For their fall collection, designers Haoran Li and Siying Qu, in partnership with the Museum of Chinese in America, peered into the historical imagery of the 19th-century California Gold Rush, focusing on Chinese migrants who journeyed from the Pearl River Delta region, many of whom worked on the transcontinental railroad in the U.S. The design duo sought to raise awareness of this important historical achievement and acknowledge the xenophobic feelings of that era, while battling similar issues today with the global COVID-19 pandemic, creating a clear parallel with the current increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans.

The look: A genderless utilitarian look for the modern-day wearer that fuses Western workwear with 19th-century Chinese garment details. 

Quote of note: “We started on this topic because when we were designing in 2020 and for previous collections, too, we always wished there was a collection we could focus on a topic that is close to our hearts, about Asian culture, so we thought this could be the perfect moment to mention it, especially seeing how much COVID-19 has increased xenophobia, racism and even violence toward different Asian communities.”

Standout pieces: Terry cloth dresses with Mandarin collars and knot buttons on the side (in metal), overshirts with soft harness details (a Private Policy signature), quilting details seen throughout on vests and coats (often with the brand’s slanted checker pattern), vegan leather pants, denim midi-skirts, a starry night printed shirt, a graphic T-shirt with a crane carrying the Private Policy checkered flag (an echo to the bald eagle carrying the American flag), and a rendition of the classic Chinese hat updated in a bright pink and sage green, finished with a chunky metal chain.

The takeaway: The Private Policy club kid attitude remains, even as the brand sheds light on a sociopolitical theme this season, sparking discovery and interest for future generations while offering a fresh take on Western flair.

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