A Farfetched Story

Being Generation Y, a hybrid of bricks-and-mortar and online retail is the ideal situation – the degree of #FOMO is just too high when on foot in physical stores, and the dollar bills are not yet so free-flowing that we can #YOLO our way through every quirky boutique in London.

Fittingly pursuant to my British lessons in mashing print, it would appear that it remained my modus operandi until I left for Milan (after which the eyeliner came out to play). That, and a penchant for navy outerwear – screw your shades of grey. While I explored that foolproof London layering formula in my previous stomp home from shows along Town Hall Hotel’s charming facade, here I’m more about the shape and print risks that stylists are willing to take in editorial, but consumers, particularly those in educational or working environments, won’t readily explore. And rightly so – print-on-print-on-print is probably not the most practical for most workplaces. I would, to some degree, challenge that by way of jigsaw-ing separates, though, because once you eliminate the styling restrictions of a onesie, the world is basically your oyster, and you’re guaranteed to pass this class.

Whether or not we can call this a distinctly London calling, in a styling sense, we can at least appreciate its influences on any silhouette and print inhibitions I may have held in the past – because it’s true. London does make everyone a little loopier.

In the best possible way.

It’s not too surprising, then (consequent to the styling freedom, not the loopiness – though arguably one and the same), that London has a much stronger multi-brand boutique culture than Sydney does (Melbourne is much better at that, as much as I hate to say it). Indeed, the general public is constantly raving about London’s high street, but large crowds of people absolutely terrify me, so I wind up spending the majority of my dedicated monthly shopping time behind a screen, and if I have the luxury of time, I prefer the narrower edits and visual merchandising of concept stores.

Though, being Generation Y, hybrid of the two is the ideal situation – the degree of #FOMO is just too high when on foot in physical stores, and the dollar bills are not yet so free-flowing that we can #YOLO our way through every quirky boutique in London. I would say that the past decade has seen the hurtling successes of e-tailers, and the plummeting confusions of physical stores in much of the world, though the past two years of digital strategists and their advertising agencies of choice have done much to kick their clients back into the game. In the same way that tensions remain between online and traditional print, there is no right answer except not to continue with the status quo – clearly, that’s not working out for you. Bridging the gap, and drawing the best-selling attributes from both worlds, is the first step to getting over your eternal Wednesday of progress – without responding to your evolving consumer landscape (let’s be honest – Australians aren’t shy when it comes to trying on in stores, then buying online without taxes), you’re never going to make it to Rebecca Black.

Hell, Rebecca Black won’t even want to shop with you.

So, with that in mind, anyone who has their head around Farfetch has the right idea – for the longest time, I’ve been pitching and debating on the benefits of a symbiosis between bricks-and-mortar and digital shopping, so I’m pretty glad this switched-on destination is now on our shores (for those of you overseas, you’ve had them shipping to you forever, so if you’re not across it, I don’t know what you’re doing).

Now excuse me while I #YOLO my way through every quirky boutique in London.


Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese filmmaker, photographer, consultant and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Zhang has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, Swarovski, YEEZY, Bulgari, Gucci, MATCHES, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney. Zhang’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NOWNESS, and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40, and her work has been recognized as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index for four consecutive years. CNN has identified Zhang as a leading fashion photographer in Asia and ELLE named her the region’s most influential digital voice. She went on to be the first Asian face to cover ELLE Australia. In 2016, she co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy for which she specialises in Western-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Western cultural bridging for a range of luxury, lifestyle, and brand initiatives. In 2017, she exhibited a series of 39 unseen photographic works as a solo show in Sydney, and premiered her first short film – a 15-minute exploration of her visceral relationship with classical music on both performance and abstract planes – to critical acclaim. In 2018, co-curated the first annual FOREFRONT Summit focused on inter-industry problem-solving at all scales of business. From this king summit, Zhang developed FOREFRONT+ – a round table series of candid conversations covering subject matters of universal concern. In 2019, THE FACE Magazine engaged Zhang as Creative-Director-at-Large for Asia for its relaunch. Zhang is currently working on her first feature film.


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General enquiries bookings@margaretzhang.com.au