Chinese-Australian Margaret Zhang started her fashion blog at the humble age of 16 and has subsequently taken the world by storm. With a degree in law and commerce from the University of Sydney, Zhang has gone on to co-found BACKGROUND; a global consultancy company which seeks to bridge the gap between Western and Chinese culture, lifestyle and brands. Her entrepreneurial endeavours combined with her editorial work has cemented her places in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40 lists.
A writer, photographer, director, model and consultant, Zhang’s intersectionality places her in a unique position to alter the future of one of the world largest and most influential magazines. What is most interesting and inspiring about Zhang, however, is that even with all her accolades she has never edited a magazine before.
"I think everyone who appears in Vogue China should be someone people can look up to in a really substantive way and who are driving innovation"
Since its inauguration in 2005, Vogue China has seen Angelica Cheung at the helm for the last 16 years. Appointing a fresh, new face like Zhang is a step in the right direction from a magazine that has been criticized many a time for lack of diversity and inclusivity. With a readership of 1.6 million, Vogue China has been termed by photographer Mario Testino the “most important Vogue”. With its large population and soaring demand for Western luxury brands, China is fast becoming a centre for fashion magazines to exploit.
Young people are consistently overlooked for top positions, they are labelled as unexperienced and not having ‘paid their dues’ or waited in line for promotion. With Zhang’s appointment at just 27, alongside Lindsay Peoples Wagner, 29, as the Editor in Chief of Teen Vogue there is a steady shift in the perceptions of what young people are bringing to the table.
What will Vogue China look like in the future? We will have to wait and see but one thing is for certain, Margaret Zhang is breaking the established barriers to entry. She is illustrating that young people are not loose cannons, but steady hands with drive and determination to push forward and innovate.