No retirement blues: Grandpa, 86, sets trend as fashion content creator
Kangkang used to be a fashion photographer focusing on clothing and accessories in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province.
In 2021, when he became a little fed up with shooting clothing items day in and day out, he decided to return to his hometown Wuhan City, central Hubei Province, seeking career opportunities.
His grandpa came to pick him up. And Kangkang couldn't believe his eyes: he was dumbstruck by the old man's stylish outfit and immediately shot a video of him and uploaded it on to Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, a popular short video platform. The video garnered Kangkang and his grandpa more than 2 million likes within 2 days.
It also launched a new career for the duo – fashion content creators.
Kangkang's Douyin account now has almost 6 million followers. Most leave comments about his stylish grandpa, who is now 86 years old, saying they would seek advice from him on how to choose an outfit.
"I really like grandpa's attitude towards life, you can wear whatever you like even if you are already in your 80s," one commented.
The sudden popularity encouraged the duo to keep creating fashion content. Kangkang's grandfather gets up early in the morning and watches fashion-related content on the internet, such as trendy outfits from Japan, South Korea, Europe and the United States. Then he tries to figure out how to make them his own.
Kangkang revealed that his grandfather was a university professor who taught courses on telecommunication. The old man used to make field trips into remote mountainous areas for months. Yet he still cared about his looks and tried to dress clean everyday, he recalled.
"Grandpa said appearance matters a lot when you are a teacher," Kangkang noted, saying that he would always dress in a suit and a tie, even in summer.
In order to keep in shape, the senior used to do exercises such as playing basketball and football as well as jogging. He used to jog around a lake everyday at his university.
Stylish life after retirement
"When I was a professor, there's no way I could dress the way I wanted or liked. However, now I'm retired, I can finally dress however I feel like," said grandpa.
He now owns hundreds of famous streetwear T-shirts, and countless hoodies, beanies and caps, accessories and bags.
Among the grandpa's most favorite is his collection of Air Jordan sneakers. On occasions he has even asked Kangkang to fly with him to cities, such as Chengdu, just to buy the latest edition of AJ shoes.
Since the duo started making fashion content on a daily basis, grandpa would prepare a day before for the next day's outfit. To stay abreast of the latest fashion, he would also attend fashion shows and prepare for new clothing and items.
His wife was not completely okay with her husband paying this much of attention on his outfits. She complained that he spends too much time studying fashion and making videos with their grandson.
But gradually Kangkang's grandma made peace with her husband's new-found passion, especially after noting the child-like happiness he evinced from the followers' attention and encouragement.
It takes four to five hours to make a video, which Kangkang then edits and posts on Douyin.
With an ever-expanding fan base, the grandfather-grandson pair soon found other job opportunities. Domestic streetwear brands VENGETICE and Venque asked Kangkang to promote their clothing items. The duo plans to set up their own streetwear brand in the future.
An increasing number of youngsters are recognizing Kangkang's grandpa, often asking to take selfies with him. The octogenarian loves how his taste in fashion resonates with so many young people, and in turn, he feels energized by them.
"I know many people will feel lost when they retire. A simple good-looking outfit can really change how we feel. Our health will become better if we feel better," grandpa explained.
Why grandpa's outfits stand out from the crowd
Another fashion content creator Hot girl在身边 summarizes a few pointers that make the grandpa's outfits stand out.
1. Contrasting colors will light you up
Grandpa likes wearing items with bright colors. However, the total colors of one's outfit should not exceed three. We can always choose the base color as black and white, and wear something with a contrasting bright color.
2. Find the right accessory
No matter whether it's a beanie, sunglasses, a necklace or a bag, they can all make a mundane outfit stand out. Grandpa loves wearing peaked caps in his videos. Not only does it hide his thin hair, it can also accentuate his facial contour.
3. The right suit is always an option
The current suit designs are no longer all the way formal. Old-fashioned suits should be padded underneath while oversized cutting can make guys look more slim and tall. And don't forget accessories such as beanies, sunglasses or sling bags. They can always make your suit shine.
A pair of skateboard shoes will also work magic.