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Made-in-China Olympic Design: The Helmets of China’s Cycling Track Team

China’s Olympic track cyclists did not just make headlines today for their sporting performances, but also for rocking some very original and eye-catching helmets. The helmets fulfilled multiple functions – serving as safety gear, lucky charms, and as a promotion of China’s design and cultural heritage.

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China’s Olympic track cyclists did not just make headlines today for their sporting performances, but also for rocking some very original and eye-catching helmets. The helmets fulfilled multiple functions – serving as safety gear, lucky charms, and as a promotion of China’s design and cultural heritage.

During the women’s team sprint at the Rio Olympics on August 12, Chinese female cyclists Gong Jinjie (宫金杰) and Zhong Tianshi (钟天使) of China’ track cycling team did not just display their sporting talent by winning gold, they also showed off some original style by wearing the sprint’s most eye-catching helmets, which portrayed Chinese female masks. Male colleague Xu Chao (徐超) rocked a similar helmet depicting a male mask. The helmets soon became a much talked about topic on Chinese social media.

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Besides serving as safety gear, the helmets promoted China by portraying typically Chinese Peking Opera masks that, according to state media, conveyed China’s “national essence” and, in this way, could “show the world” this image of China – as China Daily wrote.

The female cycling helmets portrayed the Peking Opera facial masks of Hua Mulan (花木兰) and Mu Guiying (穆桂英), two legendary Chinese war heroines. Male cyclist Xu Chao wore a helmet depicting the comic Peking Opera mask of Zhang Fei (张飞). All masks were as bright as the flag of China. Red is also considered the most prosperous color in China.

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Peking Opera is ingrained in Chinese culture, its stories draw from Chinese history and legends. China has a long tradition of woman warrior literature, of which the saga of Hua Mulan and Mu Guiying are amongst the most famous. Hua Mulan is a legendary woman warrior that has become famous in the West through Disney’s ‘Mulan’ animation, that tells the story of a courageous girl who takes her aged father’s place in the army. Mu Guiying is perhaps less well-known outside of China, but she is an equally famous woman general of the Song dynasty.

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Zhang Fei is a famous Peking Opera character, a warrior general who lived during the late second and early third century whose legend is described in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.

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Besides promoting China’s “national essence”, the masks also show the creative side of ‘made-in-China’ design. The helmets were created by a Guangzhou-based studio named ‘Incolor’. Designers and studio founder Zhang Dongliang (张栋良) reportedly is a cycling lover who studied industrial design, and who has been painting and rebuilding bicycles for a long time. The helmet design was supposed to “fully embody Chinese elements”, as it was meant for the Chinese team, created by a Chinese studio.

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Design studio Incolor also features their three Olympic masks on their Weibo account.

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Weibo netizens applauded the design, saying it “shows off the distinctive character of China’s heroes” and praising its originality.

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There were also netizens who pointed out that the helmets were already being imitated and sold online (also on Taobao), showing screenshots of someone selling a copy for 288 RMB (±43 US$). “They have no respect for original design,” one angry netizen says.

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The female warrior helmets seem to have worked as a lucky charm the female team, as they won China’s first ever Olympic track cycling gold. Xu Chao’s helmet brought him less luck – he ranked 13th for the qualifications of the men’s sprint.

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-By Manya Koetse

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, Sino-Japanese relations and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Fashion & Beauty

“Moonlight Fairy”, the 88-Year-Old Taiwan Grannie with a Unique Sense of Style

There is no age limit when it comes to style. This is something that is especially apparent when looking at the Taiwanese ‘Moonlight Fairy’, an 88-year-old grandmother with a unique sense of style.

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There is no age limit when it comes to style. This is something that is especially apparent when looking at the Taiwanese ‘Moonlight Fairy’, an 88-year-old grandmother with a unique sense of style.

The 88-year-old Linzhuang Yueli (林莊月里) from Taiwan likes to be called “Moonlight Fairy” (月光仙子). She has a mix and match fashion style that is more trendy than that of many people decades younger than her – she even makes oversized IKEA shopping bags and DHL tshirts look cool.

Photos of the grandmother, whose social media handle is ‘@moonlin0106’, were shared on Weibo by various fashion accounts, praising the woman’s cool style.

Moonlight Fairy currently has nearly 70,000 followers on her Instagram account, where she posted her first photo on May 15 this year.

Linzhuang likes to shop at second-hand stores and mixes various brands, but she especially has a preference for Adidas.

On Weibo, many people said: “I wanna look like this when I am that age.”

Some netizens also commented that a unique fashion style is not always understood. “I also bought that IKEA shirt and wore it,” one person said: “Then my teacher asked if I work there.”

Others also asked about where to buy clothes worn by Moonlight Fairy.

“I can only say: her style is extremely cool!”

By Manya Koetse

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Fashion & Beauty

From Stay-at-Home Dad to Fashion Designer – ‘Super Dad’ Rises to Fame

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He majored in International Business, but ended up as a stay-at-home dad with a talent for design. Qian Xiaofeng, who has created over a hundred outfits for his 5-year-old daughter, is rising to fame on Chinese social media as a children’s clothing designer.

From Disney princess dresses to little Chanel outfits, this Chinese stay-at-home dad can make almost everything. Having created over a hundred outfits for his 5-year-old daughter, including hair bands, necklaces, and brooches, ‘super dad’ Qian Xiaofeng (钱晓峰) is making his rounds on Chinese social media.

According to China’s Sohu News, Qian Xiaofeng first caught the attention of Chinese netizens when he started posting pictures of the designs for his daughter on WeChat about a year ago. Although he majored in International Business, Qian started to become interested in fashion when he first had a daughter.

Qian, a Shanghai resident, revealed to Sohu that he always had an artistic talent and wanted to study arts, but chose another path because his father thought International Business would give him better career opportunities.

After getting married and having his first child, Qian and his wife decided that since she had a flourishing career, he would take on the task of becoming a full-time father and take care of his daughter and the household.

At the start of his designer adventure, Qian only drew the designs for special theme outfits and let a crafty friend make the clothes. Eager to learn to sew himself, he then later took on a 6-month sewing course and now does everything himself.

Although many commenters on social media say that Qian’s daughter is lucky to have him as a father, Qian says he is the fortunate one; because of his daughter, he is finally doing what he really wants to do.

Qian says he started out this journey to give his daughter a “fairy-tale childhood.” Now, he hopes to turn his design into a brand that he can leave to his daughter when she grows up.

On Weibo, netizens hope that Qian Xiaofeng will soon expand his business. “The Christmas tree outfit is adorable, just sell it on Taobao,” a popular comment says.

Others also reply: “I want to make my kid happy this way, too!”

In the Sohu feature article, Qian also praises his wife for making it possible for him to pursue his new-found ambitions. As for the little girl – she is happy to wear her dad’s creations.

Some netizens doubt Qian’s motivation to create these dresses. “Actually, I think he is the one who wants to wear his own designs,” one person says: “His daughter has now become the Barbie doll he likes to dress.”

By Manya Koetse

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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