_talk with Asian Fashion Archive

L’importance de partager la mémoire

Chapter 1_ Passing memories, with Faith from

Asian Fashion Archive.

Au mois d’avril dernier, j’ai eu l’occasion d’échanger avec Faith, créatrice d’ Asian Fashion Archive. Faith et moi, nous ne nous connaissons pas. Nous partageons pourtant beaucoup de choses, du à nos origines, et trace d’une mémoire migratoire commune. 

Au fil de notre conversation, elle m’explique son parcours, professionnel mais je comprends aussi un cheminement personnel à travers son travail. 

Elle a étudié la mode, et se spécialise dans l’échange et le lien culturel entre l’Orient et l’Occident, et particulièrement entre les USA et la Chine.

Nous nous interrogeons ensemble à la place laisser dans l’éducation de la mode, aux modes vestimentaires « du monde », autres qu’Occidental.

En mettant la mode de toutes époques des pays d’Asie au premier plan dans son site/son instagram, son objectif est de partager la richesse et les différences des cultures des pays asiatiques.

En utilisant la mode, outil social de toute époque, pour la remettre sur le devant de la scène. Redonner une visibilité tangible à des réalités et différences culturelles.

Asian Fashion Archive se veut une ressource pour éduquer sur la richesse et différence des pays de l’Asie. Elle propose de nombreuses images documentées et liens sur son site.

C’est un site, un instagram qui fait du bien, et c’est un projet créé par Faith pour surmonter la violence des attaques racistes envers les Asiatiques-américains aux USA.

À travers des objets sélectionnés par Faith, elle nous raconte son histoire. L’importance de la transmission culturel et historique, pour ne pas oublier. 

Pour ne pas rester invisible.

Cette conversation fascinante flottera longtemps dans mon souvenir, et à travers mes échanges avec d’autre, je regarde moi même mon héritage culturel et education.

The importance of shared memory.

_Talk with Faith from @Asian Fashion Archive

Can you tell me a little bit who you are? 

« My name is Faith. I currently live in New York but was born in London. I am half Chinese, half white, and hold American and UK citizenship. »

What kind of professional / personal background do you have? 

« I currently work at a fashion museum. My previous work experience includes working at an auction house, fashion magazine, and other museums in the NY area. « 

If we have to know one thing about you, what would it be ? 

« My educational background focused on the fashion and cultural relationship between the East and the West, mostly focusing on China and the US. « 

What was the idea behind building Asian fashion archive? 

« There were a few reasons why I started this digital initiative

I started this account last year when I was experiencing anti-Asian racism in New York. The account was a form of mental therapy for me to handle the hurt I was experiencing.

I was angry at the lack of Asian representation in fashion and media and wanted to highlight Asian cultures in beautiful ways.

I wanted to educate others on Asian histories and show that fashion has existed in Asian countries.

Through the images I post, I also wanted to show the diversity of Asian cultures. »

Who or what inspired you into researching those archive images around asian culture? 

« My mom has been very inspirational to me in finding new topics to explore. She is Chinese and grew up in South East Asia, but also lived in London. So she was exposed to a lot of different Asian experiences. « 

How do you research your content, your archive images? Do you go to the library, ask people around you? It seems like a lot of work and research to get your infos accurate ! 

« A lot of the research I have presented has been research I have used in graduate school or past research projects. But I do spend A LOT  hours on digital collections websites from different museums and universities. I am also a huge fan of Google Arts and Cultures. »

What purpose do you want your instagram/ website to have? 

« I want it to offer educational resources to those who want to learn more about Asian cultures and histories. I also want to show the beautiful diversity of Asian countries. »

How would you like to develop Asian Fashion Archive in the future? 

« I’m not sure yet! I am also trying to learn new ways to present my research in creative and educational ways. »

What is your next project? or the project you would like to do in the future? 

« I would like to continue to research other topics relating to Asia and fashion and hopefully be able to reach a larger audience. « 

I love the content of your instagram, very specific and wide on asian culture and especially fashion. I sense a lot of fashion sensibility in your research !What made you orientate your iconographic research in the « Fashion » part of asian culture? 

« My educational background focused on the fashion relationship between the East and the West, which my account originally focused on. However, I realized many fashion accounts did not present Asian fashion or histories, so I decided to broaden my posts. « 

There is more and more talk about cultural appropriation, especially in the fashion industry. Where do you stand on that matter? What is the limit between appropriation and homage? 

« I think this is a very tricky topic, especially right now. I think if you decide to be inspired by a culture that is not your own, you should familiarize yourself with it first and educate yourself. Also, ask yourself if this could be offensive in any way. »

Did you have an asian fashion role model or  inspiration while growing up? What about now? 

« I love Tina Chow! She was such a style icon and her love of fashion was so inspiring. I hope to one day to own one of her jewelry pieces! »

How do you think fashion helps us define our time and what can we wish for the future of the asian fashion ? 

« I think many people can relate to fashion. I don’t think of fashion as just Chanel, Dior, etc., but as a way to express your identity. I also look forward to seeing the future of emerging Asian designers and creatives! »

To be able to transmit tradition, knowledge of asian culture is important to educate the world to the differences, and to perpetuate a knowledge too.

What is the most important thing that was passed by to you by your family? (a memory, a family tradition, an object… ) 

« The most important thing that I have received from my family is my mother’s wedding cheongsam. She got married in London and wearing that dress was a way for her to express her Chinese identity. »

Can you pick: One artwork/ artist  / book or person that was life changing and helped you to choose your path ?

« One of my all time favorite collections is Vivienne Tam’s spring 1995 « Mao collection ». It was a collaboration between Tam and Chinese artist Zhang Hongtu. It is a very misunderstood collection. Through the garments, Zhang and Tam successfully combined fashion and art to highlight China’s past and present political issues. »

Can you pick: one object that defines you?

« I love jade jewelry. I typically wear one piece of jade jewelry a day, a ring, necklace, bracelet, etc. I think it is a beautiful and comforting stone and it is a way for me to present my pride in my Chinese background. »


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