Isa Sung's first NYFW: On Social Media Struggles and Asian Representation

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Isa Sung's first NYFW: On Social Media Struggles and Asian Representation

Custom by Editor-in-Chief Sophie Aria Chen

Photos and Interview by Sage Lewit

Bright-eyed Isa Sung joins the ONLYCHILD team Sophie Aria Chen and Sage Lewit for a custom fitting, in preparation for the Mirror Palais show at her first NYFW. The Taiwanese - American fashion and lifestyle content creator opens up about her internal struggles of working in social media, and the importance of recognizing Asian representation.

Sophie: Okay, let’s try it on. This has to go over your head.

Isa: We might get my makeup on it.

So: Take a look at the back! How does it fit? You can also adjust the top to wear it like an asymmetrical sleeve. I’m gonna kneel to clean the back up a bit. But does it fit okay?

I: Yeah, it’s comfortable!

So: So, are you looking forward to Mirror Palais?

I: Yes, I’m most excited for that one!

So: You can see the back laced up now.

I: Oh my gosh, I feel like I’m getting married. I kinda want to do wet hair with this look. Like, fresh out of the water. I’m thinking either strands or waves.

Sage: I think pinned, straight, wet would look really good.

So: Wait, here’s our vision board.

Sa: Why did you have this vision? What was it that you wanted?

I: I wanted it to be all white because I felt like Mirror Palais, the brand, is very romantic. I wanted it to be very feminine and dreamy. I also naturally have girlier style so we were discussing lace, mesh, satin, linen! This is what I’d wear everyday. I’d wear this after fashion week too.

Wait, this lace is so pretty. Should we try it around the ankles?

So: Yes! There’s so much of this lace and other ribbons that we can play with. We’re also gonna tie longer bows at the sleeve — let it hang down with the skirt.

I: For shoes, I’m thinking those nude Manolo kitten heels.

Sa: What jewelry are you wearing? And what jewelry is your style?

I: Very simple! But my ears aren’t pierced anymore. Should I try to put this lace in my hair?

So: Yes, let’s see. I was also thinking of sewing a single pearl in the middle of the bow, or even a group of three.

Sa: So you started social media in 2020, during the pandemic. What is being a Taiwanese-American influencer about for you?

I: I think it depends on each platform. I never really say I’m an influencer and more of a creator because I like the artistic aspect of taking photos and editing. Curating little albums was really fun to me. For example, the way I take photos, the angles, writing captions, and promoting companies. It’s an aspect of how I’m being creative with the brand and how you influence people to buy the product.

"I also want to work with more AAPI designers. Getting dressed by Anna Sui for my first NYFW was one of my goals. I also want to set my goals toward other Asian designers like Sandy Liang and Kim Shui, etc."

Sa: You want to express your culture, heritage, and ethnicity — that is part of who you are but there is also a time where it becomes all of you. But it’s not about “this is who she is, she’s the one Asian girl in that campaign”.

I: That’s why I’m self aware in that aspect. I want to go more contemporary though, and rebrand my whole social media. So I just need to take a break and reset, so I can figure out what I want.

Sa: I think it goes for everything — staying most true to yourself, especially when what you’re putting out is what you want to be a reflection of who you are.

I: It does fluctuate though because sometimes, I think “Is this what I want to put out?” But compared to before, I think I’ve just grown a lot in my spiritual journey too.

Sa: It sounds like part of what you’re trying to figure out is “Do I feel like what I’m creating is a reflection of who I really am and what I value in being a creator?”

I: Or almost where I want to be. I have internal conflicts of what people want to see, but also where it’s gonna get me to where I wanna go.

Sa: Where do you wanna go?

I: My ultimate goal is Prada, which I feel like is attainable if I keep working towards it.

So: Social media can also understandably be heavy for your mental health. Do you ever feel that the way you see yourself is now through your number of followers or amount of engagement?

I: Last summer, when I was in New York, it was really hard for me. I was starting to get the worst imposters syndrome. So I used to, but now I try not to. It does still hurt if a post does badly. But I feel like I’m learning a lot as I’m growing. It’s hard. I want to archive everything!

Sa: No, don’t! It’s for people and you to look back on the change that you’ve become.

I: I still get intrusive thoughts, like “Am I bad? Or Am I not as creative as I thought?”

So: I get that. From an outside perspective, it’s like “Oh social media” — you get to present the way you live a certain life but when you’re actually doing it, you end up paying so much attention to the numbers. But it’s justifiable cause everyone who has this job thinks this way. You shouldn’t feel bad about it because it just comes with the job that you do.

When you’re a part of an agency or a part of a friend group, do you ever compare your successes?

I: I did before. But I’m really happy for everybody because I know how different we all are! It makes sense why everyone’s doing what they’re doing. It’s also different because I’m shifting to more Youtube now.

So: But it makes sense as to why you did. It’s the reality of working in social media — it makes you think about yourself.

I: Yeah, I think my goals are attainable when I reach a certain point. I just need to work really hard but the process of getting there has a lot of self doubt.

Sa: How long ago did you move to the city?

I: In May.

Sa: Oh, so not that long! And you’re staying here?

I: Yes! I’m from SF, and I’m gonna go back once I live my youth here.

Sa: Really? Why?

I: Cause I want to settle down there. Get a dog.

Sa: You can settle down here and get a dog!

I: Oh, noo. On a jam packed day, I sleep at 4 and wake up at 9:30. So you have to pick and choose, like save your energy. And if you don’t do that, you’re just grumpy the next day. Like today. But I’m excited for Mirror Palais.

So: Do we know hair and makeup yet?

I: Yes! Let me show you. Isn’t it pretty?

So: Oh wow. Yay! I think we did it.

Connect with Isa on: Instagram | Youtube | TikTok