Juliana Sohn is a professional photographer in New York City and the co-host (with me) of K-Pod, a podcast devoted to Korean Americans in arts and culture. At 50, Juliana, the mother of two teenage boys, is one of the most creative people I know and has an eclectic wardrobe to match. Here’s what she wears in any given week…
“I’ve been knitting for almost 20 years now. Early on, I focused on baby sweaters and blankets for my kids, but as they got older and didn’t want to wear handmade sweaters anymore, I started knitting for myself. After all these years knitting for others, it’s a real treat to spend the time making something just for me. I’m a huge fan of Loopy Mango, a company that makes these super chunky, almost cartoon-size yarns. Everything you knit with them looks so modern and sculptural. Last year, I got to meet and photograph the co-founder of the company, Oejong Kim, when I interviewed her for the podcast.”
“If I’m shooting in a business environment or at a formal event, I’ll wear this suit. The pattern is playful, but I still feel dressed up. It’s by Wildfang in Portland, OR, a company with a social mission started by two women who used to work at Nike. I try to support women-owned businesses as much as I can.”
“I stopped coloring my hair about five years ago. I had been dyeing it myself at home to save time and money, but it was such an ordeal — sometimes it came out too purple, or too dark, and every two weeks I would already have roots. Covering my roots was a constant reminder that I was hiding something, so I decided to let it all grow out. I know I could look younger if I colored my hair again but I like that I’m being true to myself. As for the sneakers, I took a pair of regular Converse and glued on the felt heart and googley eyes. It’s my take on the iconic Comme des Garçons sneakers.”
“Somebody I was shopping with told me not to get this yellow top, citing that old saying about how Asians can’t wear yellow. It’s something I heard old-timers say when I was a kid but I was taken aback to hear it repeated in 2019. It just sounded absurd. I think that yellow is such a happy, sunny color so hearing that comment actually spurred me to buy this blouse. To be honest, wearing all this yellow together is a little wacky, even for me, but it’s my little protest against meaningless cultural dictates.”
“I’ve always found a lot of my staples at places like Zara and H&M. It’s what I can afford! But I’m increasingly uncomfortable by the environmental and social effects of the fast fashion industry and one way I’ve decided to curb my habit is by making some of my own clothes and accessories. I learned to sew when I was little from my mom, who had been a seamstress in Korea. I’m pretty slow at it, so this blouse took me a while. I used a pattern from a Japanese magazine I picked up at Kinokuniya. The clogs are by Bryr out of San Francisco, which is another woman-owned company.”
“The watch I wear is a classic Casio. This watch is simple, inexpensive, super accurate and has everything I need, including the timer that I use for long exposures when I shoot 4×5 film. It actually has sort of a cult following. Whenever I meet someone wearing this Casio, I know we will be friends!”
Thank you, Juliana. Feel free to knit us a sweater!
(Photos by Christine Han for Cup of Jo, shot before quarantine.)
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