Ying Chu, Closets
Ying Chu

Many years ago, Ying's Chinese grandfather and Tibetan grandmother walked from China to India to live together. Ying says that growing up in India, he was one of the only Asians, and he was embraced there for being exotic, as opposed to shunned as an outcast. So it was a bit of surprise when he moved to Baltimore for high school to find his minority status not so accepted. Ying's school was ninety-five percent African American and he was "in awe," but the sentiments weren't mutual. Luckily, minority status is an asset, not a negative for him. (I don't know whether this is a coincidence or just the overriding theme of this site, but artist Virginie Sommet, a few posts back, has dedicated her life to exposing the ignorance behind the minority and majority stigmas.) Turning what some might deem a negative into a positive is an understatement for Ying. He made dresses from plastic bags for Barbie at the age of ten - he couldn't afford the fabric - and today, despite the odds, he is a whirling dervish of talent and design, with the sophisticated cuts of his t-shirt line and wildly decorated handbags. I personally love Ying's truly effortless style, which I see as a manifestation of his comfort in who he is. He literally throws it altogether in the moment and you are left drooling over the outcome, which is centered around his eye for the ultra-classics that get better with age, like the perfect boyfriend jean, weathered Beatle boots and piles of accessories. He even makes rubber bands chic. Ying describes his love for his favorite author, Susan Sontag, as rich, dark, and deep, which is how I would describe him. He finds solace in the author's writings, especially the relationship between Susan and her son, David. Ying's mother sat him on the bathroom sink at eight years old and asked him if he would be okay if she left home. His answer: "If you are okay, then I am." He says that you don't have to see his face to know him, you can look at his tattoo, which says "Forgive me, my first love." As he says, "Your happiness is more important than mine."

If you liked Ying, you may also enjoy Jermaine Jagger and Jen Chia.

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