INTERVIEW: JUSTIN CHI PRESENTS PUT ON-TAKE OFF
Justin Chi is a Taiwanese designer who focuses on user experience and functionality in fashion design. As an attentive observer, he is inspired by the curiosities and queries of things that we are familiar with, and how they integrate into the life of the user. Through various types of research and production processes, such as repeated experiments and collaboration, he emphasizes the forgotten detail in a simple way.
He has also extended this approach to human-centered design to the context of the medical industry, through the Medical Wearable Devices Design project held by Taiwan Chang Gung Memorial Hospital. His role was to determine the needs that patients, doctors, and nurses expressed regarding their hospital apparel, and developed an integrated design solution to remedy the various issues they faced. He brought his expertise in pattern making to improve the convenience of the existing range of hospital apparel. During graduate studies at FIT, he also worked with the US Cerebral Palsy Foundation, developing an accessories collection for people with disabilities based on the human-centered solutions. His designs are informed from observation and integration, not just focusing on problem solving. From personal research to cross-disciplinary collaborations, he establishes his own design methodology which centers around the target user joining the design process to tell a story.
Justin Chi holds an MFA in Fashion Design from Fashion Institute of Technology and a BA in Fashion Design from Taipei - Shih Chien University. His professional experience includes Calvin Klein Performance and 3.1 Phillip Lim menswear collection.
When did you first realize you wanted to launch your own label?
During graduate studies at FIT MFA Fashion Design program, I focused on exploring user experience and functionality in fashion design. After that, I try to perceive and continue to create stories through my own label with playful outfits.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
Make bold attempts and don’t be afraid to fail.
How do you want your clients to feel when wearing your brand pieces and on what occasions can be worn?
I wish bold colors and playful iconic details can bring happiness to the wearer’s daily life.
Can you tell us how your collections make a difference to help the environment?
In the process of developing collection prototypes, I worked with FABSCRAP, an NGO based in New York. Through volunteering ways exchange all the collection sample materials, minimizing the purchase of new fabric and revaluing the scraps.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for an emerging designer?
How to make the brand grow steadily and sustainably instead of just a flash in the pan.
There is one important person in your life, who pushes and motivates you to believe in yourself?
My mother, who always supports me in every important moment.
Describe you as creative in your personal life and how your feelings influence the creativity process?
As an attentive observer, I am inspired by the curiosities and queries of things that we are familiar with, and how they integrate into the life of the user. Through various types of research and production processes, such as repeated experiments and collaboration, I emphasize the forgotten detail in a simple way.
Would you like to involve other creatives in your future projects and what do you think is the main mission of the CO-BRANDING concept?
Definitely welcome the cooperation in various ways and look forward to colliding with different sparks.
What is the slogan of your brand?
What are the next steps for your label, in order to grow up more?
Through 3D software to present the collection’s interactive concept.
People dress up for protection, aesthetic, etiquette, self-expression…, various reasons, every day. We consider the appropriation of styles and fitness, but do we observe the ways and the processes of “putting on”?
To complete a dressing process, the body interacts with different fasteners. The actions could be conducted by moving fingers, bending arms or straightening legs. The fasteners could be buttons on shirts, zippers in pants, snaps on denim jackets, and so on. Through the combination of these objects and body actions, each piece of fabric not only connects together but also moves closer to our body. Then, we unfasten all these objects, taking off the garments that are covering our skin and putting on another one. It is an endlessly daily ritual of putting on and taking off.
Could the familiar actions we repeat on a daily basis be different? Could where fasteners appear on garments be altered? What is the difference between each individual’s habits and actions? Between putting on and taking off, how do our bodies benefit from the process of dressing that we are used to. Is every step still necessary and functional? Or are we just numb with the routine?
Based on my studies on user experience, I explore the relationships between everyday fasteners, user actions and clothing structure. In a playful way, like the scale transformation and implied device, I magnify the moment actions when manipulating different placements of the garments and making the wearing process become more interactive. I try to arouse our consciousness to the subtle details that most people seldom notice in everyday life.
FASHION DESIGN & ART DIRECTOR Justin Chi @justinmengzhechi
EDITORIAL PHOTOGRAPHER + FILM Boyang Hu @boyang_h
STILL LIFE PHOTOGRAPHER Duke Wiin@dukewiin
MODEL ABOUBACAR FOFANA FROM @SKORPIONMGMT MODELING AGENCY
MAKEUP Emma Ando @EMMAKEUP1102
PHOTO ASSISTANCE Yihsuan Sung @YIHSUAN_SUNG
Jieyang Lin @BUTTERNYC_PHOTO