Interview: Moon Chang
Luca Curci talks with Moon Chang, one of the winners of the ARTIST OF THE MONTH – JUNE 2020.
Moon Chang is the New York based womenswear designer brand. She was originally from Seoul in South Korea who describes herself as a ‘massive minimalist’ meaning she has a dual aesthetic perspective. In her early age of 19, she came to New York, the center of fashion, to study fashion design. She earned her BFA fashion design from Pratt Institute in New York. When Moon entered Pratt, she received a 4 years of scholarship, and she received an extra annual scholarship, Seemann Burse Fund, because she placed in the President list annually. She graduated Pratt with honors. Moon Chang earned her MFA degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, 2019, as a first cohort. When she graduated, she was awarded the first medal prize winner from FIT. Moon built her experiences as a designer from both academic and industrial fields in NYC. Moon launched her own brand Moon Chang and VENUS IN BLACK. She made her first debut in New York Fashion Week in 2019, and her brand participated in London, Seoul and Shanghai fashion week. Moon also won many prestigious design competitions, such as the winner of CAAFD NYFW I’m Possible Challenge, H&M Design Awards Semi finalist, winner of Cotton Incorporated, and Golden Winner of A’ Design Awards, Italy. Moon’s works have been displayed at many major department stores, such as Macy’s New York, Neiman Marcus, Texas, Saks 5th Avenue, Los Angeles, and Delano, Las Vegas. Her works were exclusively featured in major media, Schon!, Vogue Italia, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar L’officiel, Blanc, etc. Moon Chang’s aesthetic focus on the dichotomy between beauty and ugliness is an invaluable asset of her own visual vocabulary as a designer. The massive size and weight of black with cute elements such as flowers, bows, and ruffles create the tensions of contrasts and emphasize the aesthetic of massive minimalism as well as the cuteness in ugly ways. Moon uses many traditional couture techniques and reinterpret them into modern and eternal ways, which bring a new aesthetic point of view and also wearable and functional. Moon seeks a sustainable and ethical approach to the design and production process. The brand goal of Moon Chang and VENUS IN BLACK is to elevate the human, nature and animal friendly lifestyle, to abandon toxic and non recycled materials, animal leather and furs, and to work on enhancing animal rights. Moon Chang promises to be a sustainable and ethical brand which is born with the love for coexistence with human and animal, and with human and nature.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Moon Chang – Art is a communication tool for me. Specifically, I am using ‘fashion and art’ as a communication tool to share the experience with people. I am a designer who does not just design visually, but also psychologically, mentally, and ethically speaks to the world from the perspective of an artist and designer.
LC – What are you currently working on?
MC – I am working on my second brand, VENUS IN BLACK, which is launching soon in NYFW 2021. Venus is mostly received as the goddess of beauty, however, Venus is my muse, black French bulldog. I interpret Venus as the symbol of dualism, which is also related to my design aesthetic and philosophy. VENUS IN BLACK is ready to wear and product-based with couture techniques, so that customers can wear it while walking with their dogs.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
MC – My background is coming from where I live, and my culture. I experience both living in Korea and the USA, which one is in Asia, and the other is the combination of multiple cultures. This experience leads me to come up with new aesthetic and dual characteristics as an artist. I grew up with restrictive cultures to follow in Korea, like wearing uniform and cutting hair at a certain length, which means no freedom of expression. In the meantime, I had to hide my artistic talents, still, I tried to find my identity as an artist. However, when I first started fashion design in New York, I was full of freedom and expression which I hid for a long time. These contrasting experiences definitely influence my work. Through this process of growth as an artist, I learned how to harmonize my dual perspective, and I defined myself as ‘massive minimalist’. These are very opposite words, massive and minimal. My works are massive, yet they are perfectly refined and finished. My binary perception accentuates the contrast of the black and pink, beauty and the beast, the light of purity and the darkness of shadows, dead and alive, as well as the fantasy and the reality.
LC – What is your creative process like?
MC – First of all, my concept is from human and social experience, something you cannot see and touch. I read and research a lot first about the concept, academically. I imagine how my concept can be visual and narrative into design, something you can touch, feel, and wear, so I make many testing samples in 3D to 5D to see how it looks and can be used in real life. I repeat this process many times to make the real happen.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
MC – My artworks and designs are focused on humanism and psychology. I am always inspired by personal stories and stretch this social movement to validity because we are living in the same world together, and there are many things we can understand and sympathize with. For example, this “Hybrid Beauty” collection is inspired by my personal experiences, being a PTSD patient. My design is not just a garment, everything was created artistically and scientifically. I created and tested materiality and fabric choices when dealing with PTSD in the design process. I researched and selected friends who suffer from PTSD to explore the impact of fashion as a therapy. I asked them to play with fabrics and materials, it reminded sufferers of their childhood and they felt at ease and more comfortable. My design can look like a beautiful collection, but inside of it, there is a dark and sad experience, and many researches behind it, which will evoke people’s curiosity. Also, I played with the concept of beauty and ugliness. In the “Hybrid Beauty” collection, I challenge to break the stereotypes of beauty, and I use flowers as metaphors that beauty can become ugly, and also the ugly can become beautiful.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
MC – Being an artist nowadays is a challenge on ‘boundless change and creativity with ownership’. Future is unpredictable, we cannot guess what will happen and change in a second, so the artist should create her own conception and styles to adapt. Especially in fashion, I believe, in the future, there will be no seasons or trends. What designers and artists create and suggest will become their own seasons and trends. Fashion and art cannot be limited in certain seasons, trends or numbers. The seasonless can be timeless techniques and fabrics, also new approaches to the design and production process. I will keep working on the development of new and creative systems of art and fashion design, reinterpreting the traditionally survived beauty from the past and breaking the boundaries of the perceptions of time.