“I love blogging, but it can get people to be kind of narcissistic, especially when there’s really nothing you’re promoting besides other people’s products or yourself,” points out one of the blogosphere’s prominent fashion bloggers, Lulu Chang of LuLu and Your Mom. Chang may have gained notoriety through her popular style blog where she documents her affinity for streetwear culture and her passion for technology and fashion, but she always had big plans to flex her creative muscles outside of the blogger world. Since launching Lulu and Your Mom in 2009, Chang has done just that, releasing The Fashion Coloring Book, a fun collection of fashion illustrations sold at MoMA and The Met. This summer, Chang, along with designer and friend Heidi Leung, is making the transition into the world of fashion design with an impressive new line called The Fashion Club, which melds high fashion tailoring, menswear and luxurious fabrics with a touch of punk and streetwear appeal that’s all Chang and Leung.
The Fashion Club designers talked to BlackBook about their new line, their vision for women’s menswear, and the importance of well-fitting clothes.
While there have been many established brands that have collaborated with fashion and style bloggers on special collections or pieces, The Fashion Club is really the first line created by a blogger from scratch.
Lulu Chang:The Fashion Club was a natural and organic next step. Heidi and I were looking for the next evolution. It all came together naturally through the powers of technology. We IM each other a lot because she is based all the way in London and I’m in L.A. There are a lot of bloggers who are just the face of a brand and aren’t involved in the design process. This is definitely not that. First of all, it’s a real partnership between us. I have a hand in everything. We do everything for this line. It’s our baby. It’s a capsule collection for this first season. We will be producing double the amount of pieces next time around. I don’t want the fact that I’m a blogger to discredit the fact that this is a real label. Real talent and really hard work were put into this line just like any other established label. This is not simply to sell off my name.
Heidi, your background is deeply rooted in fashion design. How did you end up launching The Fashion Club with Lulu?
Heidi Leung:I went to UC Berkley [where Lulu and Heidi first met] and then Central Saint Martin’s to study fashion. I just graduated in 2010. I did my internships at Alexander McQueen and Christopher Kane. I always wanted to start a label, and last year I entered a contest for young designers called Fashion Fringe. I made it to the finals and was given my own show and funding to design a line. I realized, after working on my own line, just how hard and stressful this process was by myself. I was encouraged to continue the line but decided against it. One day Lulu and I were talking about my experience and we just decided to launch a line together. We’ve always been fans of each other’s work. I really like to take my time researching and drawing. That’s really my favorite part of the process. Lulu is really good at getting things done in a timely manner. That’s her strength and it balances out with how I like to work.
LC: You can sit around and keep perfecting one thing forever. I’m pretty much always pushing to get things done and to make it happen now. This is always with the intention of doing it as best as we can. Heidi’s final collection to graduate had a lot of shirting and structure, and it was beautiful. I really took to that aspect of her designs. She really likes wearing dresses and I like wearing pants. I’ll be like, “We need to make more pants,” and she’ll say, “I don’t think I can make pants!” We played around with some ideas and now Heidi is the best pant designer. The line is a seamless collaboration between both our worlds.
Although there’s a strong menswear aesthetic injected in the collection, the feminine sensibility is very much present. Where did you guys draw inspiration for your debut?
HL:It’s very important that we keep it feminine at all times. As much as I like to look like a robot sometimes, it’s really nice to feel like you look really pretty. We were looking at a lot of uniforms and utilitarian garments. Lulu and I are small girls, so it’s hard for us and many other girls to wear a man’s garment without it looking obviously like we tried to do exactly that. The fit of these pieces were very important to us, especially at the shoulders. People don’t care about quality anymore. They aren’t that knowledgeable about it and they can’t tell the difference. It’s important for us to show that as a young label we are serious about quality and fit.
LC: Stores like H&M are the ethos right now in the US. It’s all about finding the cheapest ways to make trendy clothes, so expensive materials such as wool is so much harder to find. I was talking to suppliers and it seems like the environment is changing. There is a shift for better made clothes. People are oversaturated with high street brands. I don’t want 50 pants; just one great fitting pair is fine. There are also enough boyfriend jeans and boyfriend things out there. I wear a lot oversized clothes, but a lot of what we do in the collection is fitted garments. What we really like from menswear is not what people traditionally like or borrow from. Men have such limited options, so they really concentrate on the fit of their clothes. Shirt and jackets fitting perfectly is what we respect and admire from menswear. We are both still very girly and love pink. Girls communicate on a level only girls understand. We want to maintain that balance.
The Fashion Club online store will be open for shopping in August.