Hong Kong native Sam Ng moved to Chicago in 2001 to study film and music at Columbia College. He dressed as predictably as the next Wicker Park dude--until he started going to parties at spaces like Buddy and Camp Gay last summer.
Liz Armstrong: Those shoes are insane, Sam.
Sam Ng: Be careful--don't touch them. I stepped in dog shit and my shoes smell a little bit.
LA: OK. Why do you wear so many accessories? I mean, you even have jewelry on your shoes.
SN: It's color, it's texture. It's stimulating when you see those shimmering things. It just gets me going. It's like bling-bling.
LA: Would anyone call you materialistic?
SN: Not really. I don't buy much that's more than five bucks, not more than ten for sure.
LA: Before you were inspired by other people dressing all nuts, how did you dress?
SN: I was more clean-cut before. Like typical Asian--
LA: What does that mean?
SN: It's a little bit stereotyped but I know a lot of Asians like to go for brand-name stuff.
LA: So now you don't really care about labels?
SN: No, not really. It's all about atmosphere, how you want to present yourself as a character.
LA: What is your character?
SN: Right now? Baroque, elegant--pseudo arrogant.
LA: What about that appeals to you?
SN: It gives me more confidence and makes me more presentable as an artist.
LA: What kind of art do you do?
SN: Basically audio stuff. Right now I'm working on location for a film as a sound mixer.
LA: Have you released any music?
SN: Last year I formed a brass quintet about Paris Hilton. It's called Parisite.
LA: She's pretty ostentatious. That's how you present yourself too. Do you get attention for how you're dressed?
SN: Yeah, a little bit. Some appreciate it, but some people think it's a little goofball.
LA: How much of your identity is wrapped up in how you're dressed?
SN: I'm trying to learn not to depend on objects. But it's tricky. For me right now attracting attention is all about networking. I think it helps a little bit--
LA: To present yourself as a character?
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Saverio Truglia.