Wang is a shy woman. Despite her timid nature, she talked openly of her body and it's awkward transition after marriage and child birth. We discussed at length about her clothes and their relationship to her self-proclaimed introversion. Wang likes clothes and hopes to open a shop of her own one day.
Q: So I just want to start by asking about the outfit you are wearing.
I just bought it because I like it. It’s as simple as that.
Q: What do you like about this outfit?
When I got married and had children, my body fell out of shape. I think this outfit suits me and fits my body.
Q: What part of your personality do your clothes express?
I don’t know how to answer that. I just want to wear something that looks good on me and is simple.
Q: What about the color?
There weren’t many colors that I could choose from so I picked the one that suits me.
Q: What about the necklace you wear? What is the story behind that?
My husband gave it to me as gift when we got married.
Q: Is it instead of a wedding ring or… what symbolism does it hold?
The necklace and the ring are a pair.
Q: How often do you wear it?
This neighborhood wasn’t very safe several years ago. I have only worn it often in the past two years.
Q: Can I ask about your shoes? What can you tell me about them? Where did you buy them?
能问下你穿的鞋子吗? 能讲讲吗? 你在哪里买的?
Wearing them is comfortable and I can wear [them] as slippers too.
Q: What about the color pink? What does the color pink mean to you?
It is just a coincident that there is so much pink in my outfit. I am not so into pink.
Q: Does the color pink have any meaning in Chinese culture?
The color pink is associated with femininity in China. It is a very common color in China and many people like it.
Q: When you go shopping, what kind of place would you go shopping?
I haven’t gone out shopping a lot recently. I haven’t had much time for it after I got married.
Q: How long have you been married?
Q: What kind of jobs have you had?
I always have been making clothes.
Q: What do you mostly spend your time doing?
Besides work, I usually just stay at home to take care of my children. They are here with me now. I have two kids.
Q: How old are they?
My girl is 6 and my boy is 3.
Q: Do they live with you?
Q: How do you feel about having your children with you versus leaving them back in your hometown like so many other women?
My kids don’t stay with me all the time. They go to school back in our hometown and we will bring them here from time to time.
Q: What time of the year do they come here?
They come here whenever they have long vacations. They come here every year but they go to school in our hometown.
Q: You said that you have been married for six years. Did you come here [to Shenzhen] after you got married?
I have been here [in Shenzhen] all along. I met my husband back home and then we came here together.
Q: How do you feel about your relationship with your husband?
We have a good relationship. If my husband has time, he will go out shopping with me. If he doesn’t, I will go by myself.
Q: Before you got married, how did you dress?
I don’t know what to say because that’s a long time ago. I liked wearing t-shirts and jeans before marriage. I like simple style.
Q: How did you change after marriage?
I dressed differently after marriage. After I gave birth to my kids my body went out of shape. I started buying clothes with a bigger size.
Q: Did you buy different kinds of clothes when you had children?
Yes, I bought clothes with a bigger size.
Q: How old were you when you started working at a garment factory？
20 years old.
Q: Has your style been influenced by your work at garment factories?
No, when I want to buy clothes I will buy clothes that suit regardless of my work experience in garment factory. I think every type of clothing is unique. They have their own characteristics.
Q: When you were young, how did you imagine you would dress when you grew up?
I never thought about it.
Q: I guess I will ask more questions about your life. Growing up in a rural place, what did you dream about your future？
I never really thought much about the future when I was little. But I may have had some ideas about it. I wanted to open a clothes store when I was little.
Q: This is like when you are a teenager or little?
When I was about 11 or 12 years old. I had nothing to worry about at that time so I didn’t think a lot about my dreams.
Q: Why did you want a clothes store?
I wanted to do this when I started my work at the garment factory at around 20 years old.
Q: Did you want to make clothes or did you just want to have clothes to sell?
Have clothes to sell.
Q: What are you dreaming about doing now?
I still want to open a clothes store. I think about it from time to time.
Q: Do you think that is going to happen?
I don’t have any plan yet. I don’t have time for it because my kids are too little and I need to take care of them.
Your role as a mother, how do you think that will influence your decisions for the future?
It will have some influence in the decisions that I make. I have changed a lot in the past few years. I have changed jobs [a few times] after marriage but I still like making clothes [the best] because I have been doing it for many years.
Q: What kind of skills do you have in the garment factory?
Mainly sewing. I can sew pants, shirts and dresses.
Q: What is the biggest part of your identity?
I think family means a lot to me. Being a mother and a wife is the biggest part in my identity.
Q: Why is that identity important to you?
I think that no matter how much you succeed in your career, if you don’t have a good family, you are not very successful at all.
Q: What kind of values do you have in your family?
As long as we are having a nice and happy life, that is enough.
Q: When you were growing up, what kind of values did your family had?
My parents didn’t have high expectation of me. They just wanted me to be happy.
Q: Do you have siblings?
A younger brother and a younger sister.
Q: What do they do?
They are migrant workers too.
Q: What kind of jobs do they have?
My younger brother got married last year. He is a sales and my sister is a manicurist.
Q: Do you think their lives are affected by their jobs?
No, I don’t think so.
Q: What do you hope for your children’s future?
I won’t make plans for them. It is up to them to make the decisions. If you pave the way for them but they don’t want it, it will be hard for them.
Q: Do your children have subjects or something that they are good at?
They are good at different things and they have different personalities.
Q: What commonalities do you see with them in yourself?
My son looks like me but my daughter’s personality is more like me.
Q: What aspect of your personality?
I am more introverted.
Q: How has that influenced what you have done in life?
I don’t think it does but it may depend on the circumstance. I don’t feel any influence.
Q: What traits of your personality do you like most?
I like my introverted personality. I think it can be good or can be bad. It is hard to say.
Q: Do you think your personality will reflect in your clothing?
I think it will.
Q: In what way?
Like me, I like dressing as a lady. I won’t dress in some eccentric outfit. I don’t like it.
Q: What does it mean to dress like a lady?
I like to dress in comfortable clothes but I would also wear a t-shirt and jeans sometimes. How to dress may have something to do with your mood.
Q: When you woke up this morning, how did you feel? And how did that influence your dress?
I don’t think my mood influenced how I dressed. I don’t think much about what to wear to work. I just wear casual clothes to work but I do think about what to wear when I am off work.
Q: What kind of clothes will you wear when you have days off?
I wear dresses when I am off work.
Q: What kind of activities would you do when you have days off?
Going out, going to the park and doing some grocery shopping.
Q: Those are the questions I had, but I wonder if there is anything you want to add or you feel it is important.
Not much. We are ordinary people and we don’t keep anything in our head. I thought about taking my kids here with me. My kids are staying with their grandparents. They are old and I will feel much relieved when they are here with me.
Do you think they would be raised differently with their grandparents?
I think my kids would have different personalities. Their grandparents are old and they don’t have enough strength or energy to take care of kids. If they are with me, I would be able to care for them more.
translation by zhu lei