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"Uniforms and Symbols"




Dec 2023


Brooklyn, NY

I was born in an era bridging old and new China, with the concept of the 'iron rice bowl' shaping my early years, where state-owned enterprise workers, civil servants, and soldiers were revered. My grandparents were soldiers turned workers, and my parents also began their careers in state owned enterprises, their uniforms and leather shoes representing their occupations. These symbols filled my childhood, sparking dreams of becoming a civil servant or a soldier. Then, the era shifted, state-owned enterprises closed, and the uniform's symbolism waned. Now, at 26, I grapple with identity questions, torn between being a designer, a foreign student, and a Chinese national. The symbols of my childhood lead me to reflect, and in my 26th year, I yearn for guidance amid the ambiguity.

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