|Barbara Elisabeth Freiman and her children experience the art of paper-cutting at the Pizza Hut restaurant themed with intangible cultural heritage in Shenyang. [For chinadaily.com.cn]|
Barbara Elisabeth Freiman has made paper-cuttings and lanterns, and bought goods for Spring Festival. "I also prepared hongbao (red packets) for my staff — they are real red leather handbags! I also put cash in them. When in Rome, do as the Romans do," she says.
In 2015, Freiman's family moved to China when her husband started working at BMW Brilliance Automotive in Shenyang, capital of Northeast China's Liaoning Province.
"Shenyang and Germany are quite similar. They both have sauerkraut and pig knuckle. It's very comfortable to eat and live here, except that it's a little colder in winter than Germany," she says.
After graduating from high school, Freiman was accepted by a university in Germany majoring in graphic design. However, she then changed her major to law at the urging of her parents.
Yet Freiman never gave up on her design dream and, in Shenyang, it ultimately became a reality. In 2016, she opened her own studio and became the founder and designer of a children's fashion brand Coco& Ray.
"I like mixing some Oriental elements into my designs. For example, I designed pockets for qipao (cheongsam) so it's more practical for children," Freiman says.
"A good mother and a boss," says Freiman's 16-year-old son, when he was asked to describe his mother. Her three children were her initial inspiration for making children's clothes.
Freiman says that her "youngest daughter was born here and loves to eat double-cooked pork slices. We all call her 'little north-easterner.'"
The clothes she designed are handmade with carefully selected fabrics and customized buttons. At present, Freiman's studio has 10 staff members.
"In China, I have wonderful tailors to help my designs come to life," she says.
It was the first time for Freiman's family to spend the Spring Festival holiday in China. "It's a 'safe' home here," she says.
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