Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Chattanooga Style At Georgia Tech
Cindy Wang remembers her life before fashion. The Georgia
Tech sophomore was then 14 years old when she discovered
Dior and Chanel runway shows on television. "When I got
back to my closet I was mortified." Following that epiphany,
the self-described tomboy began modeling for her dad's
designer friends in China. The styles were "edgy with an
Asian influence, but tailored for Americans or Europeans."
European travel broadened her fashion sense when she
realized how both the natural and built environments can
influence sartorial choice. "I definitely noticed this in Sweden,
where it gets dark early and people wear lots of solid and dark
colors-wooly, comfy clothes." Parisians appeared "sweet and
polished" amid their romantic architecture.
Today Wang distinguishes herself in a ruffled neckline Ann
Taylor blouse, ruched Zara shorts, patterned tights and shoes
from Betsy Johnson and Banana Republic, respectively.
"It's a soft, feminine look that I can wear day and night," she
explains. That litany of labels needn't be a budget breaker.
Last year she discovered thrifting at places like Salvation Army
Her friend, Tech Junior Heidi Vreeland, grew up with the habit.
"Mom wouldn't buy new things very often, so I inherited her
thrifting ability." Vreeland shops with eye for mixing and
matching, which shows in these shades of grey. The H&M top
was tried first as the inner layer, but looked best outside the
silvery summer dress. Her choices are intuitive: "I know right
away whether something works," and she enjoys discovering
new combinations in her closet. "They might look bad, but they
might surprise you, too."
People do notice these efforts. A Chattanooga fashion blogger
admired her jacket and dress, both from Goodwill. The proprietors
of that city's Collective Clothing shop recruited her to work for
them. "I never pursue, it but I get opportunities for fashion modeling,
perhaps because I'm tall," says she of appearances in a campus show of
sustainable fashions and a Wes Anderson-themed, vintage celebration
at the Chattanooga Choo Choo.
While the ladies met in class and bonded over clothes, worldly
interests have deepened their friendship. Wang studies biology,
Vreeland Japanese and international affairs. They are living and
learning what Coco Chanel noted:
"Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only.
Fashion is in the sky,in the street; fashion has to do with ideas,
the way we live, what is happening."