Very Happy Juice
‘Fashion’ has always been an evolving idea in my head: inherently abstract, its meaning intangible. With the ‘Very Happy Juice’ collection, the process made me understand my relationship towards fashion as something nonsingular- and I had to start at the very beginning. So often we look at our future selves to create, to become five steps ahead in invention, that we don’t look to blurred pasts to complete the stories that make our art.
Our childhood and first visual surroundings determine our likes and dislikes of tastes, tints, textures, all our little quirks which compromise who we are. So, naturally, I started from there. Digging through pictures of my childhood life, certain details of this distant time became no longer just a speck of nostalgia, but objects of definition. An age 6th birthday invite, the forgotten favorite Barbie shirt, my first self portrait in art class; these are the relics that have made me. Looking through pictures, I also came upon those of my mother’s young adult memories, things that have made her. My whole life I have strived to know my mother’s life better, and this collection was a way to understand ours.
Hong Kong was ours; our upbringing. The city of my life and hers. My collection manifests the city and our respective younger lives into the physical. The influences of her young adulthood, the icons of magazines and television carried on into those of mine. In the golden days of Hong Kong, the 80s, women in mass media became more colorful, more expressive, and carried more freedom than any age before that. To me, these women now in their 40s-60s called ‘Aunties’, have become my influence and breathing representation of the city.
To both of us, these women pioneered ideas charging forward. Partly due to Western influence, back then was an age of great transition, the women established sexual autonomy and significant steps towards individual freedoms which could be seen in the vibrant and more liberated imagery of the time. Today, these same women carry the same spirit of nonchalance, be it for trends or attitude. Hence these living manifestations of the city are a core vision in my collection: portraying the same style and energy they carry and have set for the generations after them.
The words ‘Very Happy Juice’ was taken from one of Hong Kong’s thousands of neon street signs, and struck a chord with me. Other than its cheerful undertone, it is a reference to the ‘bad google-translated English’ appearing all over the city, rooting from our British colonization- who’s Western impact was quite pronounced in the 80s. It also reminds of something childish, ‘silly’ in its core. It advises that this collection is nothing conceptual, nothing intellectual and nothing trying to be outstanding. What this collection is about, is just a story, my story, a story of women from my city, my home, but most importantly a celebration of that: what it is to be who we are.