I first heard about the novel coronavirus in my home in Shenzhen on January 19th. Just the day before, my office closed for the Chinese New Year break. At the moment, the situation did not seem very serious, and like many people, I was preparing for my holiday travels. On January 23, I traveled from China to Milan without any problems. However, when I arrived in Milan, I heard that Wuhan was locked up on the same day.
With the increase in travel during the holidays, things came quickly in China – and then the world. Soon, travel connections became ubiquitous, and this would be a challenge for running my business. As the CEO and founder of design apparel brand Judy Zhang and a fashion production company, I split my time between Shenzhen, Milan and New York.
When I launched my own label in 2019, I was determined to base my brand out of the three cities that inspire me the most. I am drawn to the diversity of New York and how the city provides opportunities for people of different life groups to thrive. Milan, on the other hand, is rich in culture and art, and is known for the connoisseurs of craftsmanship. Lastly, Shenzhen, which is a young city compared to New York and Milan, is a breeding ground for creativity and miracles. The interactions I have in these cities broaden and enrich my perspective, and it inspires me to push myself to bring my own individuality to the fore in designing something more global.