After seven years in exile, the reality has finally dawned on me that Hong Kong is now home. My royal possessions have been residing in their ten cardboard boxes for over a month, and I didn’t have the heart to release them from their prisons. I knew there’d be tears once I knifed open the duct tapes. The inevitable would be: some elements that once glowed with an aura in the store, spoke to me on the shelves, and with whom I since had a loving relationship for years…
I knew I’d have to call time on some of them.
This afternoon I finally did the unimaginable. Out came the vintage Bally shoes. Out came to 50s circle skirt. Many of the purchases that reflected craftmanship, history and good taste went straight to the display cabinet. Out came the Primark top. I remembered the day: in the Hammersmith branch of the store, the princessy hue of this T-shirt drew me towards it. It had two ribbons sewn across the T-shirt. Vertical to the ribbons, some fringed threads fell freely from the “eyelids”. And the T-shirt was a very romantic face. Pink face, long, seductive eyes. It reminded me of the face of a cabaret dancer.
Today it doesn’t look so seductive. One button has fallen off from a row on the back. The long lashes are disorientated. At best, the cabaret dancer’s face looks like a failed and forgotten artist, whose battle with drugs has always been futile.
I have to let it go. Our times were good.
What I can’t believe is, after three hours of unpacking, half of the boxes actually ended up in the bin. There are H&M purchases that no longer fit. There are Zara shirts that I don’t even remember existed. There are shoes that I bought because they looked “cool”. There are items that were uncomfortable, wrong, disgraceful.
“Why did I buy them in the first place?” I pondered. And what Lily Cole said in a Guardian interview suddenly dawned on me. “BUY LESS, PAY MORE”.
Ever since I got back to Hong Kong, it is amazing how little I have purchased for the past year. Of the several items I bought, they were so BLOODY expensive that I had no choice but to really care for them. I know I will love them to no end no matter which corner of the earth my wild soul takes me to. Without knowing what I was doing, Lily Cole has summed it up for me.
I now think I deserve the best. Not the half arse stitches that exploited workers in India toiled away their days and nights to sew. Not the bargain fabrics that Primark, or Giordano’s minuscule budget allowed. My wardrobes only have room for love, and not grotty items that have child labour written all over them.