I am not one for subtlety.
“Woah, look at all this denim. Oh my god, roosters! Patchwork! And what is this?” I whip my head around to the girl standing beside the couch, which is covered in said clothing, “Who designed these?”
She looks taken aback.
“I’m the designer,” she said.
Meet Ching — a 25-year old design graduate of Wigan and Leigh college, and the thoughtfully-dressed stylist for the shoot that day.
So we’ve done the (in)formalities. Hair and makeup starts and I begin to feel out the vibe Ching is going for. Asian-inspired. Funky. Quirky. Sumo-style bun and heavily penciled eyebrows.
She lays out my first outfit — an all-denim ensemble creatively styled with a gold belt, blue tie-dyed socks, and some simple white kicks. A long denim skirt belted over cutoff shorts that look like a pair I bought from a thrift store back home. The top is loose, but cinched at the waist, and held up by what looks like small belt straps.
The photographer asks me to make “angry” faces. Easy. I think about how I feel when I’m “hangry.” There are high kicks involved, and some spinning. No posing, just moving around in a somewhat graceful style.
It hits me as I finish the first outfit, that I want to know more about Ching. Where she buys her clothes, what she thinks of Mumbai’s street style scene, the best wine bars… (hahaha.)
Here is what I found out.
Ching describes her style as funky, yet classy. I concur.
She doesn’t have huge flashes of inspiration. Instead, it hits at random moments and it is these moments she incorporates into her designs. Patchwork pants, multicolored coat buttons, needlework decorations. Japanese street style has been her compass more than anything. Style crush? Akimoto Kozue, Japanese actress/DJ/model. Having never heard of her, I style-stalked Kozue’s Instagram (@akimoto_kozue) I recommend you do the same.
I asked Ching where I can shop to look as cool as her.
Colaba, Hill Road and Crawford Market. In these places you can find a little bit of everything. As Ching puts it, you never know what you’re going to find, which is all part of the excitement. Wondering if she got the inspiration for her rooster skirt wandering through Crawford Market’s colonial-style streets.
So how does Ching’s radical style fit into Mumbai’s fashion scene? In places like NYC or Tokyo she would be inconspicuous, but here in Mumbai her style is a head-turner. Luckily, according to Ching, the fashion scene here in Mumbai keeps changing every season, and Mumbaikars are becoming less cautious and more experimental with their garments and accessories. Her hope is that people here in Mumbai will start to feel more comfortable in their own skin and to continue to explore where fashion can take them.
I want to know what she does when she’s not strategizing her next design, or sewing patchwork squares onto plaid pants.
“I’m a bit of a loner. I like exploring the city on my own. Anything from watching birds to taking pictures of intricate details. I spend my time at home rearranging my furniture, painting, reading children’s books and the like.”
Dude. How cool is that? In my free time I wonder what else I could be doing during my free time.
I couldn’t believe she has only been designing clothes for a year.