Interview with Angelle Chang, founder of JOW

by CRTV

Angelle ChangText by Cathy Ng; photos by Billy Elvis

Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started in the fashion industry.
I started long time ago as a Chinese commercial model. I also did some fashion editing. So, that is my relation with fashion. I studied sociology. After that, I went to work and did a lot of communication projects at the city of Rotterdam. So when my son was born with a left cleft lip, I was thinking about the way to take all the negative energy away from him. I wanted people to look at him like a perfect boy, like any mother would look at her son. My message is “perfect because of imperfections”. I was really working on making designs that would really fit my son and make him proud, as well as being confident about himself.

What does JOW mean?
My son’s name is Jowin. JOW are the first three letters.

JOW Junior

Describe your design in one sentence.
It’s a fusion design with the use of Dutch fabric and inspired by my Chinese roots.

What made you decide to and how did you start a pop-up store here in PMQ?
In many ways I feel that Hong Kong is my second home, because I was born in the Netherlands, but my parents are from Hong Kong. I think I always have it in my mind that if I have the opportunity, I would want to showcase here. When the Dutch Chamber of Commerce first approached me, I felt like it was the right time – I have started this brand for two and a half years. We have travelled around Europe and the US, as well as some retail spots in Asia, like Indonesia and Singapore – time to expand to Hong Kong.

JOW2

Are there any other fashion designers in the industry that you look up to?
There are a lot of designers who make stunning designs. I remember the first time I saw the design of Elie Saab, I was speechless. I especially like their night gowns, because I like lace a lot. Elie Saab’s design is really something I appreciate.

Do you know any Hong Kong fashion designer? If you could collaborate with one, who would he/ she be and why?
I met a few very good designers. All of them are very professional and they all have good designs. I am very impressed.

What aspects of your design would attract people in Hong Kong?
The uniqueness of the Dutch fabrics and matching outfits for mother and kid. I also want to spread the message behind my design – children like my son with left cleft lip can be perfect because of imperfections.

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How do you see the fashion trend in the coming year?
A lot about crossover – it can be with brands and even with other industries, like interior designers, artists or sportsman. It would give a lot of new views for the design industry.

What or who is your inspiration?
My son, of course, is the most important inspiration. And Chinese culture, especially the Chinese Opera costumes is also very influential to me. 70s clothing, especially outfits on ABBA’s album covers, also inspired me.

What is your wardrobe staple?
Lace and denim are very important to me. And I also really like skirts.

What are your future plans?
In the coming year, I would like to focus on Hong Kong and China (Shanghai and Beijing) for the charity fashion show connected with some local foundation to raise awareness for children with left cleft lip.

Angelle Chang and Cathy Ng

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