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Kevin Tallon: China needs its own fashion style

Kevin Tallon Photo: Billie Feng

Wearing a chambray shirt and a pair of designer jeans, Kevin Tallon is a fashion consultant with dual nationality—British and Swiss. Living with his wife and two daughters in an apartment near Chaoyang Park (朝阳公园), a relatively quiet place in Beijing, he is consulting a handful of Chinese fashion brands.

Early careers in Europe

Tallon’s interest in design started from childhood. “My grandfather taught me how to draw when I was a small child. That’s how I got interested in art. Following this, Kevin started a brand of his own and sold products even before he went to college. “It was called DSE, selling skateboard apparel in lots of countries. That was very exciting because I traveled to many places, such as the US, and Europe, it was a real community spirit, meeting cool people around the world,” Tallon smiled.

And then he studied fashion design in Central Saint Martins, a famous fashion school in Britain. His focus was on men’s wear.

After graduation, Tallon worked in London for 12 years for fashion designers, such as Katharine Hamnett. He started his career as an assistant designer, designing products for different brands. Then his attention shifted toward consultancy. “It was around 2005 that I wanted to tell other brands how to be more creative and fashionable, including media and marketing brands,” Tallon said.

Kappa brought him to China

Photo: courtesy of Kevin Tallon

It was not until 2007 that Kevin first came to China. At that time, he was working as a consultant for a British design consultancy (the Design Laboratory). One of his important clients was the Beijing office of Kappa, a well-known sports brand from Italy. “We had a consultancy project with them and they liked our service, so we worked together on one project after another, which made me travel to Beijing more and more. I needed to spend almost 10 days in Beijing every month.”

The regular traveling became quite frustrating, constantly being stuck between time-zones. Fortunately, due to some structural change, Kappa China asked him to come to Beijing and work full time as design director in 2010. “I was quite excited to come to Beijing and work here,” he said, with a big grin on his face.

Having worked for Kappa for nearly three years, Tallon quit in the summer of 2013. “I learned a lot from working for Kappa, but I thought it was time to move on and do my own thing. I think it’s easier for a foreigner to consult companies rather than to be inside a company here in China.” Tallon describes China as a single-culture country, so communication is still somewhat difficult if he had to work in an office every day.


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