When food, fashion, and travel unite, it's a beautiful thing—and it is also why we are currently enamored with the work of Christina J. Wang. A lifelong lover of food and artist trained at the School of Visual Arts and Brown, Wang launched her collection of scarves just over a year ago under the name CJW. Featuring charming illustrations of everyday items, produced in limited quantities, and carried in boutiques including Kirna Zabete and Ron Herman, they have totally reignited our love for printed scarves.
"I had a studio in Bushwick, and I painted for a while, but it started to get a little bit lonely," admits Wang, who grew up in Hong Kong before moving to the U.S. to attend boarding school. "I wanted to create something else to bring more attention to my art, so I started with scarves, because they were the easiest to 2-D print." Each piece is given a theme, such as produce (morel mushrooms, white asparagus) and shoes (Wang's personal favorites include L.L. Bean's Wicked Good Mocs and Charlotte Olympia's Kitty flats). Perhaps you've been looking for a scarf that identifies each ingredient in a classic dessert? Done, thanks to a scarf Wang calls "Chocolate Fudge Cake."
When Wang focuses her attentions on particular cities, the results are even more irresistible. Take her "Hong Kong" scarf, which is dedicated to her favorite hometown foods. "About 99 percent of my family lives there, and all my best friends have moved back home, so I think of it all the time," says Wang. "The one thing I miss most about it is the food." Accordingly, the scarf is an homage to dishes like peanut butter toast with condensed milk and uni tostada from the restaurants Tsui Wah and Chino, respectively.
Wang's culinary fixations have taken her business in unexpected directions—earlier this year, she created a scarf for Momofuku Milk Bar featuring her paintings of founder Christina Tosi's celebrated desserts. "I'd actually taken a baking class with Christina, and one of my paintings is hanging in the Milk Bar kitchen," says Wang. "I've eaten a lot of their cakes."
Decoding the Dishes
Wang shares a few of the stories behind the dishes pictured on her "Hong Kong" scarf.
1. Out-of-the-Oven Egg Tart
From: Anywhere in Hong Kong
"It's a very casual food—the equivalent of the workman's sandwich in the States."
2. Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich
From: Sunday's Grocery
"Sunday's Grocery is run by a good friend of mine, Lindsay Jang. It's a really cool bodega-style place that has a menu of Westernized picnic food. You can sit outside on milk crates and have a beer and a sandwich, which is not typically Hong Kong, and makes it kind of fun."
3. Char Siu Over Rice
From: Hong Kong Golf Club Coffee Shop
"This is a super-local Cantonese dish of roasted pork—you have to ask for it half-fat and half-lean, so the pork is marbled and it's really good. You can also crack an egg over it, and it's the best. You can get this kind of dish all over Hong Kong, but the one at the golf club my family belongs to is one of my favorites."
4. Whiskey Lemonade
"Yardbird is a trendy yakitori restaurant that's a great Friday-night dinner spot. We tend to eat all our meals there while standing up and waiting for a table, having a ton of drinks."
5. Vitasoy Lemon Tea
"This is a drink that I drank a kid. It tastes like iced tea on crack."
To learn more about CJW scarves, see shopcjw.com. Have a friend who'd love these?