shanghai and hong kong, straight up!

i-D hit the streets in China’s most international cities to find out where the cool kids hang out, what they disagree with their parents’ generation about, and what freedom means under the rule of the Chinese government.

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Oct 6 2016, 1:40pm

Delia, 30, Shanghai
What do you do? Project manager at a video production and graphic design company.
What is the best thing about being a young person in Shanghai? Freedom — you can do anything.
And the worst? The environment is not good. It's so dirty here.
Where are the creative communities of young people in Shanghai? Some of my colleagues have a studio, called Closing Ceremony, where they sell zines and things they make.
What is your favorite song at the moment? "Hu Lu Wa." It's an anime song.
What does freedom mean to you? If you have money, you can be free to do everything.
If you could change one thing, what would it be? For people to treat each other equally, no discrimination.
What are your hopes for the future? I hope my parents can live long, and the people around me.
Do you have any fears? Ghosts.
@delia_goozi

Rachel, 27, Shanghai
What do you do? I'm a student, studying illustration for games characters.
What is the best thing about being a young person in Shanghai? You can eat lots of variations of food.
And the worst? Old people doing square dances in public places — old women play really loud music and dance! And I just got a ticket from the police for parking, even though there were people in the car — I wasn't parked!
What are you favorite places to go in Shanghai? PSA (Power Station of Art), Rockbund Art Museum.
What is your favorite song at the moment? A cover of "Fly Me to the Moon" — it's the ending song of Japanese anime show Evangelion.
What does freedom mean to you? Freedom means parents not pushing me to get married.
If you could change one thing, what would it be? Make me taller.
What are your hopes for the future? World peace.
@rachelmo

Hejii, 26, Shanghai
What do you do? Work for an advertising agency.
What is the best thing about being a young person in Shanghai? A lot of alcohol. A lot of nightlife.
And the worst? The rent is too expensive.
What are you favorite places to go out in Shanghai? Uptown Records to have a beer and buy records and the Shelter for clubbing, it's D'n'B, techno, future bass.
What is your favorite song at the moment? "The Less I Know the Better" by Tame Impala.
What does freedom mean to you? You have the right to do the things you want to do.
If you could change one thing, what would it be? I want to abolish passports and visas, so that everyone can travel.
What are your hopes for the future? For myself, I want to be happy and careless forever. For the world, I want there to be no one staring at you — in China people stare at you if you look weird or different.
Do you have any fears? I'm afraid of getting old.
@zookidapg

ChaCha, 27, Shanghai
What do you do? Freelance tattoo and makeup artist, and photographer.
What is the best thing about being a young person in Shanghai? It's is an international city; people can do what they want and no one will judge them.
And the worst? In China we have traditional opinion and international opinion. My parents think when women are close to 30 the most important thing is to get married, but I think the most important thing is to prove yourself, your skills, talent, appearance, not marriage.
What are you favorite places to go in Shanghai? Arkham and Shelter for clubs and exhibitions, PSA (Power Station of Art).
What is your favorite song at the moment? "Cry Me A River" by Julie London (Stormy Weather remix). I like electronic music and jazz.
What does freedom mean to you? It's very important. After uni I didn't enter any company because I wanted to do something I love and travel.
If you could change one thing, what would it be? In China I want to change old people's minds about everything! How they judge young people. They think we're too fashionable and they want us to go their way. Not only being a government servant — a lawyer. They think if you're freelance, you can't earn money and support yourself.
What are your hopes for the future? To earn a lot of money and be a better man. To own a big house by the sea and a coffee shop, selling my jewelry (I made my necklace) and doing tattoos.
@afternoonantea 

Shasha, 25, Shanghai
What do you do? I just graduated from the Art Institute of Rome with an MA in printmaking
What is the best thing about being a young person in Shanghai? It's open and free, there are a lot of different people here and opportunities.
And the worst? In a political way it's not so free here. The political situation is limited.
What are you favorite places to go in Shanghai? I just came back, so this photography exhibition (at the China-Russia Friendship Building) is the first place I've come! When I was a teenager I went to Shelter, an underground club.
What is your favorite song at the moment? I love the Beatles. A song? "Little Apple" by Chopsticks Brothers.
What does freedom mean to you? Being a human, the freedom you have is always limited, in China or outside. It's just different. You can't always do what you want. It's good to have limitations.
If you could change one thing, what would it be? The world would all become communist and everyone would share everything. It's impossible!
What are your hopes for the future? To find a job. I want to do art but it's really hard to make a living. Maybe graphic design.
Do you have any fears? Not making a living, not being able to follow my dreams of being an artist.
@shasha131313

Vivian Jiang, 35, Shanghai
What you do? Food industry sales.
Where are the creative communities of young people in Shanghai? There is K11 mall and gallery — they do a lot of exhibitions. Creative areas like Bridge 8 and 1933 Street, which used to be a slaughterhouse and is now a gallery. Zhang Yuan 99 bar on Tai Xing Rd, and bar/restaurant/vintage clothes at Wu Kang Ting.
What is your favorite song at the moment? "Lost Star," Adam Levine
What does freedom mean to you? Its very important. My job is more free than people who work 9-5.
If you could change one thing, what would it be? Maybe my job, to be more creative.
What are your hopes for the future? To walk more freely, so I can take my daughter traveling with me. To travel to not-developed places like Angkor Wat, Cambodia. But still to work.
Do you have any fears? Bad health.

Krystal Sitou, 22, Shanghai
What do you do: Fashion producer at YYO, a photography production house.
What is the best thing about being a young person in Shanghai? In Shanghai it's so open to do what I want to do.
And the worst? My parents are also in Shanghai!
Where are the creative communities of young people in Shanghai? #YTC Young Talent Community (on WeChat + Instagram), bringing makeup and hair artists and photographers together for shoots and creative things.
What are you favorite places to go in Shanghai? There is a club called Le Baron where they play pop music.
What is your favorite song at the moment? "Don't" by Ed Sheeran
What does freedom mean to you? I learned fashion design in Milan but now I want to be a photographer. The freedom to change; because I'm young I can try many things.
If you could change one thing, what would it be? The environment, the air pollution.
What are your hopes for the future? I want to be a photographer, so that's why I'm here. I want to be a fashion blogger — not commercial, for art.
Do you have any fears? For now, no.
@krystal_si

Dickie, 21, Hong Kong
What do you do? Fashion design student at HKDI.
What is the best thing about being a young person in Hong Kong? You can try many different things, like fashion. People accept being different.
And the worst? No money.
Where are the creative communities of young people in Hong Kong? D2 Place for an art and handmade craft market.
Where are you favorite places to go in Hong Kong? Mongkok, there are different cultures, and young people go out there.
Are you happy about the new student­ leaders in the HK Legislative Council? It's not good, they're not mature enough and have a lack of understanding. But they've got their own opinion.
If you were the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, what would you change? I would talk more with the people.
What are your hopes for the future? HK can be independent.
Do you have any fears? No job.
@0715.am

Yuki, 25, Hong Kong
What do you do? Waitress.
What is the best thing about being a young person in Hong Kong? Freedom, I can do what I want.
And the worst? Air pollution and the busy pace of life.
Where are you favorite places to go in Hong Kong? The beaches, Sai Kung, hiking in North Point.
Are you happy about the new student­ leaders in the HK Legislative Council? I don't care.
If you were the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, what would you change? I would give money to public.
What are your hopes for the future? To be rich, and have a slower lifestyle.
Do you have any fears? Having no food and no money — the government is so bad.

Manny, 23, Hong Kong
What do you do: Graphic designer.
What is the best thing about being a young person in Hong Kong? I'm free to do whatever I want, and it's more open for having a tattoo.
And the worst? Losing the right to freedom of speech.
Where are you favorite places to go out in Hong Kong? West Kowloon District dance music festival, Road To Ultra. Inside HMV there is an area for live music. I also like to go to the beach.
If you were the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, what would you change? Hong Kong people should rule Hong Kong, not the Chinese government. It could change back to the Hong Kong before 1997 — allowing more freedom for the people.
What are your hopes for the future? Not so much development in the city; more green!
Do you have any fears? Not having a job, having no money, things getting more expensive. Money rules the city — you can do what you want, but only if you have money.
@mannybarker

Ping Ting, 31, Hong Kong
What do you do? Admin for skincare brand Clarins.
What is the best thing about being a young person in Hong Kong? Being free to be. Freedom, riding my motorbike and surfing.
And the worst? Nothing.
Where are you favorite places to go in Hong Kong? Big Wave Bay, to surf, chill and drink beer. Smoko Cafe in Fortress Hill has nice coffee and is owned by a 26 year old girl.
Are you happy about the new student­ leaders in the HK Legislative Council? I don't like politics.
If you were the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, what would you change? Give back freedom to the public.
What are your hopes for the future? To move to Bali.
Do you have any fears? Losing my mom.
@pingtingc

Kim Low, Hong Kong
What do you do? I'm a model. I just moved from Malaysia.
What is the best thing about being a young person in Hong Kong? It's fast — the fashion, IT. Some people might hate it, but I love it.
And the worst? Crowding in restaurants and having to share a table. I like eating alone.
Where are you favorite places to go in Hong Kong? Central, the crowded shopping area.
What are your hopes for the future? I hope I can be somebody successful in Hong Kong. I left my country, so I want to be successful.
Do you have any fears? That my job won't pay enough to cover expenses in Hong Kong. It's a really expensive city.
@kimlow717

Credits


Photography Shanghai: Tang Ting
Photography Hong Kong: Ken Ngan