen, Chris Dodds, Etai Drori, Erin Duncan, Jermaine Edwards, Paloma Elsesser, Ryan Fosbenner, Jeffrey Gamblero, Nick Gardner, Macedonio Guerra, Hash Halper, Evan Harden, David Jimenez, Max Kramer, George Leonidou, TJ Mariano, Charlie Mostow, Hitoshi Nojima, Paul Pastore, Ed Pick, Ricky Powell, Jacob Pramuk, Rack-Lo, Santra Ramirez, Briana Rodriguez, Shaquille Serieaux-Halls, Kristen Tauer, Paul Voler, Sarah Wolfson
Business Development Ali Sammour
Advertising Manager Dave Grigsby
Advertising Sales Larry Nuñez
Promotions Caitlin Collins
Public Relations Sydney Reising
Distribution & Retail Carlos de la Hoz
Fashion & Merchandise Director Erica Luciano
Finance & Accounting Nauman Khan
Legal Affairs Dan Tochterman