Nadine Nakanishi, who grew up in Graubunden, Switzerland, is a production artist at the Reader. She’s wearing one of a series of sweaters she’s been embroidering.

So what’s this sweater all about?

This is the “bi bim bop is the cousin of hip-hop.” You know how there’s like dairy, vegetables, fruit? Well, this is like there’s coats, horchata sweaters, pants, shoes. It’s like its own clothes group. They’re horchata sweaters, bi bim bop sweaters, tofu sweaters.

Why did you make these food sweaters?

I just got all these old clothes from my mom sent to me from Switzerland, which I didn’t want anymore, and I couldn’t buy any new clothes and stuff, so I just kinda wanted to recycle them–like a clothing swap with your own clothes but it takes a little more work. Anyway, at the same time I discovered horchata–I was kind of obsessed with it for a while–and then I made the horchata sweater. All the rest came out of the horchata sweater.

Have you ever worn the horchata sweater to go buy horchata?

No, but one time I had the kimchi on and I was ordering pizza, and the guy who owned the place came up and totally commented and laughed and asked me what my favorite Asian hot sauce is.

And what is your favorite hot sauce?

I would say house-made sambal oelek–that’s one of my favorites–home-brewed Filipino hot sauce made with really the hottest peppers.

Do you have any plans for future sweaters?

I have one that I have to finish up–“eat tofu don’t be jello.” But then there’s the whole Indian world I haven’t done–like daal, naan, samosa. And then there’s the whole Moroccan thing–the falafel. There’re endless topics for this venture.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Saverio Truglia.