For These Designers, Mom Knew Best
JASON WU, Son of Mei-Yung Wu, shown with him at right
My mom directly influenced where I am today. She wasn’t only encouraging, she went out of her way, and all before I was a teenager. It was an unusual circumstance at the time. The education system in Taiwan was a bit stifling and I wasn’t the best student in the classroom. When I was 9 she moved my brother and I to Vancouver. We had a neighbor who made upholstery so she would give me scraps of leftover fabric, and in the beginning I was gluing it together and sewing it by hand. And then I asked my mom for a sewing machine, and she bought me a used Singer. She doesn’t know how to sew, so she hired a fashion student to teach me.
She was a stylish woman. She wore a lot of Yves Saint Laurent. She was a restaurant owner and then a full-time mother, and she had a great affinity for beauty and design. I remember her hair was always done, like in a low chignon. She always felt like I need to be true to myself and embrace things that have a quality of longevity to them.
When we moved to Canada in the early ’90s, most of the immigrants moved into new houses and my mom bought an 80-year-old house and furnished it with all antiques. She took me to all these antique shows while all my friends had new homes. Back then I was embarrassed, and now my office is all antiques! She knew good taste before I knew what good taste was. My mother was very out of the box. She taught me to always buy something that you’re going to want in 30 or 40 years, not something you want just right now.
Article and photo: New York Times