A discreet simplicity in avant-garde style is the recipe for VIVACITA, a unique independent fashion label that was created by Taiwan fashion designer Chia-Jen Chang.
Churning out stunning collections after collections since his debut in 2011, the brand has since come a long way and is known for its array of fluid and androgynous silhouettes that are sparked with unexpected detailing and the blending of diverse spectrum of materials.
His clever take on deconstructed cuts, as well as experimentation of hemlines and the going against of the said conventions and notion of symmetry in clothes, is driven by an in-built industrial design background, creating interesting yet quiet dispositions, by blending objects of traditions into forms of modernity.
As if the world isn’t already fascinated by the interdisciplinary linkage between fashion and architecture, Jen Chang merges the two in an incredible visionary manner that has even set Tokyo Fashion Week in utmost excitement during their showcases at last year’s edition of the fashion week. With seemingly mythical and somewhat surreal concepts, VIVACITA is one brand that is all-out to deliver impactful tales and stories in clothes.
In this interview, Couture Troopers speaks to Chia Jen Chang himself to get a low-down on his visions and his message in fashion.
Hi Jen Chang, could you tell us what were some of your main inspirations when designing this collection?
My main inspiration would be Chinese metal locks. I’ve used the engraved patterns of insects, alongside patterns of animals that are found on these locks, as a major direction for my campaign as well.
In terms of the clothes, I designed them based on the engraving and symmetry effect of ancient Chinese metal locks using fabric cuts as well as see-through effects and multi-layering, in order to deliver dimensional visual effects.
The common clothing design is also reconstructed into unique styles that provide new sparkle between the detailing and structure of clothes whilst staying minimalist with surprising details. As usual, my design style of the season is androgynous; so the aesthetic rather than gender is the highlight.
Speaking of aesthetics, there is a slight change of it this season. What made you choose to infuse more elaborate prints and colours into the new collection, considering the fact that your previous collections focused predominantly on a more minimalist and clean, androgynous look.
I think creating a signature style and features design is the dream of all designers, as well as ours. However, as I gradually become aware of different thoughts, I do not want to identify nor limit myself to one particular style. Therefore, I’ve been experimenting whilst trying out the various fashion styles for this collection, and likewise, I would do so for my future collections as well.
I think to me, my biggest influence would be my experience with industrial design. I love to use different materials as well as deconstruction in the craft aesthetics of my creations. What is fascinating about it is the ability to make significant discoveries about my style, through the notion of trial and error.
How do you think your growth as a designer has evolved over the last 3 years, since the launch of your label in 2011?
I’m still not an outstanding designer. Therefore, I still need to comprehend and learn from other designers whenever I’m creating a collection.
I truly enjoy this process, as it is my journey toward aesthetic growth and through it, I discover more about myself too. Whenever I review my past collections, I could find my improvements as well as areas that I should improve on. Essentially, it makes me stronger with a dogged persistence to face this intensely competitive market.
What kind of message do you think your brand is communicating, in terms of the style and the personality of the wearer?
I always believe that fashion is a language. It sends messages from the designers to the consumers. Therefore, I insist on putting unique touches and twists in my design so they won’t end up like fast food culture.
The message that I want to deliver with my brand would be: “Be frank and be yourself. Do not change your personality to please others because your unique personality is irreplaceable.”
How would you describe the men and women who wear your clothes?
They are self-confident individuals with strong personalities. They have a young heart and they want to express themselves uniquely. They are also dreamers who discover who they are in their own road.
You have shown two consecutive collections at last year’s Tokyo Fashion Week. What do you like best from your experience there, and how do you think it has helped you in reaching a broader and more international audience?
We cooperated with Japan to hold a mini runway show. It was our best experience at Tokyo Fashion Week. In the process, we learnt from their professionalism and we also learnt a lot on how to hold an excellent runway show.
Alongside, we also managed to do some competitors and marketing research during the Tokyo Fashion Week trade show. It has definitely helped me to figure out what are our strengths, opportunities and to better prepare us, if we want to enter the Japanese market.
Your brand is currently stocked in quite a number of countries. Would you ever opening your own brick-and-mortar store or online store?
Opening our own brick-and-mortar store is definitely one of my goals. But before that, we need to accomplish other missions. For example, the stabilising of our business finances, in order to help us stand firm in the fashion industry.
What would be some of the upcoming plans for you and your brand in 2014?
We are hoping to cooperate with a showroom or sales representative in 2014. As we are currently assembling a team, we are also in the lookout for more skillful tailors. We might also be showcasing our products at tradeshows in Europe and USA as well. We’ll see.
That’s right, million thanks to Jen Chang for the interview. Viva la Vivacita, we’d say!
/Check out the full collection from VIVACITA here VIVACITA is available online at NotJustALabel, as well as PELA’STUDIO in Australia. For full stockists, click here