‘I grew up in Anna Paulowna, a small village at the tip of Noord-Holland. It was a strange fate, given that I was born in Seoul, the capital of South Korea and given up for adoption. Fortunately my lovely parents welcomed me with open arms.’
‘My interest in women’s clothing started at an early age. As a teenager I regularly searched my sister’s wardrobe for things to try on. My mother’s dresses suffered from my hobby, too. When they were away from home, I’d have my own dressing up party.’
‘I’m not keen on shopping at all. I think it’s one of the most horrible activities. I’ve got a sister and a mother who’d like nothing better than to hang out in shops all day. I come from a family for which clothing is very important: my sister is a fashion blogger and my mother has always had clothing shops. Even my grandmother’s old outfits are still fashionable.’
‘I always thought I was quite standard and didn’t realize that I stood out. I get a lot of reactions from people: “Why do you wear that? It suits you but it’s quite strange.” See, I’d never walk up to someone and say: “You look really boring.”
‘This part of the Spuistraat is really cool I think. There are all sorts of old squats and I used to be a squatter myself. Those people don’t give a shit. I find the atmosphere more relaxed. No one looks at you as if to say ‘What are you wearing?’
In 1965 I moved from Groningen to Amsterdam, to experience the freedom that Amsterdam’s famous for. But it turned out to be a city with a lot of prejudices. In the street people called me names. And in the home I rented, I experienced physical violence from neighbours. I still can’t fully comprehend what it was exactly that put people off. Maybe it was my perfervid use of colours in the way I dressed?
You are looking into the twinkling eyes of Mathilde and Henk. I spotted them as he was energetically trying to get her wheelchair over a bump in the pavement at the IJ-Hallen. After they had navigated the obstacle, I caught up with them.