Saturday, May 26, 2007

What IS She Wearing?

Does anyone else living in Hong Kong, or any other Asian country, find it depressingly difficult to keep up to date with fashion? I mean sure, we have magazines and the internet heroically trying to provide us with some guidelines to follow, but sometimes I find it really hard to believe that people actually wear some of the items they advertise.

I find that when I'm in the UK, I just always find it so much easier to grasp. You're out on the streets and you see people sporting styles and trends you've seen in magazines and you can begin to understand how it works. In Hong Kong, we're just constantly lost! Our only role models, most of the time, are wearing big frilly lolita dresses with matching bonnets or fishnet stockings, ankle boots and "nautical" shirts in cyan and purple. And I'll be damned if that will ever be considered fashionable in Europe.

Of course, it can't be denied that there are some great advantages of living in a foreign country as far as clothes are concerned; we have access to stores and malls that people outside of Asia have never even heard of, meaning that we can return to our home countries the proud owners of clothes that people there have no chance of possessing - ergo, we don't look anything like the rest of the countries' clones, a refreshing thing in todays world. We've also all been given the chance to develop our very own sense of style - of course, this can be a bad thing as much as it can be good. We can own fantastic clothes that no one else has and, when asked, take great pleasure in throwing out lines like, "Oh, this old thing? I picked it up in China / Thailand / India / Zimbabwe, years ago." And it doesn't even have to be the truth because if there's one thing that everyone knows, it's that us Expat Brats get to travel the globe a whole lot more than the Home Dwellers.

So yes, I understand that in some ways, living in a non-European country can work to our advantage tremendously. But that just doesn't change the fact that we have a serious shortage of fashion icons to follow in Asia. A good example would be my sister. Lora lives in England and therefore has access to, and follows religiously, all of the latest high-street trends and fashions. I always think I'm doing a pretty good job of doing the same thing, with the help of UK's monthly Glamour magazine, until I talk to Lora. Comments such as, "You wore WHAT?!" and "That's not exactly been cool here for months now, but I guess where you are, it still is..." are common occurences in our conversations, as are questions from my end like "What the hell are brogues?!" and "Viscose dresses? Never heard of them."

So, what's a girl to do? We can say as much as we like that trends don't matter to us, that we're too cool and sophisticated to care and that we will never again be slaves to fashion, but none of it's true, is it? The fact is that we all want to look amazing, all the time, deny it as we may. Maybe we should all just throw in the labels and opt for matching caps and overalls. Hey, it worked for China, just half a short century ago, who's to say it won't catch on?


Kathy said...

dude, i love doing there "oh, this old thing - picked it up in beijing/rome/france." its the most awesome, snobbiest yet fun thing ever, and it rocks to stick out from the clones. and then i get to do the same thing again when i come back from i-to-the-reland with clothes from there. so my basic message is:
being international rocks! =]

Ling Fung said...

Lol i think im not one of your target audience then, as it doesn't entirely suit me; but once again very light-hearted and easy to read. Your writing starts to flow better, but again I would say maybe digging a bit digger? Also I think it's quite important to lead out your main 'exploring title' of the column, as for this one in the intor you just describe the fashion situation. Keep it up!! :)

hayley said...

hey ling fung, you're never online when i am! sooo thanks for all your comments and stuff, although im not sure what you mean here. you say i just describe the fashion situation in the intro and should dig a little deeper.. fairdo, but the article is about the fashion situation, that's the point, there's not really any more digging to be done :P but yeah keep commenting, much appreciated!! x