Perpetual wanderlust, a double degree from a respected English university (History of art, architecture, design and film and Museum and gallery studies), a myriad different jobs and now Hong Kong, where she is working as a freelance fashion writer: Carolina Gawronski, more than most of her age peers from Italy, seems to understand the value hard work and most of all of adventure. We subjected her to our ZigZag Questionaire to discover the true colours of her soul: and here are her answers.
Describe the place you’re in right now, as you’re answering this questions. Put in as much detail as you wish.
I’m writing from Hong Kong, in one of the many cafés where I work every day. I don’t like working from home, I can’t concentrate. Man is a social animal. At the table on my left there are three Asian women in their forties. Their order has just been delivered: two cappuccinos and cake. Are they eating it? Of course not. Like many in Hong Kong, they spend the first six to seven minutes taking pictures from various angles, with or without a teaspoon, hand in the frame or just one finger. Look up #foodporn on Instagram, you’ll see what I mean.
Judging from your biographical info, you seem to be quite well travelled. How does a girl so young end up working in Hong Kong?
I left home at sixteen and never went back. I remember my first day of college in Oxford. I cried. But from there on it’s always been a matter of pushing myself further. People take for granted that living in London, New York or Paris – all places where I’ve lived – is cool. It’s not always that easy. Living in Asia is hard: the culture is really different, and I’m not just talking about the food porn. You really need to adapt, but that only pushes me to open my mind even more, to accept and learn new things; to reconsider (and often newly appreciate) my values.
Of all the places you lived in, which one do you most consider “home”?
I’m definitely European. I love Europe with all my heart. I’m half Italian and half Polish, I spent a lot of time in England, many of my best friends live all over Europe. Unfortunately, or luckily, I don’t feel at home anywhere. I’m always slightly displaced: it’s unpleasant, but I like it.
Some people pick a café for their breakfast, others locate a favourite store, or introduce themselves to their neighbours. What’s the first thing you do to settle in once you arrive in a new place?
I look at a map of the city! I love maps. Everywhere I am, I always know where north is. I’m a nerd!
What’s the dominant hue in Hong Kong?
The blue of the sea, the green of its beautiful mountains, the metallic shades of the docks and the skyscrapers, all the colours of the billboards. All colours are here, like in Missoni.
Is there a place you haven’t been to yet where you’d really like to work?
I’d like to visit South America, and also, closer to where I am now, Japan: the most sophisticated place on Earth. The more I read about Japan, the more I think they come across as geniuses.
Describe your stile in ten words.
Curious. That’s the one word that’s always true – the others are changing all the time. I think it has something to do with being a woman.
As a very young person abroad, what’s the best piece of advice you can give to those who, like you, want to set sail at an early age?
Just do it. There’s always some excuse: I don’t have enough money, I don’t have enough friends, blah blah blah. And anyway, if you don’t like it, you can always come home – but I guarantee you won’t!
What do you wear when you’re sad?
When I don’t want to put too much thought into what I’m wearing I’ll put on my white Nike Air Force high tops. Unlaced, because of course doing up the laces is too much effort…
Italian, Polish, English: how many other languages have you learned aside from these?
French. But I don’t speak it with any articulacy at all, and when I speak Italian I always end up mixing it with English. People who don’t know me well think I’m stuck-up, but I’m actually just illiterate and lazy and speaking Italian is too much of an effort. English is perfect for the lazy! Concise and dry and not as poetic as Italian.
Is there any Missoni item you’d like to own, and if so, which is it?
I couldn’t stop at one. I love the collaboration with Converse. I like the print trousers, the colourful and warm coats, the turbans… and the swimsuits! I’ll stop here, or the list would be endless.
How do you see yourself thirty years from now?
I honestly can’t think any further than the next two years. What I do know is that I want to have a good career, a good job and to be able to work hard and push myself further… because that’s what makes me happy.
Any life mantras?
None in particular. Que sera sera!