Jason Wu Learned English With Fashion Magazines

Jason Wu
Photo: Patrick McMullan
Jason Wu.

He may be a star on the American fashion scene—even dressing the First Lady myriad times!—but Jason Wu was actually born in Taiwan and moved to Vancouver, Canada, at age nine before coming to the States to go to school.

In fact, upon his arrival in North America, Wu didn’t speak a lick of English—though he learned in an oh-so-stylish way.

“When I moved [to Canada], a lot of immigrants from Taiwan and Hong Kong were moving here as well,” he told Canadian magazine Montecristo. “It was an interesting time. I didn’t speak a word of English, but I had this tutor named Muriel—Muriel Kauffman. I wasn’t so interested in textbooks, so she gave me a pile of fashion magazines and sort of taught me English through there.”

What a way to learn the language! Of course, it wasn’t just the words that made an impression on the young Wu.

“I liked the pretty pictures,” Wu said. “I just wanted to read more about what I was seeing.

“I just thought Vancouver was one of the places where I really developed and blossomed into my designer abilities,” he continued. “It was in Vancouver that my mom bought me my first sewing machine, and that was really when I first started sewing.”