The time has come for another China Fashion Tastie and have I got a sweety treaty for you!
In keeping with “the China body image” idee fixe I have found myself immersed in as of late — and am still trying to figure out one academic or China rag-mag article at a time — I tracked down one woman who’s been around the world in 80 fashion covers this past year. Keywords: Any age, body image, design, Holland, Hong Kong, passion, positive, sustainable. Sit tight.
Every now and then, I like to do something that’s a little rough. Rough as in “difficult”, as in: Let somebody else do the talking, do not trouble their words with my own green-conscious (not clog-wearing) thoughts and do not ramble on and on for lines on end in my bounteous and unbridled enthusiasm like some flibbertigibbet (can’t pronounce it, but I think it’s raaad), flush with over-the-top tang and twirl which irks my editor to new levels of any-random-fashion-week-styled exasperation as see-through as sheer fabric. Mm, that felt good; this’ll be rough, indeed.
What can I say? I am a positive, not perky — I never ever do anything “perky”, human being who happens to get carried away at times and brings her life into the China Fashion typing fold. This is no different for Dutch-Born-Hong Kongese Chang, founder and designer of JOW, a clothing brand inspired by true events (I sound like a Lifetime movie here) and a passionate celebration of the term “body image” in all its fabulous facets, sustainable and attainable for all.
Lead the way, you lace-luscious (google her recent picture in Dutch Grazia Magazine) woman!
1. Kicking it off. JOW: What is it and who’s it for?
Chang: “JOW is named after my 4-year-old son JOWIN who was born with schisis, better known as a cleft lip. Appearance-conscious as this can make you, and given the uninvited attention or stares a scar draws in, I wanted to give people something to REALLY stare at: His little rascal ‘rough-n-tough’ clothes. A brand was born.
JOW is all about ‘bold’: Clothing, design and attitude alike, at any age, for both parents and kids. The designs come from a mamma’s point of view, meaning they’re practical and playful. And showcase my Dutch-Chinese roots.
JOW by Angelle Chang, as a fashion label, for me personally is my way of making a difference for kids like my son, each and every single one perfect because of their imperfections. Additionally, I hope that the clothing and designs themselves or walking in our shows or partaking in our shoots can show and give both these ‘perfect’ kids and their parents more support, more energy and more confidence!”
2. Triple S question. Speaking of fashion design: Do you have a preferred sustainable fabric, silhouette or season? [This last one might seem odd, but I for example prefer A/W – more layers, more to choose from. Practical and playful, right?)
Chang: “I do actually have a preference for working with natural and traditional Dutch (!) fabrics. These are in fact very beautiful and high-quality materials which are seldom used. I personally am a huge fan of traditional costumes, from Zealand to China. [I would like to hereby point out that, contrary to popular belief in certain areas I’ve visited, we no longer dress like ye typical 18th century Dutch milkmaid wearing clogs in daily life anno 2015. Though I will admit to wearing ye certain hat during European or World Championship football games. I am 100 percent body confident… Ahem.]
The Chinese cheongsam or qipao — introduced by the Manchus during the Qing era (1644-1911) and in fact not created in 1920s Shanghai [I once got crudely defrocked for saying that] – remains a perfect inspirational muse. I just take tradition and wrap it in a contemporary poncho. On that note, inspiration is omnipresent; from traveling, random movements or shapes; all can speak to me!
The third ‘S’, then… I have to say that the A/W collections always remain a challenge. From evening dress to elegant wintery work outfits to thickly layered yet comfy casual clothing. Always fun!”
3. Sustainable and/or socially conscious?
Chang: “Given that my son was (and is) the inspiration for JOW, I can only add that my core message is: ‘Perfect Because Of Imperfections’.
I also love giving kids such as Jowin himself a spot on the catwalk or in our photoshoots.
As far as the “sustainable” aspect goes… Again, I use natural fabrics and all the clothes are designed and produced in The Netherlands. That sounds pretty fashionably responsible, right?”
4. We’ve all seen the Balmains and Burberrys of the world; I favor the smaller, unknown designer. How about you?
Chang: “Same here. I like knocking on one of my fellow designers’ doors; plus, they can actually create something exclusive that 100 percent fits ME.”
5. How does your Chinese heritage come into play with your designs?
Chang: “My parents hail from Hong Kong; and the HongKongese can be quite the creative people. There is no other city in this world that has created so many ‘fantastical’ place names of its own haha. The will and the courage to set itself/ oneself apart from everyone and everything else is a powerful means, in my opinion.
Clothing-wise… I adore the traditional Chinese dress: The collars, the layers and the handmade embroidery/ embellishments. If I had to pick one favorite… I’d say the Manchu fashion culture – yes, including the cheongsam.”
6. What’s your opinion on the current Hong Kong/ China Fashion Scene and how do you see it (and yourself I it) unfold from here?
Chang: “The Hong Kong trend will take the increasingly ‘sustainable and conscious’ turn in every way. We want more personal, exclusive and ‘honest’ clothing. I hope I can contribute to this as well!”
7. I shall see you in Hong Kong on November 25. What exactly will you be doing here? (A little promo right here eh)
Chang: “JOW will be on display at Central’s PMQ November 25 til December 13, showing its new 2016 collections. Come find me! I’m always up for meeting new people and possible collaborations haha.”
8. The year 2016 then; how’s it looking so far?
Chang: “My hopes and dreams for 2016 are to put on a fashion show (okay, multiple fashion shows, I guess) in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, with the catwalk starring ‘perfect’ and wonderful kids!”
9. Last one. Speaking of lace, lady, any favorite outfits?
Chang: “I don’t have any one favorite in particular, but must say that since having Jowin, everything needs to be and feel practical and comfortable, yet extremely feminine. Hence, I often combine rough-n-tough, as you call them, trousers with a lace top!”
Well, what can I say to that expose, Angelle? Bow. Wow. And Amen: Flaws are Feisty!
Come meet JOW and Angelle Chang at Hong Kong’s PMQ: 35 Aberdeen Street in Central. Showing off there from November 25 until December 13.
Plus, take a look at www.jowfashion.com