What Are They Wearing? The Young Asian Americans Of The Bay Area

What Are They Wearing? The Young Asian Americans Of The Bay Area

267,915 Asians (33.3%) live in San Francisco alone—this makes up a majority in the city proper. As generations get passed down from one to another, we wonder if style carries?

How does tradition, background, and modern technology play into the lives of young Asian American men and women? We asked three San Franciscans about their heritage and how it relates to their personal style.

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Andrea

BC: What are your fashion inspirations?

A: The closest thing I have to a source of fashion inspiration is my sister! I think we have very distinct styles, but we’re both so outlandish with our choices that she’s my go-to person for advice on what to wear, what to pair things with, and what to buy. My sartorial choices are largely my own, but I trust and value her opinion. She encourages me to wear what I want and feel cool and comfortable in, regardless of how other people might perceive me.

BC: Do you feel like you express your Asian Americanness through your fashion?

A: In terms of traditional Filipino clothing: no, I don’t use pieces from my culture in my day-to-day outfits… Not technically, at least! Loving to get a good deal on things is something that runs in my blood—I come from a tree of people who are bargain hunters, hagglers, and deal-scouters. My grandmother is particularly fond of garage sales and thrift stores, and my sister and I have inherited this affinity. Almost all, if not a good ninety-eight percent, of my closet is comprised of pieces that I’ve found on thriftstore trips. In a way, dressing myself in unique finds at second-hand locations is my funny way of honoring my family while saving money, the environment, and curating a style that is one-of-a-kind and all my own.

BC: If not, is there a particular reason why?

A: There’s not much of a reason as to why I don’t dress in anything traditionally Filipino, but if I had to say, I guess it’s just because those kinds of garments have never been very accessible to me here in the United States.

BC: Lastly, what are some of your favorite general things to do for fun?

A: If it wasn’t already given away, I love going thrift shopping; it’s always so rewarding to search the racks overflowing with clothes and end up finding something that you absolutely love. Other than curating a primarily-pink closet of clothes, I enjoy writing, reading, and poetry.

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Sara

BC: What are your fashion inspirations?

S: I don’t have any specific individuals or styles that my inspiration comes from, but as I’m developing my own style I have tried in some ways to pull off the same looks of being very put together, but in a natural effortless way, that can be seen in a lot of everyday European outfits.

BC: Do you feel like you express your Asian Americanness through your fashion?

S: I don’t express my asian americanness through the way I dress, I think if anything, the fact that I generally wear more monochrome clothing juxtaposes the traditional Pakistani and South Asian pieces I own. This isn’t something I do consciously, but I hope to branch out more into using different colors in the future. I’m trying to wear different colored pants on hot days, which in some ways resemble traditional shalwar that I grew up wearing.

BC: Lastly, what are some of your favorite general things to do for fun?

S: For fun and just to unwind i like spending time with my friends and family, going to museums, listening to music, hiking and being in nature, and when possible, exploring new cities and places.

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Tony

BC: What are your fashion inspirations?

T: My fashion is reflective of my very flamboyant gay twink personality. Therefore, I find myself more drawn to colorful and fun designs such as Moschino. I draw a lot of my inspiration from Nylon Japan and Japanese subcultures.

BC: Do you feel like you express your asian americanness through your fashion?

T: I definitely feel that my identity as an Asian American manifests through my self-expressive choices in fashion. Growing up, I was surrounded by “ABGs”, asian baby girls, therefore I can see the connection between westernized beauty standards and central asian beauty standards. In terms of my own style, unfortunately, I subconsciously conform and compromise the two beauty standards. However, I also enjoy the duality of being a promiscuous bad bitch and cute trendy Asian twink.

BC: Lastly what are some of your favorite general things to do for fun?


T: I love video games and gay televised content. Although I have the capacity to be a social and outgoing, I find it more cathartic to be at home with a bag of potato chips and gay anime. On another note, attempting to be less dense, I also enjoy philosophical studies and theories. In other words, when I’m not playing video games, I’m staring at the ceiling, contemplating and introspecting.

// Photography courtesy of the subjects.



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