Susanna Lau finally speaks out about an essay published online pointedly accusing her of “racial ambivalence” in light of her Asian identity. And while the article has since been taken down, she admit to fans today the piece bothered her.
The fashion journalist, who is in China for Shanghai fashion week, finally comes clean about what the article means to her. She took to Instagram to talk about how she identifies as a girl from London and a girl with Chinese heritage.
While wearing a qipao dress in Shanghai’s Gucun Park Susanna Lau, aka Susie Bubble, states she remembers the author’s flippant tone remarking on a statement Lau once made about wearing qipaos/cheongsam, “because it made me feel like a Chinese dim sum waitress”, and how the author used that as an affirmation to put forth her opinion about Susanna’s lack of interest in representing her culture.
I have to say it is refreshing to have someone like Lau admit these things to her fans. She offers a new perspective on a familiar story, the frequently confusing identity issue of the “No, but where are you from-from?” dilemma when you are of one particular ethnicity but didn’t grow up in that place of origin.
Susanna Lau goes on to say, “walking around in a visual badge of my culture, this pink sequinned @mukzin_official qipao dress in Shanghai’s Gucun Park somehow reminded me of this incident. Maybe I have become less “ambivalent” and more proud of my Chinese culture/identity. Owning it as it were. But maybe we are collectively all mining the depths of that heritage in more nuanced ways. Seeing a new generation of Chinese designers reference traditional attire or overtly Chinese inspirations in their own idiosyncratic way is proof of that.
Of course needless to say I don’t need to “prove” my cultural identity through my attire but my time at @shanghai_fashionweek did prompt some thoughts on ownership of one’s heritage that is seeing fantastic fruition in the fashion world…