Angela Huang will be debuting her SS2014 Collection at Vancouver Fashion Week on September 18th, 2013
Emerging fashion designer Angela Huang is wise beyond her years. At only 20 years old, her experience working in the fashion industry, combined with her talent for forging together uniquely constructed and functional designs with bold lines and colors are unparalleled. Only in her second year at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Huang will be debuting her first full collection at Vancouver Fashion Week SS14 and Empress Avenue Magazine will be cheering her on!
Earlier this year, Huang previewed some of her early work at Vancouver’s Model Search Competition Fashion Show, where it was quickly snatched up by stylists, buyers, and photographers for editorial spreads. This couture maven knows what she’s doing. With only weeks until she debuts her SS2014 collection at Vancouver Fashion Week, Huang’s schedule is jam-packed. However, the ever so gracious designer was able to lend me few moments of her time to answer a few questions over coffee, and an energy drink…maybe 2…Meet the talented, but incredibly humble Angela Huang.
I just started drawing clothes…and never stopped.
When did you realize your dream to pursue fashion design? – My earliest memories of my love for design are from when I was 8 years old. I remember coming home from school one day, and I just started drawing. I just started drawing clothes…and never stopped. Back then, all my drawings looked like toothpaste: tunics, turtlenecks…etc. That was the beginning. And I just kept drawing and drawing, and eventually my drawings developed, and got better and better. Design, and more specifically, designing clothes has always been a part of me. It’s something that I’ve always known I’ve wanted to do.
Did you ever have any doubts?- In my first year of design school, I took on a huge workload. I was working as a full-time stylist, a full-time student, and a part-time sales associate at Guess. In total, I was working 50 hours a week as well as going to school. I remember not sleeping at all. I was constantly pulling all-nighters just so I could get everything done. And then I would have to be in class at 8:30am every morning. My body started to break down – physically and emotionally, and it made me question whether I could do this for the rest of my life. But at that point, I realized that I had taken on too much. Things eventually quieted down, and I was able to recuperate. But I’m grateful for the experience; it tested my limits. And I now know what I am fully capable of – which is a lot.
What kind of woman would you say you design for?- I design for the woman that appreciates artistic design, and unique shapes and lines. Ideally, someone who is looking for something original and different. Not to sound cliché, but an independent woman who really knows who she is, what she likes, and what she doesn’t. My designs are very minimalistic and a little androgynous, but sophisticated, edgy, and very sleek. Someone who would wear something like that – and rock it.
The best part is that this is what I love to do, my passion. Hands down.
What inspires your designs?– Architecture, definitely architecture, as well as other designers, and travel – I love to travel. Truly, everything and anything can inspire me – I get inspired everywhere I go; I’m always taking pictures of everything, so I always have this really great tangible bank of inspiration to draw from. I also really love looking at designer’s early work; I feel like that is when they were at their best; their most authentic and unique, and their most inspiring.
What inspired the shape of this collection?- The inspiration behind this collection was actually a project that I did for one of my classes at Kwantlen – showcased at The Surrey Museum. I took apart a pair of white men’s jeans. When I was reconstructing them, and putting them back together, I was incredibly inspired by the inner seam line, and the ability to utilize it in a non-traditional sense. That is definitely the overall theme of my debut collection.
What has been both the best, and worst part of pursuing this career?– The best part is that this is what I love to do, my passion. Hands down.
The worst is that…I have no personal life? *chuckles*. Most of the time, I feel like I have more of a relationship with my sewing machine then I do with my boyfriend. In fact, sometimes there’s no personal life at all. But – this is what I love, no matter how bad, or frustrating it gets, it will always be worth it. Because I love it. I would rather be in complete agony over a collection, then happy doing anything else. Because I love it.
My favorite fabrics to wear are absolutely terrible to work with – chiffon, leather, silk; terrible.
Which designers are you most inspired by? Do you have a favorite?- There are definitely designers that I look to every season; whose collections I have to look at, but no one particular favorite. I love Alexander Wang, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and of course Maison Martin Margiela. I thoroughly enjoy Margiela’s previous work. His early collections were amazing. I have a lot of respect for him as a designer.
What would your dream collaboration be?
– Definitely Margiela; he has some crazy ideas. I would also love to do collaboration with Alexander McQueen; any house that designs on the opposite spectrum of what I do, something very contrasting.
What are your favorite fabrics to work with, or wear?- My favorite fabrics to wear are absolutely terrible to work with – chiffon, leather, silk; terrible. I love them, but they’re terrible. The faux alligator skin material in my debut collection was the absolute worst to sew, but so beautiful on.
Would you ever work with leather?- I most definitely would; I love leather. But if I did, I would want to do something really original with it. That’s the hard part with leather.
How would you describe your style? What are your go-to pieces?- That’s always a hard question…I can tell you that I hate pink. Hate it. I’ll never wear it, or anything too cutesy. I love sleek, minimal pieces, and nothing too revealing. I like a bit of color in the summer, and I love forest green during fall and winter, but for the most part, I like to keep my color scheme subdued and monochromatic. I don’t really know how to describe my “style”; I would say that I “wear” my personality…how I’m feeling that day. You hear a lot of “you are what you eat” from people…and I guess you are, but I prefer “you are what you wear”.
What is your favorite design from a past collection?- I wouldn’t say I have a favorite yet…but the most memorable is the Betta dress from my past Betta collection. I designed the dress in my last year of high school, and the inspiration and concept behind the dress (as well as the entire collection) was the Betta fish (Siamese Fighting Fish). I was really inspired by the shape and movement of the fin, and really tried to incorporate that into the collection. I wore the dress to my high school graduation; it was a symbol of me breaking free of the restrictiveness of my adolescence, as well as the confinement of high school.
…Network; become comfortable with networking – and be network-able.
What would your advice for teens or young adults wanting to break into the fashion industry/design be?- My number one tip would be to network; become comfortable with networking – and be network-able. In this industry, it is the people that we meet who will help move us forward in our careers. In fact, I can confidently say that almost all of the opportunities I’ve had so far, and the reason that I am able to show my collection at fashion week is through meeting the right people, and building genuine relationships with them. Number two: Be Ambitious. So many people transition to post-secondary and “go through the motions”. I look at post-secondary as buying yourself time. You’re buying yourself 4 years to be able to gain crucial skills so that you can pursue your chosen career after you graduate. So use that time to your advantage; look for opportunities that will move you closer or forward within your career. Because otherwise, you’ll end up right where you started.
Where would you like to see your brand in 5 years?- There was a day last semester [at Kwantlen] where all of the students were encouraged to write their goals on a post-it and stick them on this humongous display. I remember writing “I want to have my first fashion show at the age of 25”. It’s been 6 months since then, and I’m debuting my collection at Vancouver Fashion Week. I almost don’t know how to answer that question…a part of me feels like I’m 5 years ahead of my goal. So it’s hard to say… but ideally, I would like my brand to be known and accessible on an international level…and maybe be showing at New York Fashion Week…? I don’ t know. We’ll see what the future holds.*
You can view Angela Huang’s Debut SS2014 Collection on September 18th, 2013 at Vancouver Fashion Week!
View Angela’s previous collections at www.angelahuangdesign.com
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet @ahuangdesign for Tickets!