Prato, once a model Italian city famed for its textile industry, entered a steep and dramatic decline in the 1980s. But as the final act of Prato’s industrial revolution played out, a new actor — the Chinese migrant — arrived from Wenzhou to breath life into this most Italian city. Today, Chinese businesses occupy abandoned industrial buildings and families live in unoccupied homes in a large area that is known as Chinatown. The local Italian community view their Chinese neighbours as unwelcome intruders and illegal Chinese workshops as blights on Italy’s proud industrial heritage.
Chinatown Lookbook focuses on Chinese youth and their use of fashion as a tool for the exploration of self-identity. This work stems from my sense of belonging to an area that is today considered derelict and a no-go area by a large part of the Italian community. Exploring the stories of a global generation and looking for beauty where no one else can see it allows us to chart a community’s evolving fashion identity in an unlikely border town between East and West.
Chinatown Lookbook was shortlisted as a finalist for the Marco Pesaresi Award 2016 at SI Fest, Savignano Immagini, Italy.
The multimedia project connected to this photo essay was included in the Slideluck Prato event on September 30th 2016.
Click on the preview below to play the multimedia. Text in this video is in English.