('Meditating Man' Photo shot at Allen & Division Streets in the Lower East Side of New York City)
"FRIED RICE resonated as a kind of tribute to the artistic and cultural diversity of the Lower East Side, and the world really.
That creative energy from all directions inspires us."
- MAYA, FRIED RICE Creative Director
>> You have said in the past that FRIED RICE is urban culture with global perspective. What does that mean?
The brand FRIED RICE was born in New York City's Lower East Side, down around the Seward Park area. The LES has this amazing history of attracting people from every corner of the world, and of being one of the most unique, diverse neighborhoods in America. Over the years, the neighborhood has evolved into what I think is a glorious mash-up of different cultural experiences, artistic perspectives, entrepreneurism and creativity.
Walking up Essex Street near the park, to your left you might hear an old Chinese man playing flute just down the street from guys listening to hiphop and playing basketball in five different languages. And all that's happening across the street from the taco stand, the kosher pickle store, the experimental art space and the mosque. The idea of FRIED RICE resonated for us as a tribute to the mixed up artistic and cultural diversity of our neighborhood, but also beyond that out in the world. In this era of xenophobia, we feel this diversity is a strength ... something to appreciate, to protect and to cultivate. That kind of creative and cultural energy from all sides really inspires us.
>> So what is "global urban culture" to you?
Urban subcultures in the past were so local, like hiphop in the Bronx and Brooklyn or skateboarding in Los Angeles. But the world has evolved in a way that we are becoming more interconnected and inspired by each other on a global level. As an immigrant who grew up creatively in New York City, I experience New York as something connected to the entire world as opposed to just a big city in America. It's the "capital of the world" to me. At the same time, I also feel like my New York life is completely enmeshed with my affinity for designers and musicians in Tokyo or artists in Beijing or Berlin or Mumbai. It's a web that longs to become even more intertwined. That's what I believe.
As part of an artistic community, and as a brand, I am a passionate supporter of this mashed-up FRIED RICE perspective in urban creative culture. As we have grown and expanded around the world, the opportunities to express this have grown so much as well, and that's exciting. I am truly grateful. I just want to celebrate this in any and every way I can.