Photographs by Sara Kerens @sarakerens
Leaf Greener is a truly unique creature. She travels the world as a stylist and fashion reporter in demand by some of the worlds biggest brands; she is a staple of the street style set; and she publishes mobile magazine LEAF on WeChat. Despite being one of China’s biggest fashion influencers, she is really kind and down to earth (read: really funny, smart, curious and engaging) and she loves to eat! We have in fact shared many meals and also hosted a chic Parisian dinner together for Tome’s White Shirt Project 4. Getting to know her - over lunch at the Venice Biennale or late night cocktails in NYC - has provided zero dull moments! We sat down with her recently at The Gramercy Park Hotel to talk travel, cultural experience and personal style.
What inspired you to pursue a career in fashion?
I was inspired by my family and watched a lot of fashion shows and read magazines! Another reason is that I tried fashion in college, later on I became a freelance stylist and then became an editor for Elle China.
What’s the most exciting part about being in the fashion industry?
The most exiting part is the creativity and the energy. I appreciate that about the fashion industry. Fashion is just always very close to us. It’s a reflection of the human culture. It’s very interesting to see how the culture is developing, and how each country has different fashion.
Is there a process that helps you get your creative juices flowing?
For me, personally, creativity comes from personal experience and knowledge - those are very important. Knowledge is what you’re studying and your background—what you read and what you see. As you grow and learn you can solve problems. You meet new friends, meet new people, from different regions and cultures--this adds to the experience. I never believe true creativity comes from people who haven’t traveled. Traveling, to be involved somewhere else with different people is very important. What China is, What New York is…if you’ve never been there, how can you create something called the “China Culture Collection.” That’s not original creativity. Experience is amazing.
How would you describe your own personal style?
It’s definitely changing, my personal style is a reflection of my personality. When you grow up, day by day you learn something and become more inspired. Your personality has more layers and your style changes with your personality. I feel like when you wear something it is a tool for how you communicate. It represents part of yourself, so for me it’s always changing.
Is there anything unexpected or new that we can expect to see a lot more of this season?
I’m not sure! I don’t have a specific item I wear a lot, I’m very moody. I wear more sneakers.
You, personally, would never be caught wearing what?
Never say never! Sounds cliché. It all honestly depends how you wear something.
What piece of advice would you give to other women in terms of dressing themselves and cultivating their own personal style?
I think be true to yourself and who you are, don’t try to be a copy cat. Confidence matters. You have to wear your clothes; your clothes can’t be wearing you.
You’re getting ready for an event; what music is playing the background?
Well, I have two kinds of music! In the shower I like to play classical music. After showering, getting dressed we can try 80’s music, sometimes hip-hop. Sometimes you want to try different moods with the styling. Basically all kinds of music!
As a woman who’s always on the go, how do you like to de-stress?
Just reading! Traveling can be relaxing as well when you go on holiday.
What are you looking forward to doing this year?
I think I just want to make something more meaningful. Right now I feel like a lot of things are going on and I just want to do things that are meaningful that help people and inspire people. Make a better living for others somehow.