With the vast range of different styles, fabrics and colours in clothing around the world, it would be a shame if we at Western were only exposed to the narrow subsection of North American fashion. Whether the result of tradition, religion, geography or just a fundamental difference in the philosophy of dress, clothing with cultural capital has unique and inimitable visual appeal.
Hua Hua, currently finishing her master's in actuarial sciences and statistics, has an eye for a tasteful sort of cultural fusion — preserving the colours and designs of her country while incorporating it into an eye-catching but everyday outfit.
"This is a traditional Chinese dress, but nowadays it can be a little more relaxed, daily wear," says Hua.
Generally, it's dangerous to wear multiple pieces in the same pattern, but Hua's floral motif works well here as a bold statement. Each floral pattern is a little different, which prevents uniformity and repetitive patterning.
Her long jacket and tight sleeves make for an unusual, draping silhouette. The dappled floral print, reminiscent of watercolours, is undoubtedly the centrepiece of the outfit, catching the eye from a distance.
This Chinese dress is another fascinating piece in Hua's outfit. A carefully embroidered, nearly-abstract peacock design is a splash of icy blue which complements the jacket as well as the white of the dress.
In addition, her straw hat adds a touch of warm colour to the blues and whites, while the decorative flower on top adds an interesting accessory which fits with the whole ensemble.
Finally, her handbag and shoes add to the floral motif while adding a few different colours to spice up the outfit.
"I dress to show where I'm from, but also to show what emotion I'm feeling," Hua explains. "The most important thing is to express yourself."
WHERE TO GET IT
Dress: A traditional Chinese dress, Hua got this from her own family store. This whole outfit would be difficult to find in your average retailer, but sites like GoodOrient specialize in more oriental clothing if you're willing to pay shipping.
Hat: A simple hat with a simple decoration. It takes a little courage to pull one off, but there's a decent (and cheap) selection at Forever 21.