The Zen Routine of Columbus Park’s Elderly Chinatown Regulars
Berlin-born director Alexa Karolinski teamed up with design duo Zoe Latta and Mike Eckhaus to capture a group of Chinatown residents’ impressive daily morning work out in New York’s Columbus Park. The trio were initially looking for tai chi talent to star in a fashion film for Latta and Eckhaus’s burgeoning fashion label—Eckhaus Latta—when they stumbled upon the band of Chinese seniors and became mesmerized by their elegant routine. “We’d seen tai chi a million times but we’d never seen something this amazing,” says Karolinski. “For these beautiful old ladies who meet every morning it’s a routine in their daily lives, it’s part of their identities.” For the past 30 years the group has gathered daily to practice luk tung kuen, a specialist Chinese form of exercise. Before shooting, Latta and Eckhaus brought a selection of their label’s pieces to the park for the women to pick and mix with their own clothes, and the duo were delighted to see the importance of fashion was not lost on them. “When I interviewed one woman, she wouldn’t stop talking about these uniforms they used to practice in,” says Karolinski. “She wished they still had them and was nostalgic about a yellow one they had in summer. The way people dress is the way they identify themselves, and that’s exactly fashion.”
The short film UNIFORM will have its debut at Opening Ceremony New York in late August as part of a curatorial project by Eckhaus Latta at the boutique.