“A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” – Confucius
When I first moved to San Francisco from South Africa, I honestly knew very little about Chinese culture. At FIDM where I go to school, I made a close friend in a fellow student from Beijing. As our friendship has grown, I have had the opportunity to learn about where she comes from as well as scratch the surface of one of the most culturally influential countries on the planet.
I learned that Chinese culture is one of the oldest, dating back thousands of years! I also learned about the fundamental and important role that Chinese people have played in weaving the fabric of the United States of America. From the philosophy of Confucius, a dynamic fashion history, Marco Polo and his fantastical perception of the East, to modern day China and President Xi Jinping. I was impressed and inspired as I learned about what I saw as a deeply poetic and vigorous cultural history.
Through my travels, I have been blessed to be exposed to so many different places and people. Living in Chinatown in San Francisco, it has often occurred to me that I should venture out into the city more often. I imagined I would pack a few things for the day and wander out just as I would if I were traveling abroad in a new place and in search of its beat. A big part of sharing my experience through my writing is an effort to push myself outside of my boundaries.
This week I learned something new about a place and people that I have a deep respect for. I went on a journey of discovery through China and San Francisco. I designed this piece in red to signify the luck and energy I want to bring into 2017. Its bell sleeves and drape were used to create a silhouette that I wanted to exemplify the female form with. One aspect of Chinese fashion I found compelling was the use of high collars which I felt this dress needed. To bring out an edge and sexiness, that I also feel is a part of Chinese culture, I used a subtly revealing crochet as my canvas.
I have always believed that through travel you learn more about yourself than you do the places you go. This year, I will remember to keep pushing my boundaries and keep setting out on adventures even in my own city. 2017 will be the next mile of your journey too. Branch out and make it count while you come with me on mine!
Dress: Thoki Tafeni
Shoes: Forever 21
Parasol: China Town curio store