Quad Style: Richard Wu
My name is Richard Wu and I’m a fourth year Public Policy major. I’m involved with GlobeMed and I’m on the Fencing team. Outside of school, I’m working on a food review startup called Foodie. I love to watch food travel shows, cook, and eat-- often in that order.
How would you describe your personal style?
I learned two important fashion lessons from my dad: how I dress is a sign of respect for my station, and to never skimp on quality. I don’t own anything avant garde and I’m probably a few trends behind, but I’m proud to say my personal style is one that champions occasion and comfort.
Where do you find style inspiration?
I’m inspired most by people who break the rules. It’s one thing to respect fashion and trends, but another thing entirely to be so comfortable in your personal style that you erase the concept of faux pas.
Where do you like to shop?
Like the next guy, I like a well-stocked thrift store, and bargain hunting at Banana Republic and UNIQLO. I’m also a big fan of online shops that are moving the needle like CAUSEGEAR, a brand which pays their workers self-sustaining wages. I’m a sucker for concert swag and, at the end of the day, there’s nothing like a good free t-shirt at a career fair.
My first sweater was a gift from the grandparents after they heard I would be headed to Chicago. I’m wearing a Jack London coat over it with Johnston & Murphy Chelsea boots and Banana Republic Aiden fit Chinos.
Do you have any fashion regrets?
I took some bold risks my first year with shoes with tassels and thrifted oxfords that later fell apart. I quickly learned that “weird and vintage” does not always make for “cool and comfortable”.
I’m wearing a Webmore Houndstooth blazer and a Uniqlo crew neck underneath. The socks were a gift from my girlfriend, with whom I share a love of odd socks (just be glad I didn’t break out my fa-la-la-la-llama or Iron Man ones). The watch I have on is the Daniel Wellington Classic Durham, given to me by my brother when I was his best man last year.The bracelet is actually two pieces of yarn from the WNDR museum - my girlfriend wears a matching pair, but with a less cool teal and pink.
What is your relationship to fashion? Has it changed over time? / Why is fashion important to you?
Being a first generation Asian American defined my relationship to fashion in many ways. Fashion was never a part of my parents’ identities - growing up, they wore a handful of t-shirts, and patched them up in preparation to be handed down to the next generation. In a life where frugality was paramount, the thought of having a closetful of clothes was almost offensive. My fashion (or lack thereof) made me feel different -- or lesser -- than my classmates. As a result, I compensated by stealing whatever clothes my brother would let me take. He’s eight years older, and had a cache of what I considered to be all-American wear - graphic tees, college club shirts, etc.
As I entered high school and had pocket money to spend, I started buying all the brands I’d seen my brother and friends wear. I thought I would feel more “American,” but I discovered this “style” didn’t speak to my character at all. I was dressing for others, not myself. In college, I was able to really explore what clothes made me feel happy and confident. I realized I could still have discriminating taste while supporting environmentally and ethically sound brands. In many ways, I’ve come full circle to my childhood, but comfortable with unconventional fashion and a small closet.
Photos Courtesy of Jaire Byers. Check out his portfolio for more photos here!