The Brief: Chinese street style TikTok videos are going viral. Their spread has inspired new TikTok trends while opening a conversation around anti-Asian sentiment during the COVID era.
TikTok is filled with videos of models and creators strutting their stuff to various walking challenges, but no video has gripped straight TikTok more than Chinese street fashion TikToks. Videos shared by creator @sh1ryinyin featured statuesque-looking individuals dressed to kill. Most wore plain masks that they managed to style effortlessly into their jaw-dropping ensembles. These types of videos resemble fancams without the excessive filters, rather in they way they are filmed and edited for speed.
TikTokers were floored by the incredible outfits, many commenting on how they were in awe of the amount of drip in one video. Others began sharing their videos of Chinese street style, too.
The audio from @Eromei’s video, which is JVLA’s “Such A Whore” (Stellular Remix), quickly became associated with Chinese street style TikToks, inspiring walking challenges and even a trend to show off style in your local area.
Once the Chinese street style TikToks hit mainstream Twitter, the outpouring of love continued.
The way Chinese street fashion on a regular day eats up NYFW…
— S (@sarah_ogun) July 12, 2020
Asian fashion period. I remember when I got to FIT and thought I knew fashion and had drip then all the international students said ma’am sit tf down you know nothing lmao. https://t.co/UB6SkdI9jZ
— the shapeshifter (@Naezrah) July 9, 2020
obsessed with these chinese street style videos pic.twitter.com/hgInhjwoq8
— Andy🐉 (@andykylo) July 11, 2020
However, these tweets were also met with outrage from those who recalled the anti-Asian sentiment and increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans just a few months prior due to misinformation about the Coronavirus. This came after the World Heath Organization revealed the virus first appeared in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Many Twitter users pointed out the hypocrisy between those lauding the Chinese for their top-tier style after previously sharing racist remarks online.
How do y’all go from making vile racist remarks about Chinese nationals when the virus first broke out to wanting to be like them because of their chic street style
— darcel (@DarcelAnastasia) July 13, 2020
Many still wondered where the virus actually originated from. In January 2020, a video surfaced of an Asian woman eating a creature shaped like a bat in soup. A month later, Vox reported, researchers were still not sure which animal started the Coronavirus outbreak, but DNA evidence suggested the virus was likely related to bats. Social media users created their own theories on how humans may have contracted the virus, attributing it to bat soup. According to Health, this information is false, but led many to blame Asians and Asian Americans for the virus and subsequently the global pandemic.
The Chinese street style TikToks also brought up a controversial topic around anti-Blackness in fashion. Black people often aren’t credited or given the same amount of praise for styles that are part of their culture, like cornrows, long nails, oversized hoodies, etc. Rather, those styles are deemed as “ghetto” or “hood” until co-opted and appropriated by other non-Black races. In this case, some have argued the ensembles that are seen as so “cutting-edge” in China are actually rooted in Black culture.
— Smoothie Bae (@CoachPSays) July 12, 2020