Wanda Fashionistas ! Here is for you Gilles Belinga, a Cameroonian fashion designer based in China. Read about his wonderful story !
Gilles Belinga moved to China five years ago to study communications engineering. The 25-year-old originally intended to get a degree under his belt and learn Chinese. But the country’s capital has since ignited a fashionable spark in Belinga, which he now hopes to turn into a blazing hot career.
“I discovered my talent and passion for fashion in China,” he says. “I’ve also been given many opportunities here, so I want to pursue my fashion dream in China”, he adds.
The Cameroon native has modeled in dozens of fashion shows in Beijing and won a 10,000 yuan ($1,600) first prize in the Mr and Miss International competition, an African beauty contest in Beijing “Gilles is wonderful. He is confident, having a good smile and a nice catwalk. He is also eloquent and has good insights about life,” the event’s organizer Sekou Michael Koroma says.
Belinga was born into a wealthy family. Things changed when, at age 11, his parents divorced and he was sent to live with his mother. His father provided little support, he says, and Belinga was forced to become more self-reliant, taking on small jobs, such as delivering food to office workers, to save money. Belinga had long planned to move overseas. After two years at university in Cameroon, he decided to go to China in 2008.
He believed the cost of living in Beijing would be lower than in Europe or the United States, and the country’s strong economy would open up career avenues. Belinga’s first stop in China was Tianjin, where he spent a year studying Mandarin. With little financial support from his family, the first 12 months were difficult and he took a series of jobs. A year later, he moved to study communications engineering at the University of Science and Technology of Beijing, from which he recently graduated. But, while he was studying for his degree, fashion became a passion.
“I never attended fashion school in Africa, but in Beijing, in this fashionable environment I realized that I like drawing clothes, matching colors and mixing fabrics,” he says. “There are so many fabrics here, which has given me the chance to try out different things. Sometimes you might have a talent in you, but you might not discover that talent if you’re not in a place where it can come out.”
Gradually, he began designing clothes for himself and his friends, and having them made by tailors. He was helped by his Australian fashion designer girlfriend, who taught him design techniques and professional terminology. “When I design clothes for clients, I look at the whole person and what kind of message they want to deliver to people,” he says. “Then I check their skin color and think about style and fabric.”
Contrary to the ideas conveyed by most fashion magazines, Belinga believes fashion is for everyone, no matter their size or shape. He’s also keen to create men’s fashion and design clothes that make men “believe in themselves”. “You just have to know what to wear,” he says. “I believe the way you dress sends a message to people about how you want them to think about you.”
Belinga believes Beijing is full of opportunities. On some occasions, he has been stopped just walking through the city’s hip Sanlitun district and asked to appear in fashion shows, he says. “In China, you don’t know who you are going to meet. You could be anywhere and meet someone who can change your life.”
His dream now is to develop his fashion credentials in China and someday take his style back to Cameroon.
Go ahead Bro !
Source : Chinadaily
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