Fashionista: Matt William

This lucky Fashionista found himself in Beijing on a full Chinese Government Scholarship during 2013-14 where he was the first non-Asian to study acting at Beijing Film Academy.

Fashionista: Magic Knowles

Name: Matt William

Nationality: American

Occupation: Actor

He reveals, “I was fully based in Beijing for two years and now I split time between Beijing and Los Angeles.” He owes his prodigious Mandarin skills to two rather immersive years in Duyun, Guizhou province before starting at the film academy. We’ll go out on a limb and say that those skills came in handy in his starring roles in films such as Vikingdom (维京王国), Bond: Kizuna, and a new production of Red Sorghum (红高粱). He also played the role of Barnes in the TV series Love Me If You Dare (他来了请闭眼) alongside Chinese starlets Wallace Huo, Sandra Ma, Wang Ka, and Yin Zheng.

Though it may not be apparent at first glance, Matthew’s go-to is classic attire, usually in the form of a tailored suit made with high-quality fabrics. His fashion advice includes mixing it up with high-end pieces and high street steals, but focuses on quality fabrics. “Wear no more than two different colors in your outfit and get a tailored suit with the most expensive material you can afford. It really does make all the difference. John Pei tailor shop near Heaven Supermarket is worth a visit and LuxTNT is a super trendy new store in Sanlitun Taikoo Li [that] will kit you out with all you need. Of course, H&M is great for a good T-shirt or two.” He is also all for bringing back the pocket watch.

Matthew’s Fashionista outfit picks explore the full spectrum of his personality but with a running theme of simplicity. Suits are of course his favorite, along with a good leather jacket, and then of course there are the speedos. “Speedos let you express the real you. I added a classy hoodie top to let people know, although I’m here to party, I also get a little cold sometimes.”

Matthew’s wardrobe inspiration is an eclectic mix of fiction and reality. “If you can keep yourself up-to-date and hang out with the cool kids you’ll realize there is a fashion event almost every single day in Beijing. This city attracts Fashionistas from literally all over the globe. If you aren’t sure where to find them, take a wander around any art district and you should find your luck has changed.”

And a few parting words of fashion philosophy from the man himself: “Keep it simple, but not too simple. But simple enough that it’s not complicated. But not too complicated that it’s more than simple. And when in doubt it is always good to default to a Speedo.”

Text, hair, and makeup: Nina Griffee

Photographer: Tao Zi

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