SHARP & Range Rover
Yuki Zhao is a refreshing reminder that shaping trends is an art form in itself – a discipline that demands enduring originality and a solid grasp on one’s identity.
This Toronto-based entrepreneur, content creator and blogger has been causing ripples within the Chinese diaspora in Canada. Not just with her unique and personal spin on trends, but also her ability to stay in front of them. She threads the narrative of her expertise into the fabric of her work.
“Trendsetting for me is about continuously learning new things and sharing my insights,” she explains. “It’s about looking beyond the outfits and considering the whole spectrum of a luxurious lifestyle.”
Zhao manages an engaging Instagram account, offering a window into her world of fashion, art, luxury and lifestyle for her 230K+ followers. It’s a vibrant testament to her knack for merging personal style with emerging trends, a passion deeply anchored in authenticity.
Her distinct perspective, she believes, is a product of her life journey, which has equipped her to create a positive shift within her cultural milieu. “Being born in Shanghai and moving to Toronto during high school offered me a unique outlook,” Zhao shares. “I was one of the first Chinese people in Toronto to become an Instagram [personality]. Like me, many Chinese people love fashion and aspire to break into the fashion or art industry, but cultural and language barriers often pose challenges.”
Zhao also aims to challenge the worn-out stereotype that the Chinese are wealthy, but devoid of style. “I initiated my blog to show that Chinese people have taste,” she asserts. “I believe that my work exerts a positive influence on those who share my background.”
Beyond her roles as an influencer and content creator, Zhao channels her experience and insights into her position as the president of SNAP, a creative marketing agency linking brands with the Chinese-Canadian demographic. “I excel at observing, learning and summarising marketing trends within our community,” the York University Schulich School of Business graduate says. “My background in finance equips me to analyse data and decipher emerging customer behaviours.”
Yet, her work at SNAP transcends traditional marketing – it’s about nurturing cultural connections and providing brands with a gateway to a new audience. It involves translating concepts, messages and values into a vernacular that resonates with her following, uplifting and empowering them along the way. “Trends are always changing. SNAP offers consulting to brands to translate their marketing into local Chinese terms that Gen Z and Millennials can understand.”
In an industry where it’s all too easy to get lost in fleeting trends, Zhao’s approach is firmly rooted in her individuality. From her wardrobe staples, such as her beloved wide-leg pants and blazer, to her collaborations with industry titans like Louis Vuitton and Estée Lauder, Zhao brings a unique sense of authenticity to every aspect of her life.
“The key lies in maintaining my sense of aesthetics. I adapt the major trends from Europe and the United States, then rework them into my own style. I use my photography and language to create a unique experience for my audience.”
Zhao’s work isn’t solely focused on the latest fashion or opulent lifestyle; it’s about discovering new ideas and cultures. To keep her creativity blooming, she immerses herself in a diverse cultural diet, often attending art exhibitions, design shows and local music events. “I believe it’s disrespectful to promote something you don’t appreciate or know much about,” she notes. “I make sure to learn about a product or culture before I deliver content to my audience.”
Having recently expanded into consulting and art investment, Zhao now collaborates with private equity firms interested in contemporary art, assisting them in liquidating their art pieces. “My long-term plan is to convert my property in Los Angeles into a private gallery, mirroring Miami’s Rubell Museum. This museum is a family-owned private collection open to the public. We aim to create a similar art-centric space.”
Looking ahead, Zhao’s steadfast commitment to remaining true to herself becomes even more crucial. When discussing the future of influencer marketing and content creation, she expects a transition towards more specialised niches, elevated content and authentic experiences.
“As we spend more time online, I believe that anything offline that can connect with online will flourish,” she explains. “People will crave real-life experiences, so any offline marketing that synergizes with online opportunities will thrive.”