Taobao model

6 minutes

Fast fashion: for an e-commerce model in China, 150 outfits in 13 hours is a day’s work

Cui Yue, known professionally as Pin’er, models clothes for online retailers selling their goods on the Chinese e-commerce behemoth Taobao. Because Taobao models are valued for their ability to drive sales, with the website tracking each product, the approach to modelling favours volume and efficiency. Donning between 100 and 200 outfits a day (and more than 200,000 in her career, she estimates), Yue tries to capture the spirit of each outfit in a matter of seconds, shifting her poses in rapid-fire sequences before slipping into the next look. Mostly shot on the street, with the briefest of pauses for water and food, it’s hectic and decidedly unglamorous work, but for models such as Yue it can be lucrative – at least for a time. Part of a video series on work in modern China by the Shanghai-based US photographer and filmmaker Noah Sheldon, Taobao Model is an offbeat and engaging look at a little-seen side of e-commerce and the gig economy.

Director: Noah Sheldon

Producer: Jean Liu

Composer: Nick Zinner

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