Viewing page 9 of 11

[[Left-Hand Page]]


Once the uniform of the working class, the coolie coat is today's trendy topping for fashion conscious girls on the go.
[[Left-most side of Page depicts an illustration of a Chinese fashion model wearing an intricate coat and long dress]]Washington Post, Friday, August 15, 1975 Style Section, Page 3

asians & the fashion cult

The past four months has seen a proliferation of fashion advertisements exalting "Chinoiserie" (the French term for all things Chinese). High collars, rich brocades, satin slippers and details like frog closings have hit the fashion scene and along with it goes the "Oriental face." Beauty columns offer tips on how to "make your face look rounder, your lips smaller, and your eyes flatter and slanted" (see page 16, McCalls, Aug, 1975) to coordinate your face with your clothes. 
What is the significance and effect of the emergence as fashion objects of Asian peoples' faces and cultural trappings of their countries of origin.
The Chinoiserie fad places Asians in behavioral strait jackets. Catchy words are chosen to punctuate Chinese fashion ads. The phrase 'mysterious exotic, slinky' continues to be used by uninformed, unimaginative advertisers.
The public image of Asians as caricatures or exaggerations if themselves has struck again! Here the danger lies in that public expectation and reinforcement of stereotypic images are being encouraged. And fashion's message to Asian women is that they will be rewarded, appreciated, and even admired and envied for being China dolls or dragon ladies. Women and Asians don't need nor want this kind of imprisonment.
And what could be the logic behind creating an Oriental face to go along with Chinese clothes? Does this mean that Asian women should create double folded eyelids when attired in western dress?
The emergence of the "Chinese look" in fashion is an example if how media objectifies Asian and other Third World people. To be placed on a fashion page as a fad is not unlike being placed in a museum as an anthropological curiosity,
It is significant that fashion and media in general distorts Chinese culture in transplanting the cultural trappings of historical periods to a different setting and selling them as commodities. Not only does it exaggerate traits, it tends by its choice of style to glorify the oppressive Chinese ruling class of the past--thus encouraging people to aspire to that lifestyle.
But fashion does not overlook the public's ramanticized notions of working and peasant classes. Appealing to these notions, it takes the objects of the workers and modifies them to its own aims. Note how the so-called "coolie-jacket" of the working class has been transformed to cocktail wear and sold at exorbitant prices (see ad). 
Asian people should be insulted at becoming objects of the cult of fashion. Today's fashions inevitably become tomorrow's garbage heap.

● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●
● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●
● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●
                 - B.S.F.


[[Right-Hand Page]]
Dissatisfied with the image Asian Americans presented in the media, schools, and elsewhere???
Confused or ignorant about your history/identity as an Asian American???
Looking for meaningful dialogue, or a forum for discussion about areas of concern particular to Asian Americans???
Are you a writer or poet seeking an audience and comradship???
Or someone who simply wants to work and play with other Asians???
Do you want to make a significant contribution to the Asian American community???

EASTERN WIND, INC. is a charitable and education organization dedicated to the promotion of a positive image of Asian Americans. Eastern Wind, Inc. is also committed to the development of a greater understanding among Asians of their individual and collective experiences in the United States.

Presently, the main activity of the organization is the newsletter bearing the same title, EASTERN WIND. This newsletter is a bi-monthly publication covering a wide range of topics of concern to Asian Americans. Examples of our articles: a "Truth in History" series demystifying and correcting Asian American history in this country and throughout the world, an "As Asian Women" series devoted to the concerns of the Asian Women's Liberation movement, and of Third World Liberation in general, an article about the 15,000 strong Asian American demonstration in New York.

These are only a few examples of our concerns and are indicative of our general direction. In adherence with our stated aim of providing community and information service to the Asian-American community in the D.C. metropolitan area, Eastern Wind, Inc. is also attempting to establish an informational resource center for the promotion if an awareness of the policies, structure, and events of interest to Asians.

Eastern Wind, Inc. welcomes the membership of any person who shares our goals and want to contribute to our activities.

Contribution can take a variety of forms:
   For the newsletter, we need writers and typists. Lay-out experts and artists, proofreaders, production people, or anyone who may want to learn about these skills.
   Likewise, the realization of a resource center demands simply, and most importantly, people power: time and energy to look for a place, to fix it up, to staff it once established, etc.
   Eastern Wind, Inc. has also sponsored dances and informal parties.

Eastern Wind, Inc. is a cohesive group of yund Asian Americans determined to understand and rectify our past and present experiences as Asian Americans.

Eastern Wind, Inc. has three classes of membership:
CLASS A: Membership with full voting-rights, open to the staff of the newsletter and any person who subscribes and volunteers for work with the newsletter.
CLASS B: membership without voting rights, subscribers of the newsletter

Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact