Angelica Cheung, Founding Editor of Vogue China and one of the most powerful people in fashion, leaves the post after 15 years.
Cheung is credited with transforming the culture of fashion magazine journalism into Vogue China, the rise of which paralleled the growth of China’s luxury fashion sector.
“I will leave Vogue China after publishing the 15th anniversary issue,” Cheung wrote in Instagram, “What I feel is an important milestone and an appropriate time to start a new stage in my career.”
She is the fourth high-profile Chinese fashion magazine editor to leave her job this year, after Su Mang (Harper’s Bazaar), Shaway Yeh (Modern Weekly) and Xiao Xue (Elle China). Their exits are seen as part of a larger narrative of fashion magazines losing their audience to local influencers and social media accounts on WeChat and other services.
Cheung has previously been seen as at the forefront of communicating with the younger Chinese audience. In 2016 he created the Vogue China spin-off, Vogue Me, which specifically targeted a millennial audience. “Millennials, I would describe them as the real consumers, the organic consumers,” he told Fashion Business. “They consume to consume. And they love things, they want to buy … it’s not for any purpose. “
In her parting statement on Instagram, she wrote: “Vogue China was a phenomenal success from day one.” But initially he had to fight with photographers who did not want to shoot Chinese models. Cheung told The Guardian in 2015 that photographers “didn’t have an idea of (the models) … so genuinely that they didn’t have an idea of how to make them more beautiful.” Since then, Cheung set out to nurture a generation of Chinese supermodels, including Du Juan and Liu Wen.
The magazine also struggled for international talent when it started. In the same Guardian interview from 2015, she said that models, photographers and stylists refused to travel to China for photo shoots because it was considered a backwater.
“You thought that being Vogue they would automatically want to work for you, and you realized that no, because people didn’t know you, they were skeptical about China,” she said. “People thought that China, to use a crude phrase, would be full of ‘new money’ peasants.”
Vogue China currently has a circulation of 2 million and a social media following of 23 million.
Cheung’s last day at the company, December 8, will be 16 years from the day he started at the magazine. His successor has not been announced, although US Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour will be involved in the handover.
In an internal statement, Li Li, editor-in-chief of Conde Nast publishing house in China, wrote: “[Wintour] She will work closely with me and Denise Suen, our managing editor at Vogue to ensure a smooth transition and maintain the exceptional level of content that our audience expects. I am also excited that our team in China will have the opportunity to work with Anna. “
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