SFL Style - Miami and South Florida Magazine
SFL Style Magazine - Miami Best SFL Style Magazine - Miami Best - Loading...

Miami Best

See Photos


Interview with Julian Chang -
Artistry in Fashion

Can you reflect on your childhood or teenage years? Were there any experiences or moments that sparked your interest in fashion?
When I was young and growing up in Lima, Peru, my mother was a seamstress. It fascinated me to watch her turn pieces of fabric into beautiful dresses. Then my sister became a model, and she took me to some of her fashion shows. I was hooked. I was most taken by bright colors and patterns and continue to design around those concepts today

Can you share a bit about your journey into fashion design? How has growing up or living in Miami influenced your design aesthetic?
It just seemed as if designing came naturally to me… It felt as if that was what I was meant to do from day one. After the influence of my mother and sister I started to sketch designs on my own and asked my mother to create the outfits and my sister to model them for me. It was a family affair. I arrived in Miami when I was 18, so I did most of my growing up in Peru. Miami’s social scene and tropical vibe has been a large influence on my designs.

How would you describe your design philosophy?
If it can be considered a design philosophy, I would say that listening is my philosophy. I listen to my clients and sales people so that I understand what they are looking for. There are several things that set our designs apart; the dramatic prints and colors, the kind of outfit that can be warn for almost any occasion and does not go out of style and a garment that travels well.

Can you walk us through your creative process? How do you balance creativity with commercial viability in your designs?
The initial inspiration comes from prints and colors of fabrics I have seen or designed myself. Then I consider what our clients are telling us, both verbally and by their purchase decisions. Understanding what previous designs best sellers have been, and why contributes to the following collections. Then the actual design process and sample production. I consider that a design is good based on the sales. I design for our customers, and that is the best inspiration of all.

Who are your major fashion influences? Are there any designers, historical periods, or art movements that particularly inspire you?
Rather than just follow each quarter’s specific trends I focus on designing collections that are timeless and seasonless. Just this past weekend we went out to dinner, and I saw and spoke with a woman who was wearing one of my designs that was ten plus years old. She said she calls it one of her Julian Chang classics. I frequently go to the numerous museums in South Florida to become inspired with new ideas. The Perez (I am a member) always has some interesting and inspirational work on display.

Miami has become an international trend setting market... -Julian Chang

I attend as many fabric and fashion shows as possible to stay on top of what others are doing. Also, seminars and other events can provide different perspectives. Since I am asked frequently to either present at seminars or judge student fashion shows, these events provide me with opportunities to speak with other designers and people who are interested in fashion.

What are your thoughts on sustainability in fashion? Are there specific practices you've adopted to make your designs more sustainable?
The biggest issue regarding sustainability in fashion is that so many designers end up destroying a large amount of product because it doesn’t sell. We pride ourselves in manufacturing in quantities that do not create that problem for us. To provide that kind of manufacturing it will be necessary for designers to manufacture closer to the point of sale. Shipping from Asia in large quantities creates waste (and sometimes quality issues). All our clothes are “proudly made in the USA”.

What has been the most challenging project or collection you have worked on so far?
We design four collections a year, so each is a significant challenge. Every collection needs to make a positive impact and be something our customers purchase. Certainly, receiving the Key to the City of Miami was exciting. Also having the opportunity to dress Madonna is high on my list of memorable events. I it was memorable to have opened the Miami Fashion Week on numerous occasions.

"I focus on designing
collections that are
timeless and seasonless..."

Where do you see the future of fashion heading, especially in dynamic markets like Miami?
Some thoughts about the future: Miami has become an international trend setting market and I see that just becoming more important every year. Trends; sustainability, less fast fashion, AI experimentation in all aspects of the industry, fabrics with SPF protection, and the use of recyclable materials.

What advice would you give to aspiring fashion designers? Have you taken on any mentorship roles?
An aspiring designer needs to be absolutely certain that this is the career he or she wants. From the outside looking in it appears to be glamorous and exciting. The reality is that it is a great deal of hard work and highly competitive. Someone needs to have a strong desire to succeed and be able to work hard every day.
I have brought many interns into my shop to work and learn various aspects of the business. Doing the day-to-day work is the best way for them to understand what it takes, and working together I can help them grow.

What can your fans and followers expect from you in the upcoming seasons?
We recently opened our new flagship boutique in Pinecrest in the SuniLand Mall. There will be a formal grand opening soon. Currently I am working on the Spring 2025 collection with many exciting new prints and ideas.

Looking back at your career, what would you have done differently if given the chance?
Honestly, I don’t think I would change a thing. Certainly, I made some mistakes, However, that is how I learned and grew into the business, and I am still learning and growing every day.
Speaking with clients is the best way to maintain my passion. Knowing how my designs make people feel good about themselves provides me with all the energy.

Throughout your career, who has been the most remarkable person you've had the chance to work with? What made that experience significant?
Rather than one most remarkable person, I would say that I have had many remarkable experiences. In particular working with celebrities to obtain personal exposure, and dressing my idols like Gloria Estefan, Paris Hilton, Janet Jackson and of course Madonna as I have mentioned earlier.