Interview with Designer Angie Chuang on "Teddy Girls and Bois" Collection

Interview with Designer Angie Chuang on "Teddy Girls and Bois" Collection

Designer Angie Chuang brought a refreshing look to dapperQ's show last weekend with her modern street style infused spin on Teddy Boys in a growing collection called "Teddy Girls and Bois."

Angie Chuang backstage at dapperQ's Five-Year Anniversary Fashion Show | Photo by jchuangphotography

Angie Chuang backstage at dapperQ's Five-Year Anniversary Fashion Show | Photo by jchuangphotography

Back stage at the show, Chuang brought me to her rack of handmade beauties, noting that her designs had taken up her life for the past month. I immediately picked up on the street-wear elements from the drop crotch pants and Kanye- esque skirt piece. Though the designs were dazzling and looked like high fashion, they were all something I could see myself wearing even as often as my pair of khakis. I was only more convinced when I saw the designs come to life on the models later in the night.

Angie Chuang with models | Photography by jchuangphotography

Angie Chuang with models | Photography by jchuangphotography

Posture Magazine's Fashion Editor Christiane Nickel also picked up on the futurist qualities of Chuang's designs: 

As an unabashed fan of Futurism, I was excited to see Angie Chuang’s debut collection. One of my personal favorites included her shimmery wine drip crotch trousers worn with a sleek graphite snake embossed vest. Chuang’s vision was clearly fueled by a high contemporary aesthetic, referencing designers like Rick Owens, Haider Ackerman and Alexander McQueen. . . She created a uniquely urbane androgyny that was powerful, virile, and provided the perfect contrast to some of this evening’s more dapper aesthetics.

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Cristiane referred to a gap in the queer fashion scene that DapperQ's managing editor Anita Dolce Vita mentioned recently in our interview with Posture Magazine: There's a whole world of queer fashion, especially among POC, that we leave out if we only look at suits and ties. So I was pleased that Anita introduced Angie Chuang's new line in the dapperQ fashion show.

I interviewed Chuang and learn more about her inspiration for the set and her future plans. Her designs aren't hitting the stores yet, but given all the positive press and comments at the show, I'm confident we'll all be able to buy them in a few years.

Can you tell us about your inspiration for the collection?

The title of my collection is Teddy Girls and Bois. It is a modern spin of the original Teddy Boys who were a British youth subculture from the 1950s. They were influenced by the dandies of the Edwardian period. Think zoot suits, tapered pants, and volume-inflicted slicked back hair with a too-cool-for-school attitude. I was influenced by my travels as well. When I was in Tokyo, I was inspired by experimental fashion and mens’ street wear. 

Chuang's Inspiraton for Teddie Girls and Bois:

2. Do you think your designs are pushing the boundaries of gendered clothing?

I consistently find myself designing clothing that balances between the masculine and the feminine. I don’t like to assign types of clothing to a specific gender nor do I limit my design vocabulary to one or the other binary. This is why I find designing with the queer community in mind so attractive. It’s open-minded and all about the gray area so my limitations are nonexistent. Instead of designing for a particular gender, I like to make clothes that fit an attitude, mood and/or what I am inspired by at the time. I don’t like to put myself in a box. So in a way, the designs I create naturally break the boundaries of gendered clothing.

3. Did you feel that each model interpreted each piece according to their style/identity?

All 4 of my models are friends of mine. I carefully picked each of them because I knew they already embody the attitude and style I was looking for. On top of that, they are all lovely people to work with. I had promised one of my models a while back that she would be in my first show. She has a more feminine style and I put her in a zoot suit-inspired jacket with a coat-tail button-up, tied her hair up into a bandana and donned a fedora-style hat on her head. Even still, she owned each piece. It just shows that style/identity is fluid.

Chuang with models | Photography by jchuangphotography

Chuang with models | Photography by jchuangphotography

Model Lani Buess wearing designer Angie Chuang | Photography by Grace Chu

Model Lani Buess wearing designer Angie Chuang | Photography by Grace Chu

4. What did you think made the skirt piece more appealing to dapperQs? 

Ha, I had no idea this was the case! I can take a stab at it though. The skirt piece is appealing to the dapperQ audience because it is not a traditional skirt in the sense that most skirts bare legs and exude a feminine sensuality. The skirt in my collection lays over a skinny pant. It's actually one piece. The silhouette is straight and its design purpose is to give a sense of layering and movement to the overall piece.

Model Lani Buess getting final hair touches backstage with Collette Lee | Photography by Grace Chu

Model Lani Buess getting final hair touches backstage with Collette Lee | Photography by Grace Chu

5. What are your plans for the rest of the collection?

I want to incorporate a wider range of silhouettes into the rest of the collection – dresses, tunics, etc. I want to take that Teddy boy and transplant him into modern day Japanese streetwear while retaining his essence. The looks are still androgynous but I like playing with different shapes, lengths and fabric manipulations. I’m having fun with zippers so I’ll continue with that theme as well. For the DapperQ fashion show, I wanted to create pieces that fit the theme but were still of my identity. For the rest of the collection, I plan to take the foundation I’ve set for myself and expand.

Model Kiersten Schilinski wearing designer Angie Chuang | Photography by Grace Chu

Model Kiersten Schilinski wearing designer Angie Chuang | Photography by Grace Chu

6. What are your plans for the future?

As of now, I am a student at Parsons for fashion design and I intern for Kenneth Cole. Any spare time I have I work on my own stuff. I love collaborating with other artists. For example, one of my friends is a sculptor and we've began conversations about possibly collaborating on a more abstract, sculpted collection. I'll finish my degree in one more semester after this one. Afterwards, I aspire to fully begin my own line. 

7. Where can we buy your designs from the show?

Unfortunately I do not have inventory for the pieces shown at the DapperQ fashion show. I designed and made the pieces according to each of the model's body measurements. I will definitely let you know when the line becomes available. 

Model Kiersten Schilinski wearing designer Angie Chuang| Photography by Grace Chu

Model Kiersten Schilinski wearing designer Angie Chuang| Photography by Grace Chu

Model Chirs Konnaris wearing designer Angie Chuang| Photography by Grace Chu

Model Chirs Konnaris wearing designer Angie Chuang| Photography by Grace Chu

Model Lani Buess wearing designer Angie Chuang| Photography by Grace Chu

Model Lani Buess wearing designer Angie Chuang| Photography by Grace Chu

As Qwear's Founding Editor, Sonny’s work centers around envisioning a future in which the clothing people wear does not dictate their chances of survival. Sonny was awarded 2015 dapperQ of the Year and was the first trans blogger to be sponsored by Topman. In March 2016, Sonny spoke at South by South West's first official queer fashion panel.