Living by My Own Designs
I founded YUE, a Chinese-English lifestyle magazine, in 2011. Why? As a writer and publisher, I wanted to tell the story of contemporary Chinese lifestyle through a narrative that included international perspectives, and through a narrative that filled the gap in Western media reporting about China. 2011年，我创办了中英双语时尚季刊杂志《约》。作为一名时尚文化媒体人与专栏作家，我希望用国际视角讲述当代中国故事，让世界更好地了解中国。
Living as a Chinese person in the United States has been a defining experience in my life. So, when I started my own media business, I wanted to make it part of my mission to explore, in depth, the creative energy that one draws from encountering another culture. Being an entrepreneur is not only about being one's own master, but also about living beyond preconceived categorization of talents, professions and geographies. I wanted to be in a business that allowed me to be artistic and business-minded, creative and analytical, and Western and Chinese — all at the same time.
In the process, I helped raise the profiles of Chinese and Chinese Americans in US. YUE was modern Chinese travelers' gateway to high-end, history-rich luxury brands of jewelry, watches, fashion, art, culture, design, real estate and lifestyles in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. YUE gained a following among Chinese business and leisure travelers, and among bicoastal luxury businesses, as the embodiment of New York and Los Angeles' international lifestyle.
With YUE, I built a track record of bringing together prominent decision-makers and creative minds for crossborder business opportunities and charitable activities. In 2014, I organized and hosted a high-profile, black-tie thirdanniversary gala for YUE in New York. During the gala, YUE honored eight of the most powerful Chinese and Chinese American philanthropists.
During my opening remarks, I said the following to explain the rationale behind the event: "YUE, derived from the Chinese rendition of New York (niu yue in Chinese pinyin), literally means rendezvous and promise. More than
a lifestyle magazine, YUE is about building an exciting community around shared ideas and aspirations. What could be a better way to accomplish this objective than giving back to our communities? As we raise a toast to the third anniversary of YUE, we are privileged to honor the leaders in philanthropy and present their accomplishments as a meaningful way to understand that generosity is a timehonored tradition in the Chinese cultural makeup."
When I quit a lucrative, Wall Street career, as a partner in the New York office of an international law firm, many people thought I was out of my mind. Some even suggested it was an incredibly challenging time to start a business. I knew it would not be easy to give up the shield of big corporate letterhead to establish new credentials. But I have never looked back. Now, I am able to carve out my own roles, and to live by my own designs. I am a TV presenter, a publisher and a writer. I am involved with many charitable organizations and cultural institutions. Every day presents a new set of challenges, and, along with them, new sets of opportunities.
On the surface, law and finance represents a very different career path from that of media and fashion, and of course attracts players with different types of personalities and interests. But, in the final analysis, to make a creative enterprise work as a business, I can count on many of the transferable skills that I acquired as a lawyer: Execution skills, attention to details, power of communications and strong networks. I believe there is no shortcut to success, as the skill sets, professionalism, self-discipline and reputation garnered from one stage in life can jumpstart another career. My multi-career metamorphoses and interdisciplinary approach to life and knowledge represents a simple manifestation of a modern world, where nobody can afford to be a one-trick pony.
China's fashion scene is experiencing exploding growth, and it is generating both increasing interest from a new generation of designers and new awareness among fashion lovers. China's fashion business is closely related to the entertainment business, and relies on the star power of TV or movie personalities to generate media and public attention. I am optimistic that China's fashion industry will boom in the next 10 years, with global fashion business looking to China as one of the focal points of inspiration and experimentation. Chinese designers and fashion icons will also increasingly exert their influences on the international trends.
During the past few years, a few American designers of Chinese descent have stepped onto the international stage. Those designers have included Alexander Wang, Jason Wu, Phillip Lim, Derek Lam and Peter Som. They have followed the trail blazed by an earlier generation of designers, including Zang Toi, Vivienne Tam, Vera Wang and Anna Sui. In general, I sense the interest from China in these designers is geared more toward their Chinese ancestry than the essence of their designs. I believe this will change, as Chinese begin to have more diverse tastes and place less emphasis on brand worship.
By hosting pioneering video presentations on New York Fashion Week, and on fashion events, such as the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Awards red carpet event for Sina Fashion and Phoenix Fashion (TV), I have attempted to introduce the American fashion scene to Chinese. I am also taking it upon myself to bring Chinese designers to the international stage. For example, I have hosted a broadcast of the Phoenix Fashion Awards for Fashion TV.
In August, People's Daily Press published my memoir, Create Your Star Power: A Guide to Self-fulfillment. International pianist Lang Lang wrote the preface for the book, which was illustrated with 40 photographs. I hope my journey will inspire China's millennials to create their own star power, and to seek their dreams, learning and self-fulfillment.