IN Chinese, web celebrities who trade on their fame to sell products online are called wanghong. Most wanghong are well-known fashion models with strong public followings. Their focus is women’s fashion aimed at the under-30s.
With the booming e-commerce industry, the largest apparel wholesale market, and numerous garment factories spreading across towns, Hangzhou gathers most of the online wanghong outlets and symbolizes the wanghong phenomenon.
On Weibo and WeChat, wanghong post photos of themselves wearing new clothing. They go for stand-out architecture and decor as backdrops.
In Hangzhou, a couple of spots are very popular with wanghong. Slim models are common in every shot, but they look for the best location and angle to make their shots different.
Shanghai Daily checks out three of the most popular sites. These are also good for ordinary people looking for something special to give their photos a special look.
Yang Ba Tou 羊坝头
It is a stone-paved French Renaissance-style construction built around a century ago. During the Republic of China (1912-1949), it was the office building for the Zhejiang Xingye Bank, which was established as the first bank in Zhejiang Province.
Shen Liyuan was among the first batch of Chinese architects to study overseas. When he came home, he designed this building as a landmark.
Yang Ba Tou is located on Zhongshan Road M., the principal axis of the city during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) when Hangzhou was the capital. The north-south road connected the palace, homes of prominent residents and well-known shops.
Even after the city was no longer the capital, the road remained Hangzhou’s financial, political and cultural hub.
For centuries, merchants came and went, stores opened and closed, but the culture and commercial atmosphere of the street remained.
Yang Ba Tou lures streams of wanghong to shoot promotional photos because of its history and its distinct ivestyle.
Every day, it looks like a fashion show runway as models walk and strut and pose while photographers click away.
Phoenix Creative International
Hangzhou is a UNESCO-listed City of Crafts and Folk Arts and hosts two major events each year for the cultural and creative industry — the China International Cartoon and Animation Festival and the Cultural and Creative Industry Expo.
To support the local creative and cultural industry and attract more investment, it has allocated 10 industrial zones for enterprises, design studios and workshops.
Phoenix Creative International, one of the zones, appears most frequently in wanghong’s promotional photos because of its distinctive setting of huge chimneys, rusted steel stairs, walls covered with slogans from three decades ago and a graveyard of obsolete factory equipment.
Covering 221,000 square meters, it includes the Phoenix Creative International Garden, near the Xiangshan campus of the China Academy of Art, and garden space in between.
What was once the bustling Shuangliu Cement Factory is now the creative garden.
The favorite location for wanghong is the lawn in front of six lofty columned buildings, which were used for the raw material for cement. It is now home to studios, restaurants and boutiques.
Metoo Cafe 蜜桃咖啡
The cafe has three branches in Hangzhou. But wanghong prefer the one in Silian 166 Loft, which is also a creative and cultural zone that was once the Hangzhou Silk Dyeing Factory.
The factory has been retained, together with a large amount of machinery. Designers and artists have turned it into a complex of modern creativity. Today, the old mill is a rendezvous for hipsters and trendsetters.
The cafe was created from distinctive architecture and industrial equipment. A huge piece of machinery in the lobby is juxtaposed with stylish cushions and ornaments; the exposed brick walls have been painted white; the floor, tables and chairs are made of wood from scrap furniture found at flea markets; abacus and old-fashioned light switches echo the building’s past.
Combined, these all create a kind of historic yet trendy vibe. The cafe stages live music and art exhibitions.