On October 24, 2010, Susanna Lau— a London-born Hong Konger who
is better known online by her childhood nickname, Susie Bubble (because
she was always in her own little world)— posted a series of photographs
of herself wearing lilac- and- pink-striped, 1930s- era cocktail pajamas (see
figures I.1 and I.2). Shortly after the post went up, the owner of the small
vintage clothing store in London where she purchased the pajamas was
inundated with inquiries about the outfit. The owner recalls: “My phone
was ringing off the hook. People called me from all over the country and
beyond asking me for those pyjamas!”1 As well as benefiting retailers, Lau’s
taste for out- of-the-box styles of dress (such as vintage pajamas as daywear)
has also launched the careers of little- known in de pen dent designers. The
New York Times reported, “Her finds have snared the attention of chains like
Topshop; last year the company snapped up Angie Johnson, the [Cana-
dian] designer of I Heart Norwegian Wood, one of Ms. Lau’s discoveries, to
create a line for its stores.”2 Rumi Neely, a mixed- race Japa nese American,
wields the same kind of sales- boosting power. Sales surge any time fashion
companies like Forever 21 and Myer (an Australian department store) fea-
ture her in their advertising campaigns. Chris Wirasinha, cofounder of pop
culture web channel pedestrian.tv, rightly observes, “If Rumi likes your
brand, it’s probably worth more than a Harper’s Bazaar or a Vogue mention.”3
Introduction.
Asian Personal Style Superbloggers and the Material
Conditions and Contexts of Asian Fashion Work
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