Designer Moon Chang has long been on Schön!’s radar. We first covered the label’s work back in 2019, where we gave a full introduction to the label, its ethics and the passions that lie behind its work. In 2021, we followed up with the label as it released VENUS IN BLACK, a new lifestyle label. Today, we return with another interview with the mind behind the label for the stunning new collection, Hybrid Beauty II: Flashback.
Last time we chatted was in March of 2021. How has your work developed over the course of the past year?
The last time, in March 2021, I introduced my launch of a ready to wear line, Venus In Black, fashion for humans and dogs. I realised that my identity as a designer comes from the origin of creativity and craftsmanship, so I decided to work on my hybrid couture line to bring stimulation as a creator. This couture collection will become my new inspiration for the upcoming ready to wear line, so that it becomes a continuous story of dark fairytale, which never ends.
Introduce us to Hybrid Beauty II: Flashback.
Starting from my personal story when I had PTSD while doing fashion — to deal with this, I tend to go back to childhood, in other words, “Being Cute”. I use cuteness to survive the ‘death’ situation. The concept of Hybrid Beauty II: Flashback evolved into the idea of using “vulnerability” as the protective mechanism as well as cuteness. Hybrid Beauty II: Flashback faces the shadow of overcoming trauma; it seems you overcome it, but it keeps bringing flashbacks, like a nightmare. Ironically, being vulnerable is another way to overcome trauma. The contradicted perception illustrates the contrast of the beauty and the beast, the light of purity and the darkness of shadow, dead and alive, and the fantasy and the reality. This dual aesthetic evolves into the imaginary and dark fairytale.
This collection explores your own story of trauma. What process did you use to capture those feelings in your work?
Firstly, my concept is abstract, which you cannot see and touch. I imagine how my invisible concept can be visual and narrative into design, and translate that into the clothes you can wear in real life. To visualise the trauma and flashbacks, I explored many different techniques which bring the action of repetitiveness and destruction, such as folding and layering to build up the outer structure; and in contrast, cutting and slashing to show the inner. Countless small elements like flowers and ribbons were built up as oversized dresses by knotting to express the flashbacks showing the complete or partial images of trauma by the objectification of human’s body to empower vulnerability to overcome the flashbacks. There are many heart-centred designs to show the trauma engraved in the heart with emotion. Also, bringing the concept of functional decoration as a protection tool to show beauty and vulnerability to become strong. I reinterpreted the “bra” in a functional decorative design, as synonymous with burden and trauma, because it is such a lightweight and functional garment, but when you wear it the whole day, it feels heavy and leaves marks on your body, and experimented with undergarments that become outerwear.
Why was the contrast of light and dark important to this collection?
The contrast of light and dark represents our life the most, and our life is easily invaded by trauma. People would think that trauma and flashbacks only come from the darkness; however, it can come from the light as well, because the brighter the light, the darker the shadow. Especially in this collection, I want to show the light and dark through the concept of “Black on Black”, by generating the different shades and tones of black, transparent to opaque black, and gloss into matte. The beauty of black layers illustrates the feeling of simplicity, sorrow, coldness, but in a dreamy world. The layers of transparent materials highlight the shades of memories and darkness, and build the oversize and blooming shape. The contrasts of light and heavy weight fabrics show the burden of trauma and the process of overcoming through stirring the senses of visual and touch. Also, layering pink over black also reveals the vulnerability by slashing black.
How do you believe your work allows you to explore topics like this? What effect does this have on you, personally?
I have always expressed this as a main theme of my brand and its identity because I found a hope that fashion has a healing power. Personally, this was a huge burden to me in the beginning because trauma and mental health is a serious topic, and I wished to approach this in a generous manner so as not to hurt anyone. I challenged myself to solve mental health from the perspective of a fashion designer. By showing mental health as an inspiration of art and fashion, my collections are beautiful and strong externally, but behind the scenes, there are fragile, dark and sad experiences, and much genuine research to support, which will evoke people’s empathy and curiosity.
What else has been inspiring your work recently?
Recently, photography and visualisation have inspired my work the most. I always draw the imaginary world and make it into the real world. Also these days, everything can be visualised virtually, so I found that photography is the one of the most effective ways to visualise and convey my concept. Starting with 2D imagery, and moving on to the virtual 5D world, I love to express the inexplicable narrative through human, fashion and still life. Not only shooting by myself, I also enjoy collaborations with photographers, stylists and artists to come up with unexpected interpretations of my works.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
When first starting fashion, I just did not want to become a regular fashion designer; I wanted to be a fashion designer who also does fine art. I wish to restart my painting as a part of my fashion process to give a hint that my aesthetic, conception and technique are coming from fine art. And, I will continue to grab inspiration from psychology, perceptions and aesthetics, to harmonise the senses, emotions of happiness, sadness and hardness to represent my fashion world. I believe the power of fashion and art is that it can accelerate the energy of life, and I wish to share it with people whom I love through my work and brand. As always, I will keep challenging the boundless change and creativity with ownership, full of love and hope from the lifestyle of humans and animals by embracing art and fashion.
Discover Hybrid Beauty II: Flashback and more from Moon Chang on the label’s website.
Follow Moon Chang on Instagram and Facebook.
fashion design + creative direction. Moon Chang
photography. Venus Chang
model. Daria Iva
head of studio + lighting. Song Choi
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