It's no secret that elderly folks across the country are experiencing the brunt of COVID-19. That, coupled with racism railed at the Chinese community, wrongfully blaming them for the virus, makes upcoming books like Chinatown Pretty all the more important.
The photography project comes from the minds of Valerie Luu (owner of San Francisco's Rice Paper Scissors pop-up restaurant) and Berkley-based freelance photographer, Andria Lo. The duo has been documenting the fashion and stories of seniors from six Chinatown neighborhoods—in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Oakland, Chicago and Vancouver—since 2014.
"Chinatown Pretty shares nuggets of philosophical wisdom and personal stories about immigration and Chinese-American culture," the team writes in the book.
You can think of the photography project as the next wave of Humans-of-New York-style photojournalism. Although certainly showcasing unabashed sartorial decisions that will inspire your next outfit—expect to be delighted by innovative fashions of subjects such as the likes of Dorothy G.C. Quock (also known as Polka Dot), boasting a heirloom rice bag-turned-dress—it's basically a beautiful love letter to culture and style of each city's own Chinatown.
In areas such as Manhattan, where gentrification continues to push out the most vulnerable populations, the book can also be looked at as an archive of the fading immigrant communities across the nation. Either way, the project sheds a light on an often-overlooked aspect of city life.
Chinatown Pretty just launched for pre-order and will be available on shelves starting September 22, 2020. Expect 113 enthralling stories to page through.