An inside look at China’s influential economy with fashion KOL Fil Xiaobai

Welcome fashion influencer and stylist Phil Xiaobai to the Jing Daily community of individuals who will continue to shape China’s luxury industry. These profiles highlight industry leaders who contribute to the national and international fashion communities, from innovators and influencers to business executives and entrepreneurs.

“There are many fashion KOLs, but none of them are Fil.” From anyone else, that self-deprecation can come across as arrogance. But for Phil Xiaobai, a Chinese millennial influencer with a decade of experience, it’s a confidence boost.

Fil Xiaobai boasts over 7 million followers on major social media platforms. Photo: Weibo

In 2011, Phil was right A student studying English translation at Chengdu Foreign Language School. She couldn’t imagine her love for fashion and her participation in Hainan TV’s street style photography contest. High fashion It inspires her to become one of the top KOLs in the country.

“I was very serious about this. [referring to the contest]. I didn’t want to wear those famous luxury brands in the competition. Instead, I prefer to find unique brands to express my fashion ideas. That was probably the main reason why I won the championship. I always knew what to wear,” Phil recalls.

With her daring and critical style choices, Phil wins the competition and is invited to travel overseas for fashion week. And at first she was thrilled to be there – until she looked online. When netizens questioned her skills and her negative opinions, she quickly agreed with the fashion business: to find a place in the industry, she needs to gain public recognition.

So the Chengdu native worked hard to establish her name and soon became famous as a stylist in a fashion reality program. Me, Supermodel. This, along with her role in an idol competition program Production 101laid the foundation for the work of a famous statistician.

But now, Phil considers herself a fashion KOL more than anything else. Since starting her Weibo account in 2011, she’s been branching out into live streaming to better engage with her followers, sharing her product reviews and overseas boutique purchases. She has developed an impressive portfolio of luxury clients, shooting with brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

Fil Xiaobai appeared at a Chanel event earlier this month. Photo: Xiaohongshu

Dubbed the “First Generation KOL,” Phil is in a rush to stay on top. Phil embraced the new trends when many other popular content creators suffered from burnout or hesitated to join emerging platforms. She She has consistently raised her profile with high-quality content on various platforms, including Douyin, Xiaohongshu, and Bilibili. 7 million followers.

As fashion influencers continue to play a key role in shaping trends and promoting luxury brands; Jing Daily He spoke to Phil to better understand the opportunities and obstacles in the industry.

How would you describe being a stylist as a profession? What makes it different from a fashion KOL?

High emotional intelligence, good taste and ability to work hard. The hurdles to becoming a stylist are high: it requires a lot of experience, especially for the types and talents of stylists who lead the trends. In contrast, the threshold for fashion KOLs is relatively low. Many individuals, VIPs with many luxury labels, now share their outfits on social media channels no different than fashion bloggers.

To be a fashion KOL, you need to be intuitive and have additional skills and skills. For example, I am both a stylist and a fashion KOL. The two complement each other.

Phil Xiaobai is known for her street style. Photo: Xiaohongshu

What are the obstacles facing today’s stylists?

even if Stylists are currently invited to participate in many programs, many of which do not give them enough creative freedom. For example, on a show, practically anyone can comment on the stylist’s look. This makes the job extremely difficult, and too many opinions can overwhelm the talent.

In recent years, I see that online comments are not always kind to stylists. A lot of celebrity fans don’t have enough intention to comment on their outfits so we see a lot of extreme compliments or criticisms. Without understanding the background or narrative behind a collection of clothes, some people look for big name brands and haute couture, which I think is a bad trend. Although the industry is expanding rapidly, the challenge is to know how it will continue in the future.

What do you think about China’s coal industry?

I think the best time for this business to grow is between 2016 and 2021, when the entire industry is booming. As more individuals flock to the KOL track to take advantage of this opportunity, standing out becomes more challenging. I advise young people who want to become influencers to first secure a job with a stable income and then try it as a hobby. This way, they don’t need it They can compete for public attention and instead focus on producing high-quality content that increases their market value.

What do you think about e-commerce live streaming? Thinking of joining?

In fact, few fashion KOLs want to live stream because we find it difficult to openly ask viewers to place orders in the live stream section like other sellers. I think this movement does not go with who we are. Instead, I can use my knowledge to help sellers by offering some helpful style suggestions. Although I understand that live streaming is one of the most profitable e-commerce industries today and that many people are jumping on this trend, I still believe that it is important for KOLs to think clearly about their own direction instead of being swept up in the current situation – it’s easy to lose yourself.

Have there been drastic changes in China’s fashion KOL industry post-Covid-19?

After the pandemic, many KOLs focused on the domestic market. I have to say that the housing market is very big and today’s youth were born in a good time; As long as you work hard on content, you can become a star.

When I talked to many foreign bloggers, I realized that the Chinese market is much better than the international market. Foreign KOLs must compete with KOLs from all over the world and be updated very frequently, which requires a high level of skill. If you are a little careless, you may be eliminated from this tough competition. However, I feel that many people in China do not use this area, which is a shame.

What kind of KOLs do brands want to work with?

First, KOLs must be free of any scandals, which is a big concern for many brands, and they want the collaboration to receive positive feedback. A KOL’s selling ability is also an important requirement. This depends on whether they are able to generate content that attracts viewers and makes them pay for the recommended products.

Now, as fashion brands collaborate more widely, influencers from all walks of life have the opportunity to work with luxury brands, including athletes and artists. Ultimately, it all comes down to the quality of your content.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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