Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu

 

On her book The Beautiful Generation: Asian Americans and The Cultural Economy of Fashion

Cover Interview of August 24, 2011

A close-up

The fun thing about writing a book about an emerging phenomenon is that there is always something surprising to learn.

If I could direct readers to any part of the book, it would be to those sections in chapter 2 when I talk about how Asian American designers and Asian sewers talk to each other, using the language of kin—calling them uncles and aunties—and how they imagine their relationship to each other.

Those exchanges were very surprising to me because they seem to undo a lot about what we think we know about sewers and the craft of sewing—as low-wage, disempowered, immigrants doing unskilled work.  They revealed to me that categories which seem so fixed to us are in practice actually constantly shifting.