Tao Liang is one of the most influential bloggers in China. Famous for his insight into fashion and his special views on handbags, Mr Bags is included in Forbes' 30 under 30 Asia list of innovators and disruptors. Mr Bags’ biggest fans are generation Z luxury accessories enthusiasts. He has almost 3.5 million Weibo followers and 850,000 WeChat ‘bagfans’, and has affiliations with Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermès and Givenchy among others. Mr Bags’ reviews and events can prompt sales worth millions of yuan in minutes. Mr Bags has now made his first UK collaboration, and with Harrods no less.
We found out what makes Mr Bags tick over finger sandwiches and scones in the luxurious Harrods Tea Rooms.
Can you tell us more about yourself before Mr Bags took over?
I was a fashion student in LA. It was my first time away from home and I started doing something I like. I went shopping on Rodeo Drive every day and started collecting handbags. I never had a full-time job before Mr Bags, apart from interning at Vogue China.
Why the love of handbags in particular?
There’s so much to learn about handbags as there’s so much history and they’re also investment pieces. It’s become something I have such a passion for, it’s turned into a profession.
What have you most enjoyed so far?
Probably working with luxury brands to design my own collections; Givenchy, Montblanc and Longchamp.
What’s been your favourite collection so far?
My collections are like my babies – I can’t pick and choose. But I did love the one we launched with Tod’s in June; little puppy bags that were so much fun to be involved with.
What would you say is the secret of your success?
Actually there aren’t many secrets; just do something you love, that way you will never tire of it. Every day you wake up and you just really want to work because it’s something you want to do. I never thought I would be a fashion blogger – there wasn’t any such title when I was younger, so I think you can make miracles happen.
What’s your opinion of the Western world of digital media and how does it compare to Eastern technology – like WeChat?
The digital world in China is developing so fast and is hugely influential. In the Western world people have already established a habit of reading newspapers and magazines whereas that hasn’t really established itself in China yet – so we’ve evolved with social media. A lot of people depend on social media, and their mobile phones in general, for everything, so the digital world has such a huge impact on the way we are today. WeChat is integral to everyday life in China.
What do you love about Harrods?
I came here 15 years ago and I still remember the Egyptian staircase, and how beautiful the store was as a whole experience, not just to shop. There’s nothing like it in the US.They also have a great VIP programme for members – I’m enrolled too.
Can you tell us about your AW18 designer picks?
There’s so many things I’m about to buy. I love the neon clothing from Prada. I love the Fendi Peekaboo collection, paired with little charms the bags are very cute. Gucci bejewelled sneakers are a must. I want the new Céline bags, oh and Burberry – if you’re in London you have to buy something from Burberry. I have so much I want to buy.
What do you love most about fashion?
It’s something born in me, I loved to draw pictures when I was young, even now I love fashion illustration. I would love to be a fashion designer some day. China doesn’t really have many well-known luxury brands and who knows, maybe one day Harrods could stock my collections.
What other influencers do you admire?
There are a lot, I recently hung out with Liu Wen; she’s a very famous Chinese model. I not only love her style, which is very sophisticated, but I also love how she carries herself; she’s always sunny and has such positive energy around her. Every time I see her, I feel life is beautiful.