Name: Tao Zhu
Occupation: Co-founder of Penny’s Food Studio
Hair and Makeup: Ashley Stanton of London Loft
Photographer: Tao Zi
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do here in Beijing. I’m originally from a small city in the Northeast called Panjin. I’ve been in Beijing for seven years now. I’ve done a few different jobs during my time here. I’ve worked as a fashion photoshoot producer for a few years before starting my own company, Penny’s Food Studio. With Penny’s we’re revolutionizing the pet food business by providing fresh food subscription services all across the country
How would you describe yourself? I’m free-thinking, independent, and anti-social.
What inspires your style? I’m inspired mainly by colors and shapes. I see the world in a 2D way, very similar to a pixelated game.
What’s your favorite item in your closet? I don’t have just one favorite item. I love all my sweaters equally.
What’s the one piece of clothing you can’t live without? I know I should say something that’s in style right now but to be honest, I can’t live without my basic T-shirts. They’re called essential items for a reason.
Who is your fashion icon and why? Coco Chanel. Her designs were original. She was fashion forward for her time and the designers who took over her fashion house followed in her footsteps. She’s a woman who didn’t care about norms, standards, or expectations and that’s why she’s made herself into a everlasting fashion icon.
What’s the worst fashion mistake you’ve seen in the city? I dislike the way everyone wears the same thing. It’s quite boring. Fashion is a way of expression and to me, those who wear the same things are making a statement, saying they don’t want to even bother thinking for themselves.
Do you have any fashion advice for our readers? If you see an article recommending something, make sure you don’t wear it. Don’t follow the trend. Create your own style.
You decided to do your photoshoot with a dog. Can you tell us a bit about him and why you wanted him here? Simply because he is my dog and I love him. His name is Caesar, and we spend a lot of time together, doing interesting things, like this photoshoot.
What’s your take on putting clothing on animals? Caesar was born with a hefty coat so he never needs extras. What other dogs and people wear is not my business, but I can say there are some strangely dressed dogs in Beijing!
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