Name: Chuck Jiang
Hometown: Shanghai, China
Possible Major: Film and Media Studies, Sociology-Anthropology
From Shanghai to Swarthmore
Hailing from cosmopolitan Shanghai, China’s cultural capital, Jiang is a first-year student. Growing up in the most populated city in China, Jiang describes his home city as being “very international” and was subsequently exposed to diverse range of clothing styles. “Older generations wear more traditional clothing,” he says. But in Jiang’s opinion, young Shanghainese embrace international cultures and wear clothes from British, Korean and Japanese cultures, to name a few. “Shanghai is a very interesting city and you can see all kinds of people there,” he says. For Jiang, Swarthmore is no less visually stimulating. “This is a very interesting and diverse campus in terms of style.” Being part of i20, the international students’ group, has heightened his awareness of cultural diversity. “I know this girl called Efua from Ghana and yesterday she wore very traditional African clothes, which is amazing.” He has even been impressed by the style of his professors, such as Juma, his dance professor. Jiang is especially taken by Juma’s hair, which has a dyed portion in the front.
A Globe-Trotting Shopper
Through both travel and online shopping, Jiang procures much of his clothes and accessories from abroad. Before coming to Swarthmore, he would travel frequently to Hong Kong and the States, making a point to purchase items that are not often available in his home city. ‘When I get to a new city, I like to walk around and visit different shops,” he says. Despite being on campus for less than a fortnight, Jiang has already purchased two pairs of shoes in Philadelphia. He has discovered a store in the city that sells special edition shoes and purchased a pair of collectable Star Wars Adidas sneakers. Jiang was surprised to nab a great deal. “People sell them online for $500 and I got it for $40.” His signature accessory is his pair of glasses which was made in Japan. Jiang purchased the pair online and is especially attracted to its woodgrain handles that contrast against the black, lustrous plastic frames.
Jiang denies demonstrating a fixed personal style, but rather synthesizes elements from different clothing styles. “I like to mingle a lot of clothes together,” says Jiang. However, he frequently purchases brightly colored garments and accessories and adds elements of hip-hop to his outfits as he is a rapper. He and a friend from home make up the rap duo Feezigga. The socially-conscious artists have created 10 tracks rapped in English in makeshift studios in their homes. Feezigga produces tracks that address China’s social problems such as gaokao, China’s national college entrance examination. Jiang describes the exam as being harsh and collaborated in creating a track about the exam as a tribute to his friends applying to local Chinese colleges. He hoped the song, entitled “Real Life Warfare,” would encourage his friends and mediate their stress. But according to the aspiring rapper, “ I don’t really wear super baggy jeans or chains.”
His Current Outfit
Jiang enjoys wearing jeans, as, in his opinion, they go with everything. The pair he is currently wearing has a simple front profile but features a large print of wings spanning both his back pockets. He wears an open short-sleeved shirt that has military-inspired hues and rivets made by a Hong Kong brand. Unbuttoned and open, it reveals his graphic-print and metallic t-shirt made by a Shanghai brand, which Jiang claims makes garments of good quality and durability. He has coordinated the shirt and the t-shirt to create a contrast of dark and bright colors and matte and metallic finishes. As a foil to the rest of his attire, Jiang’s neon, multi-colored Adidas sneakers are eye-catching. “A lot of people on campus have seen them and noticed them,” he says. Jiang purchased the sneakers from Hong Kong, where he had to fly to take the SATs since his local Chinese school did not offer SAT testing. Daily, he spends 5 minutes to coif his hair into voluminous spikes. Before setting on this specific style, he experimented with various styles including long hair and bangs that covered his forehead. He says his current hairstyle is consistent with the rest of his aesthetic, which he describes as having character without being too conspicuous. “It goes pretty well with my style, my clothes, everything.”