Each Day Is a Celebration For Fried Rice’s Maya Wang

Maya Wang, the founder and designer of eclectic label Fried Rice, doesn’t take life too critically — she’s playful easygoing and good-natured. Nevertheless, Wang performs no video games on the subject of her ardour and assist for the group and cultural narratives that introduced her model to life. By every assortment, Wang celebrates range — an ethos that’s instantly evident upon viewing the energetic clothes, all of that are crafted within the coronary heart of the Decrease East Aspect.

After shifting to New York with no formal design or inventive background, Wang was instantly drawn to the infectious vibrations of the town. Each facet of her neighborhood, from the street-style fanatics parading their boldest seems to locals manning their very own fruit carts, reminded her of the intricacies that make her who she is: a brave, style-driven streetwear designer. Wanting to immerse herself within the downtown artistic scene, Wang bought her first stitching machine and the remainder was historical past.

In recognition of AAPI heritage month, Hypebeast sat down with the bubbling creator to debate her origin story and what working amongst New York’s tastemaking designers means to her.

Hypebeast: Your model was named to honor the truth that it represents range and a mess of experiences — in the identical means that as a dish, fried rice is a mix of various components that every one stability one another out. Inform me about the entire disparate parts that make up who you’re.

Maya Wang: After I’m at our store, I at all times ask clients how they really feel about our model and our type. They at all times ask me the identical query in return: “Why’s the model referred to as Fried Rice?” As you stated, Fried Rice is a metaphor for range, and spotlights individuals with completely different sorts of cultural and inventive views — in New York Metropolis and likewise all all over the world. I’m a totally self-taught artist with no style background. So for me to begin the model and get this far attributable to the entire assist and love I get from the group means so much. I additionally need to give that power again to the group so we are able to develop collectively. It’s not simply in regards to the ideas and designs, however it’s about connection.

What initially impressed you to start designing clothes?

I used to be initially a trainer, and for those who requested me if I’d ever develop into a designer, I’d have stated, “Completely not.” However on the similar time, I feel everybody is aware of what they belong to or what they’re searching for deep down. I’ve at all times had the most important obsession with textiles. After I was little, I’d acquire sweet wrappers as a result of I liked the colours or the graphic design of the paper, which my dad and mom clearly thought was loopy. I at all times knew that design that was my factor, however I didn’t actually know what to do with it.

After I was instructing, I used to be one thing of a cloth hoarder. I began bringing cloth again to my tiny condominium in New York and ultimately, I used to be considering, “Okay, I might need to do one thing about this.” I used to be at Goal in the future whereas they had been having an enormous sale, and I purchased my first stitching machine for $50 USD. I nonetheless didn’t know what to do with it. Individuals needed to push me and, on the similar time, I needed to push myself. I had no design abilities, however I at all times had that fireside in my chest, so I feel shopping for the stitching machine was that set off. Little by little, I began making my first design, which was a costume. I’d put on that costume round and get approached by completely different individuals who’d ask about it, and I feel that was after I realized, “Okay, I can preserve doing this.”

What had been some obstacles or challenges that you simply confronted as a self-taught designer?

I can go on about this perpetually, particularly since I’m nonetheless studying. To start with, a fairly apparent one was studying sew. When the enterprise obtained off the bottom, my staff and I’d journey to purchaser exhibits. The primary query we had been ever requested was “Do you will have a line sheet or lookbook?” I’d simply give a giant smile and say, “Oh yeah, completely!” After which after they had been gone, I needed to ask my neighbor, “Are you able to inform me what a line sheet is?” He checked out me and burst out laughing, saying “Maya, how are you going to be right here doing this for those who don’t know what a line sheet is!” So to sum it up, the precise design course of in addition to the enterprise logistics had been tough at first. However on the similar time, I feel it doesn’t matter what we do — we’ll at all times have challenges. It’s extra so about, “How do I take care of them?” I’m at all times going to make it occur.

What have you ever discovered from the Decrease East Aspect, and the way is that represented in your designs?

I’m studying from my neighborhood each single day. You stand up within the morning, drink your espresso and stroll round. You’ll see some individuals taking part in basketball and so they’ll be talking three languages on the similar time. The place we stay is a microcosm for the entire globe. I really feel so lucky that I’m able to take inspiration from the entire individuals round me.

“There may be house for everybody right here. Although we don’t communicate the identical language, though we have now completely different views, it doesn’t matter.”

I keep in mind a very long time in the past after I first got here to New York, the very first thing I ever did was soar on the subway to Spring Road. I used to be simply taking the journey and observing everybody in my automobile. Everybody was so completely different. Nevertheless, everybody has nice concord right here, you understand? It was then, at that second, that I felt like this was my house. There may be house for everybody right here. Although we don’t communicate the identical language, though we have now completely different views, it doesn’t matter. So I need all of that to be integrated into my design parts.

How does your cultural heritage manifest in your designs, and the way do you regularly champion your upbringing via your craft?

I at all times begin with a distinct type of mindset. I’m an immigrant however I’m additionally a self-taught artist. So for me, instinct is actually vital. The expression of 1’s character via not solely textiles but additionally colours and shapes — that’s at all times the enjoyable half. I at all times need to make enjoyable items. I need my items to be interactive. After I create items, I create as if I’m having a dialog with the wearer. And it’s similar to after I take heed to music. I take heed to every kind of music, from heavy steel to punk to classical. I don’t need to limit myself to only one sort of music, similar to how I don’t need my designs to solely communicate to at least one sure viewers.

I like that there are all these completely different locations that you simply draw from in your course of. It yields items that so many individuals can resonate with. In that means, you’re inherently championing range.

Sure. I feel there’s little doubt that this model is a mirrored image of who I’m. I need to categorical who I’m, however on the similar time, I feel who I’m additionally represents lots of people. Fried Rice is a celebration of artistic souls. Whoever you’re, I need you to discover a house right here. Every part I design can be genderless as a result of I need anybody to have the ability to put on any of my designs. And when you placed on considered one of my designs, it turns into a collaboration between us. It’s an ongoing relationship. It makes me actually completely happy to see all of the other ways individuals put on my garments, even methods I hadn’t considered myself.

Your items are whimsical at instances, however nonetheless incorporate sensible utilitarian parts, like cargo pockets or bungee fasteners. How do you stability this dichotomy in your designs?

These two issues might be very completely different, proper? However with Fried Rice, that’s my objective. I do need to create a concord that’s not solely about magnificence but additionally about common wearability. Your physique sort, your gender, your sexuality — it doesn’t matter. It’s all about having enjoyable to me. And on the similar time, I need individuals to really feel like they’ll put on every bit daily.

“I need everybody to really feel a way of belonging and to have fun that.”

Might you give us a couple of insights into your newest Spring/Summer time 2023 assortment?

The final message is similar: we’re celebrating range and celebrating life. We’re right here to share that positivity. That’s the final rule for each single assortment. For Spring/Summer time 23, I targeted extra on distinction. One instance is the Hooded Rave Jacket. It’s reversible with two very completely different prints. It’s very wearable and it has a gorgeous hood, however you possibly can select the way you need to categorical your self via the prints.

How would you describe the Fried Rice group and in what methods do they regularly encourage you creatively, in addition to personally?

There’s simply a lot need to create and to be artistic. It doesn’t matter how lengthy I’ve been dwelling in New York, I’m nonetheless continually impressed. Artists are an enormous viewers for Fried Rice, in addition to entrepreneurs. It’s anybody who has a artistic soul — which is just about everybody. I feel we’re all mutually impressed by one another. Normally, when individuals buy groceries, they choose a chunk, make the acquisition, after which the deal is completed. However for me, that second is definitely after we get began. I don’t need individuals to put on my items as a result of they assume, “That’ll make me look cool.” I need them to put on the piece to characterize who they’re to allow them to proceed of their artistic journey. Individuals are continually stopping by the store, and I like that we have now constructed that bond. And my staff is superb. Each single particular person I get to encompass myself with is so superb.

What do you hope is in retailer for the subsequent chapter of Fried Rice?

New York Metropolis is the place I like probably the most on Earth. And I feel this metropolis is the most effective illustration of the model. However on the similar time, what we do is a metaphor for the range of individuals from all all over the world. So I need Fried Rice to proceed to hold on this message and to amplify it. I’d like to make it extra world. I need individuals all over the place to put on Fried Rice, irrespective of the place they’re. That’s the important thing. I need everybody to really feel a way of belonging and to have fun that.