FRIED RICE founder and principal designer MAYA is an urban fashion designer from New York City. Born in the cold, industrial coast of Northern China not far from North Korea, she experienced a youth where conformity was regularly enforced over creativity. But working against this headwind only intensified her curiosity for the world and deepened her heartfelt drive to experience, share and enable creative community.
According to MAYA, one of the most impactful changes in her life was making the Seward Park neighborhood of downtown NYC her home. There she spent her formative years feeding her obsession for collecting fabric from around the world without ever fully understanding why. One day, caught up in the creative and entrepreneurial energy of the Lower East Side, on impulse she bought an inexpensive sewing machine and began to spend sleepless nights listening to music, sipping on whiskey and realizing her vision for the mounds of fabric she had stowed away. Not long afterward, local bloggers, stylists, artists and others in the New York creative world were asking her about the clothing and requesting pieces.
Ultimately, years after she first arrived, her love for the artistically and culturally diverse Lower East Side (which she jokingly referred to as "like fried rice...all mixed up in a good way") merged together with her unique design perspective, and FRIED RICE was born.
Known for her lovable eccentricity and assertive quirky style, MAYA revels in asymmetry, distinctive fabrics and in reimagining classic New York and Tokyo street style elements through a global culturally mashed-up perspective. Artistically striking but always streetwear wearable, FRIED RICE styles have recently been featured in ComplexCon, Urban Outfitters’ premium concept stores, on the red carpet at Maggie's Plan premieres in Berlin and Paris, and in visionary urban style retailers around the world. Complex Magazine called out her multicolor pocket jacket in their list of the best looks of ComplexCon Chicago.
UrbanDaddy’s Kempt Men’s Style Magazine referred to MAYA's work as “some of the most unique outerwear pieces we’ve seen.”
As part of MAYA's NYC LES-inspired commitment to celebrate and support the diversity of creative and cultural perspectives in urban life around the world, FRIED RICE kicked off their Fall Winter debut with a retail showcase at Brooklyn, New York’s AFROPUNK Festival. Vogue Magazine celebrated the festival’s “unprecedented number of iconoclasts” and “boundary pushing style”, while Forbes Magazine deemed it “a rallying point for those who favor the unconventional in music, fashion, … film and visual art”.
For MAYA, the most rewarding aspect of her path as a designer is in connecting with and supporting iconoclasts, boundary pushers and unconventional creative communities, and in continuing to connect these elements into a broader "global" community and perspective in creative culture.