Our OC for Lane Crawford crew had a blast in Hong Kong and China hanging out with old and new friends, including the super sweet, super fly Edison Chen. As a successful actor, rapper, singer, model, producer, fashion designer, and co-founder of his own clothing company, this Hong Kong superstar has probably done it all. We had the chance to catch up in HK - check out my Q&A with him below! (PS. OC for Lane Crawford pop-ups in HK and Beijing are open til 5/23)
Bettina Chin: Which part of your career do you enjoy/are proud of the most, and why?
Edison Chen: I am most proud of being myself. I know that sounds lame, but it is hard to be real in this plastic world. I enjoy every aspect of my life and work a great deal, and I don’t know how I could live without one of them. The one that gives me most security is being the owner of clothing label CLOT. The entertainment game is iffy: one day you’re hot, one day you’re not. But in your own business, it is very hard for everything to fall apart overnight. Everything added up makes me who I am, so I take pride in being “me.”
BC: You’ve been in some pretty major HK and US films, including Infernal Affairs (an HK blockbuster upon which Martin Scorcese’s The Departed was based) to Batman’s Dark Knight. Are there any other acting roles in the works for you?
EC: I am taking a break from acting as I have just launched my new album CONFUSION
in China, and I am busy promoting that as well as doing my first concert ever. This concert is going to be amazing—I hate to use the word “concert,” because to me, it will be more like a film.
I would choose acting over music any day, but as an actor, I have to play someone that isn't me. With all the hoopla surrounding my life, I hoped to return to something real and tell people what time it is, because people speaking out in Asia is rare and I have the ability to spread my message with the power I have been given with my recognition—good or bad. But I do love acting. Hopefully by spring of 2012, a new Edison Chen movie will be out.
BC: I was super excited to hear your latest album, CONFUSION, when it was released at the beginning of the year. What influenced its creation, musically or conceptually?
is my 3-year diary about my departure from Asia. So many people have been asking questions about ‘this’ and ‘that,’ and, knowing the press out in Asia, would turn my story upside down. So I decided to tell everyone from my own mouth that CONFUSION
is a album of redemption and from it, I hope the people who listen to the album can understand that whatever failure they are presented with can be overcome with hard work, self determination, and a self-judging of one’s own character. If I can still be standing now, and people still want to see me, then there is nothing that can’t be done in this world.
BC: CONFUSION features a decent amount of Chinese rap, which is a departure from typical Cantopop music. Do you find it easier/better to rap in Cantonese or Mandarin? Which rap artist do you admire the most?
EC: It is harder for me to rap in Mandarin because my mother language is English, my sister language Cantonese, my cousin language Mandarin, and then the long-lost relative is Japanese. I feel like the Chinese music industry needs more genres of everything. We have hundreds of artists, and ninety-five percent of them all make pop music. This is bland, boring, and over-saturating. I try to do something that I like and that is from within, and that is making urban music. My fave rapper is probably ANDRE 3000 from OUTKAST, but Kanye is a close second. Then, also 2pac, RAKIM…man, I can keep going all day.
BC: It’s been said that CLOT helped put streetwear on the map in Hong Kong’s world of fashion, and since its opening, you’ve collaborated with many great brands, like Nike and Levi’s. What influenced your decision to open up shops in Asia?
EC: I used to travel to Japan to buy clothing a lot, and I found out when I was in Hong Kong that if I wanted to buy the same thing [there], I had to go to import stores and pay double or triple [the price] sometimes. That was really wack to me because all these local kids wanted the same thing I wanted, but they couldn’t afford it.
Back in 2003, I got sold overnight as an artist, and I was kind of pissed, so I left [Hong Kong] to go to Tokyo to “find myself,” so to speak. There I met all these people I considered idols. At the same time, I was reading a book called The Tipping Point
by Malcolm Gladwell, and he exposed to me the truth of opening up CLOT. A lot of support from the idols I met who have now become friends also helped, and BANG! Now we have five stores and more coming soon … hate us now!
BC: On your blog, you often feature sneakers that you either own or covet. Which pair is your favorite?
EC: I can’t choose one pair as my favorite – I have too many! But I do love Jordan 13’s OG colorway of black, red, and white; the kzkLOT Adidas “Breathe” Superstar 80s that [CLOT] made; Mesh Superstars (good for tropical cities like Hong Kong); and the Missoni Converse’s that have been released over the years. I can keep listing on and on, but a nice casual shoe that I love is the Rivieras
. I bought my first pair at OC!
BC: What’s the one thing you miss most about Hong Kong when you’re away?
EC: I miss the food – it’s so fresh and good. I miss my family whom I covet the most in the world. I miss the hustle of Hong Kong, which is much more 24/7 than in NYC.
BC: Tell us about any interesting project you’re currently working on.
EC: I am working on a million and one things. I am trying to live life and that, in itself, is interesting enough. I am working on a TV show called the EDC untitled show, and it is a lifestyle magazine TV show. It is a smorgasbord of ‘things’ added up together: we went to OC and talked to Humberto, we went to Disneyland archives and raided their museum, and we went to Nike campus in Portland and shot the shit with the Nike heads, and we were in Tokyo with YONE shooting his famous CHEK girls. There is so much stuff in it, a few animations in it that I created, and also a few short films in it that I directed. It is interesting to me, as there are a lot of first in-it’s for me.
BC: Final one: what’s your favorite spot in New York/Hong Kong/LA?
EC: In New York: Death and Co. for drinks, Sobakoh for food and Opening Ceremony for shopping. In Hong Kong: Sevva for drinks, Sumi for food and Juice for shopping. Los Angeles: Paul and Andre for drinks and Giorgio Baldi for food.
opening ceremony for lane crawford
it takes two