There are people that want what they see in campaigns and editorials. That’s what I’m offering.
When it comes to fashion and beauty there is often a disconnect between what you see and what you get. Campaign images and airbrushed editorials tend to create a deceptive illusion surrounding a product – making it seem like it offers so much more than it actually does. For this reason, celebrity makeup artist and fashion photographer Donald Chiu decided to launch his makeup brand called POPSTAR – a brand that customers can trust will live up to their expectations.
Chiu knows his stuff when it comes to beauty. He’s had a collective experience of 23 years in the makeup industry working with pretty much every single brand (Olay, Shiseido and Shu Uemura, which had an exclusive crossover collaboration with) and talent in Hong Kong including the late legend Anita Mui. After his initial 10 years of working as a makeup artist, he then decided to evolve as a visual artist by pursing a career in photography as well, working on editorials for magazines and campaigns for brands, which he has done for the last 13 years. So, it’s safe to say he has the know-how and experience for creating beauty from a well-rounded perspective, an advantage that he has over makeup brands that don’t have as much real, hands-on experience with customers and clients.
We catch up with the accomplished tastemaker and beauty aficionado about, drag queens, social media and why his brand Popstar stands on its own in an overly saturated and competitive industry.
F - FASHIONALLY
D - Donald Chiu
F: Why did you want to start your own makeup brand?
D: So last year I decided I want to launch my own makeup when I was helping Make Up For Ever launch their new Foundation. The response was quite good so I thought if
I still have influence in the industry, I should launch my own makeup. I wanted to bring what makeup artists use to the consumer. A lot of times when you buy what’s on the market you can’t get the effect that you want. The products are usually diluted to work for everyone. But, there are people that want what they see in campaigns and editorials. That’s what I’m offering.
F: And how do you give that to them? What gives you an extra edgy?
D: I’m a makeup artist and photographer, so I know what people really want. The people in R&D for brands are not people that have actually worked in the makeup industry. They are just people heading to an office or to a lab. My brand stands out because it’s something that comes from my personal experience. Also, my products have been formulated in a way that's much better than other brands. It's waterproof and it will last throughout the day. My hero product at the moment is the is the long lasting matte lipstick. Girls wearing it can go swimming without worrying that their makeup will smear.
F: I noticed from your Instagram that besides women you have a few drag stars. Tell me about them.
D: I’ve sponsored a few drag queens. I launched a brand that’s inclusive and not only for women, so if men want to wear my lipstick, they can. And drag queens use more makeup than women, so why wouldn’t I want to sell to them [chuckles].
F: So you run your own social media accounts? You don’t work with any PR agencies?
D: Nope. I do everything myself. That's why I'm up at 5 am every day. Just now I was doing the makeup and shooting the campaign for the brand. I'm just starting up the brand so I'm hand-on with everything from the research, production and branding.
F: Do you find it to be difficult to start up a brand in a saturated industry?
D: Every industry is saturated [laughs]. We live in an age where something can become popular within a week. So, it’s just finding a way to make your product unique and special.
F: What are your plans heading into the next year?
D: I plan to launch a full range of products. So next year I’ll be launching eyeshadows and foundation, which you can look forward to.