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Aesthetic Distance
41 followers -
Photographer, Creative Director, Style Blogger
Photographer, Creative Director, Style Blogger

41 followers
About
Aesthetic Distance's posts

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I was interviewed by +Black Stallion Trading about my fashion photography work about two months ago!

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Hey there! If you've been following me for the past month or so, you've noticed that a lot of big things have happened. I've gone viral three times, I was quoted numerous times in news publications around the world on the Lily Maymac controversy including the NY Post, and I've started contributing to the TFML podcast, Nextshark, Love Life of an Asian Guy's Facebook page, and JT Tran's YouTube show, The ABCs of Dating. Expect to see more personal style posts, pop culture criticism and musings about Asian American issues. Expect to see less fashion photography editorials. (Outside of my commercial work, I will probably only be able to take on 1-2 personal projects each month that will be submitted to fashion magazines for publication.)

So now you know what's in the future for Aesthetic Distance, and I've given you a bunch of reasons to follow me. Here are a bunch of reasons to NOT follow me:

1. You get easily offended when I call out racism and injustice.

2. You hate fashion and think you're "over it."

3. I'm too opinionated for you.

4. You like fashion but not politics/current events or pop culture criticism.

5. You don't like how I dress.

I'm grateful to the people who support me and my work. Let's keep going together. Let's keep trying to make this world better. 
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Since I write about pop culture, I’m assuming that most of my readers have seen or are familiar with The Godfather Pt II and Michael Corleone’s advice, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” But what do we do about the people who don’t fit neatly into either category?

I've been reading the book, Originals by Adam Grant and I think that most people have a lot of acquaintances that fit into the not-quite-friends, not-quite-enemies grey area. You know, the people who sometimes support you and the people who sometimes undermine you. They could be coworkers you don’t completely trust but otherwise get along fine with or if you’re an entrepreneur, freelancer or creative professional, they could be your “friendly” competitors.

According to Grant, our instincts tell us to sever our bad relationships and salvage the ambivalent, inconsistent ones. He goes on to say that evidence suggests we ought to do the opposite: cut off our frenemies and attempt to convert our enemies. Our best allies aren't the people who have supported us all along. They are the ones who started out against us and then came around to our side.

Do you agree or disagree with Grant?
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I need to take a minute and check myself here. I love fast fashion. It's cheap, trendy and disposable so it pretty much meets all my criteria when I go shopping for new clothes. But we all know without a doubt that it's terrible for the environment. Fashion is a huge industry that touches every other resource industry.

+Galore Girl says: You want to be aware and not be ignorant, but the idea of wokeness just becomes a dick-measuring competition that nobody wins. Are they wrong?

What do you guys think? Shopping local, thrifting, buying secondhand on +Poshmark and Depop, and DIYing are all great options but even they have their limitations and downfalls. How does one reconcile their love for fashion while still being on a budget and trying to do their best for the environment?
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Read an interesting article in +New York Times today: After the Fyre Festival debacle, the controversies of Vogue India's 10th Anniversary Issue and Vogue Arabia's covers (they chose Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, respectively, most likely due to their multi-million follower counts) and the Lily Maymac scandal, I predict that we are now on the verge of a much more considered age in the evolution of influencer culture. If it doesn't evolve, then the entire influencer economy will probably just collapse in the next year or so.

Consumers can now see through anything that is inauthentic. And since they have direct access to these influencers on Twitter or Instagram, they can respond directly and publicly. The people running the brands and hiring the influencers don't realize that a high follower count shouldn't be the only reason to hire someone to endorse your product.

In the face of these influencer scandals, it seems that companies are learning the hard way that a digital influencer may be no better than having a celebrity endorse your brand. We as consumers are smarter than that and can smell bullshit from a mile away. Once upon a time, celebrities replaced models. Influencers replaced celebrities. Now that the influencers are themselves celebrities, who will replace the influencers?
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Two weeks ago Lily Maymac was outed as a racist and a homophobe. So how the hell does she still have a job? As of today, her Instagram account shows her on a Revolve Clothing-sponsored trip to Turks and Caicos, where she is pictured lounging on the beach in designer wares (notably, For Love and Lemons, Grlfrnd Denim and Beach Riot) for the #RevolveAroundTheWorld social media campaign with other famous style influencers such as Rocky Barnes, Olivia Culpo and Raissa Gerona.

The fact that none of these high-profile digital influencers have spoken out against Lily Maymac and huge brands such as Revolve Clothing haven't dropped her just proves that the fashion industry does not care about racism against Asians. By the way, is Revolve's CEO and co-founder Michael Mente an Asian American man? IF HE IS, LET THAT SINK IN FOR A MINUTE. If you're not familiar with Revolve, it is an e-commerce clothing giant that is popular among young women who are fans the gypset aesthetic (think Coachella's VIP and Artist Pass areas). Not only do they sell many designer brands on their online store, they own several clothing brands under the Revolve umbrella such as Lovers + Friends, Tularosa and NBD.

So why did her story abruptly come to an end and how does she still have a job as an influencer? On George Takei's Facebook page, where he boasts over 10 million followers, there were about 1.4k comments and 3.5k reactions, many from white people defending her "preferences" and completely failing to see just how contemptible Lily Maymac's words and actions were. This also proves that we as a society have not progressed in our ability to understand and empathize with Asians, particularly Asian men.

Asian Americans need to be louder in their protests. So many of us like the idea of resistance and social justice. But when it comes to taking action and speaking publicly, many Asian Americans prefer to keep quiet. That silence has made us irrelevant to brands, fashion labels, Hollywood studios, and policy-makers. Without influence, we'll continue to see figures like Lily Maymac go not just unpunished, but celebrated in the face of unmitigated racism. 
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The recent trend of celebrities shooting major fashion campaigns proves the growing celebrification of art and fashion. Brooklyn Beckham caused a creative furore after being asked to shoot the Burberry Brit campaign. Gigi Hadid shot Zayn Malik for Versace. Kendall Jenner had a go as a photographer too. Professional photographers were up in arms. How could this happen? These campaigns were in every major publication and shared the world over. The reason? Not the quality of the photographs. It was the notoriety of the celebrities behind the camera.

Fellow photographers, what do you think about this trend? 
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Greetings from NYC! I just wrapped up a taping for JT Tran’s show and can’t wait to share it with you when it airs!
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Fear of failure is super overrated. People aren't afraid of failure, they're afraid of criticism. Realize that criticism can be a badge of honor because it means your idea was remarkable enough to get noticed. In this day and age of constant information, 99% of it will get ignored. So criticism can be a good thing. Without criticism, there is no conversation. The ideas that get talked about are the ones that are actually worth talking about. 
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When it comes to dyeing your hair as an Asian girl, blonde is the most controversial color of all. There are the accusations of being ashamed of your race and propagating white beauty standards. I've been accused of both, especially after one of my recent blog posts went viral. I get it and all of the accusations got me thinking. If you're a person of color in this country, you've been inundated with images of whiteness since you were a child. You probably grew up playing with white dolls that had blonde hair and blue eyes. All the magazines you read featured white women with light hair and light eyes. All the shows and movies you watched were nothing but white people. Even the children's books you read were all white kids.

I'm not trying to look white. I want to look like an Asian girl with blonde hair and that's that. I also had pink hair at one point. Was I trying to look like a unicorn because I had pastel hair? No, I was trying to look like an Asian girl with pink hair because pink hair is fun. Do I care if my blonde hair doesn't look natural? No. Since when we were all obsessed with looking natural as if it equals being moral and good?

My argument is and has always been this: If white girls can color their hair every color of the rainbow without being accused of self-hatred and shame, why can't I? White people don't own blonde hair the same way Asian people don't own dark hair. You can't force Asian girls to conform to a very limited range of aesthetics just because we were born with dark hair. My muses for my current hair color have never been white girls. When I showed up at the salon, I didn't bring pictures of blonde white women as the inspiration for my hair color. It was all the pretty Asian girls with colored hair like Chrissy Tiegen, Fernanda Ly and Soo Joo Park. All of their ethnicities were fully intact and not one person would look at them and confuse them with a white girl.

Like any person of color, I’ve had to deal with harmful effects of colonialism. There are areas in which we—myself included—can all improve and evolve our understanding of these dynamics. But after years of self-reflection, I can say with confidence that my current hair color is not a symptom of indoctrinated self-hate. I can see very clearly how someone might assign that meaning, of course, but I dye my hair whatever color I feel like because I think it looks cool. Cool and Asian.
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