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In the first post of a three-part series, our intrepid finder of the impossible, Samm Mackin scours two continents to track down designer, Christina Fan and get some answers about moving her studio from Chicago and traveling the world.
Rumors recently circled the blogosphere that designer Christina Fan of label C/FAN was eschewing Chicago completely in favor of Shanghai. We decided to have her confirm the truth and tell us a little about living cross continentally.
Racked: Can you set the record straight on whether or not you are moving to China full time?
C/FAN: I'm excited to announce we've recently opened our second design studio in Shanghai, and thus, am splitting my time between Chicago and Shanghai. While there I am also expanding my knowledge on the ancient craft of hand silk painting and leather goods.
R: You've been doing a lot of traveling lately, how do you run a business while jet-setting?
C: Haha, good question. I personally wouldn't consider all of this jet-setting. I have family that lives all over the world, and currently have a home in Shanghai and Chicago, therefore, I spend time in both locations. Sometimes we are lucky enough to have the time for short holidays and those are definitely a blessing! Realistically though, it's so much easier to access numerous countries from Europe or Asia due to distance!
R: What's your favorite thing about living in China?
C: I would say that the overwhelming feeling that I take away when I am in Shanghai for an extended period of time is how amazing the booming economy is, as well as the country's lightening fast ability to change. To think, it has only been 33 years since the economy was officially opened to the West. More than anything, I also sense how Shanghai is an ultimate melting pot of cultures, and has been so for centuries. There are so many long lasting European influences from the past and present, and people of all nationalities abound in multitudes. Sometimes I even feel Americans are a minority in Shangers! There's something quite beautiful about that I think; such a vast variety of cultures and languages and everyone somehow seems to make it work within this newly developing Chinese framework.
R: What are your favorite places to hang out in Shanghai?
C: My favorite places to hang out in Shanghai are at Franck's, an gorgeous French bistro (beef steak tartare hands down, no competition), Nene's an Italian joint and O'Malley's [an Irish place] for a good dose of Guinness. My favorite thing to do in Shanghai, however, is to go on one of the infinite walks you can take that have such amazing historical significance. There's an old flatiron building near my home in Shanghai that is supposedly haunted, it's prewar (Now, I have to preface that the typical Shanghainese morning is a massive hustle and bustle to work with morning commuters), one day I saw an elderly man stop and take a photo with his digital camera, with such amazing care, and stop and stare at that building. I can only imagine what possible significance that place meant to him in his past and to others. It's amazing.
R: What do you miss most about Chicago?
C: Oh my word, I miss the food. The people that know me well know that I am a huge sucker for good food and wine. Chicago has an amazing abundance of just stellar restaurants. Anytime I have a friend come into town, whether from another state or overseas, he or she is usually skeptical and by the end of their trip, is made a believer of Chicago's amazing food heritage.
R: Do your doggies miss mama with you running all over the globe?
[Christina's Maltese dogs Couscous and Peyton]
C: I'm not so sure about that! Apparently they're pretty content with Grandma and Grandpa. I can tell you that I miss them dearly though and can't wait to smush their little faces with kisses.
· C/FAN [Official Site]
· All C/FAN Coverage [Racked]