Food is the way to a man or woman’s soul. Nearly any culture celebrates their unique heritage through food in some way, and the Chinese may be one of the most recognizable in their deep-rooted cultural relationships to food. We’ve all seen Chinese takeaway boxes on our kitchen counter when Mom was having a particularly busy week, or in the hands of a college student trudging through the city streets, chopsticks in one hand, their dinner in another. Those little shiny white paper boxes are the emblem of fast Asian food, and London designer A Sai Ta embraces his roots by offering a unique twist to his clothing: packaging them in the iconic takeaway boxes. The fun and quirky way of delivering his pieces is possible because of the scrunchable nature of their pre-wrinkled style. His nylon dresses and tops fit neatly into a little square box that gets sent to the customer’s home, an ironic juxtaposition of the meticulous work that goes into his designs and the almost humorous fast-food inspired presentation. It’s an unconventional fusion of his Chinese heritage and the way his culture is interpreted today in Western society: through takeout.
Asai is a London-based label that debuted at London Fashion Week in the Spring season of 2017. Its designer, A Sai Ta, is a second generation half-Chinese and half-Vietnamese who grew up in London, and drew inspiration from his mother who was a seamstress. After graduating from Central Saint Martins with a BA, Ta worked for Kanye West’s Yeezy collection for five months before pursuing his individual style and launching a fashion line of his own. Supported by Fashion East, Ta’s work attempts to break through conventional shapes and lines in design and to create new worlds out of familiar concepts. His look is described as striving attain “anti-perfectionism”, where the rules of fashion are broken and the stereotypical notion of appealing images is challenged by jarring colors, shredded materials and paint-splattered tie-dye.
Like many modern up-and-coming designers, Tai chooses to use social media to promote and create his brand. The looks from his latest collection can be found in his Instagram @asaitakeaway. His choice of styling for his pieces display his unique overview of his designs, including his most iconic model, the blue Avatar lookalike from the James Cameron classic. A combination of feral unease and mythical beauty is found in his watercolor tie-dye dress and thigh-high boots printed to resemble ancient Chinese pottery. It leaves you feeling a little unsettled, a little mesmerized, but certainly wondering for more.