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Snapped: The best of Asian street style, from Seoul to Shanghai

By Zoe Li, for CNN

Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT) January 19, 2015
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James Bent has been photographing street fashion all over Asia since 2010. "Asia is capable of being far more daring and experimental than elsewhere, perhaps because it's so hugely populated and there must be intense pressure to make a mark and stand out. But also there is such a wealth of influences to draw from in terms of cultural heritage," says the photographer. All photos shown here are from Bent's new book "Asian Street Fashion" published by Thames & Hudson. Courtesy Thames & Hudson
James Bent has visited Seoul, Tokyo, Osaka, Taipei, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumper to photograph fashionable pedestrians for his book. This fashionista is in Seoul. Courtesy Thames & Hudson
"China is trying to find it's feet amidst the newfound ability to explore and spend money and work out what fashion means. I think China will be a fantastic place to visit in 5-10 years, when it really has an identity of it's own," observes Bent. This was shot in Shanghai. Courtesy Thames & Hudson
"Thailand street style is just people having fun, managing style in a country that is hot and humid. It is full of color and vibrancy and has an intense energy for life," says Bent. This was shot in Bangkok. Courtesy Thames & Hudson
Japanese street style is "hard to pin down in one short sentence, but I'd say whatever style it takes, it reflects a sense of order, even if it seems chaotic, as well as being slightly systematic even when it is being anti-the-system -- it's a paradox!" says Bent. Courtesy Thames & Hudson
His favorite street photographers range from the modern day style spotters, such as Streetfsn as well as old time influences like Brassaï and Henri Cartier Bresson: "They seemed to be kings of capturing the perfect moment, and seeing their photographs can be like falling in love." Courtesy Thames & Hudson
However, Bent also feels that Tokyo can be "a bit of a dud" because everyone's looking to be photographed. "It's become so systematic in terms of street fashion that it seems very fake. But then, if fashion and style is intended, then what is real or fake anyway?" Courtesy Thames & Hudson
Bent's most important style tip: "Experiment. It's as much about knowing what doesn't work for you as knowing what does." Courtesy Thames & Hudson
When asked if he's worried about stereotyping Asian culture in his photography project, Bent says: "Never. I don't go in with any preconception of what it should be. I don't go to Tokyo and say 'oh, Tokyo is famous for Lolita style, so I'll photograph that.' I go and whatever I see that I like, I photograph. The only concern then is how much my own sense of subjective taste has influenced what I've photographed. But then that's true of anyone who creates something. I hope this gets rid of stereotypes such as people thinking it's all wacky style or people in rice hats, cheongsams, kimonos or fisherman pants." Courtesy Thames & Hudson
"It's nice to be able to get at least a small sense of a person's character in the photograph. If you feel charmed in a way, then it's a good shot," says James Bent. More photos can be seen at his blog asianstreetfashion.org. Courtesy Thames & Hudson