The first time that I took fashion more seriously was when I was in boarding school. It was the first time that people were into having a certain look—it was about making sure you had the right thing. I’m from the Midwest and I grew up in a small town, and no one was into fashion. All of a sudden, the only people that were in my class were from major cities: Paris, Tokyo, Seoul.
There were so many Japanese students in my high school and all of a sudden, I went from going to a public school where the important things were your abilities in sports and maybe your appearance. Here, it wasn’t about sports or being the popular girl or guy: It was all about fashion. What was important for the people from the bigger cities like New York City was having accessories from a major brand. My first were from Gucci. All the girls in my boarding school had Chanel or Louis Vuitton logo bags. Every boy had a Rolex.
—As told to Tiffany Yannetta