They Call Us Chinatown Pretty


Hello and welcome to another edition of they call Bruce Non filtered conversation about what's happening in Asia America I'm bill you and Jeff Yang, and this week we have a very special set of guests who are the authors, the creators of a very, very special book when his right in. The heart bone. Shall we say? It is a book called Chinatown Pretty. It is a book of incredible photographs and some just lovely words celebrating the elders who Don't just make up a the generation, the greatest generation of our community but who? Make. It beautiful with their very presence? So. We left a welcome to they cost Bruce. Valerie Lou in. Andrea Lo. Thank you guys so much for joining us. Thanks for having US have come. You guys have put together a really great project. Know it started off as kind of a Website Project And then is now an a full-fledged published book. It's Chinatown Pretty. Is Just A. Really. Great tribute to Chinatown Elders grandmas and GRANDPAS, but it hits on a very specific. Aesthetic. A fashion aesthetic. I think what's really great about is that you've taken sort of the The the style photography mold and apply to kind of the more most unlikely subjects I think. People who are very special in our community so Maybe, you guys could describe actually what is Chinatown Pretty Yeah. This is Valerie Chinatown pretty as a style that's common and chinatowns across North America It's really a patchwork of different. Eras right close from Hong Kong? They've had for thirty years mixed with like say supreme hat that they got from who knows where? A lot of colors. A lot of patterns sometimes I, four shades of pink or four different floral patterns in one outfit. And that's about keeping warm mostly So you could have a big puffy jacket but also keeping the sun out at the same time. So really white built a hats. I love that description just viscerally but I think for people who have not seen your blog and the book itself. Just a little bit more kind of literal color around that. So. When we talk about transparency pretty we're talking about people who are usually immigrants for immigrants who but who have lived here a while and who have. Synthesized a look and the fascinating thing is the look is different from person to person but somehow it all still fits this mold of Chinatown pretty it blends Western clothing it blends. Traditional clothing from. Historical closets as it were. Sometimes across gender lines. It's often incredibly colorful like you said, is layered it's branded, but it's also unique like there's a signature to how people. In that generation dress that feels so much more vibrant than you know those of us, who are I mean in in quarantine were like the sweatpants anyway. But I guess, what was it? That first struck you about the look of Of these elders and kind of lead you to coin the term and decided to actually explore it photographic in words. Yeah. This is Andrea I'm I'm the photographer behind the project and I think we would. have. Known each other for. Several years now, and we would hang out in Chinatown get dim sum and just people watch in the park. And that press was really fascinating Chinatown I feel like has some of the best people watching and I think what we? Both intuited without really realizing why is that? A lot of the outfits we would see on the senior so people sixty five and plus. They there's all this history woven into their outfits I think. For us we might think, oh, it's like this vintage jacket from the seventies but you know for them it's like close. It had ended preserved for decades. Mixed with with newer Chinatown fines and let the handmade clothing as well. So there's so much. Shown in one outfit it's like there's a lot you can extract from it, and so we were really curious about you know. Not only like where did you get these cool shoes but also yeah, how did this? Is just such A. Look in. So we're really curious. About the stories and the people behind it and so that's that was sort of the seed of. What led us to investigate.

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