Aya--just plain Aya, thanks--feels so alienated from her native country that she doesn't want me to say which country it is. "I feel crazy there," she says, "like a prisoner." So for the last eight years--including six at the School of the Art Institute--she's been visiting the U.S. as long as her visas have allowed. Her distinct personal style, a mix of flapper, dirty-fingernailed urchin, and broken ballerina, reflects her sense of displacement. Wardrobe items come from all over--cheap street shops back home, the Salvation Army, a friend's grandmother, her aunt, H&M--but she modifies them by sewing on bits of lace, shortening hems, tying knots, and layering unexpected items, such as sweaters or multiple pairs of socks and leg warmers. Her signature hats she makes herself.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Saverio Truglia.