We are pleased to present fashion designer and JCI almuni, Bonnie Chung, the maker and creator of Je Vis Couture for Vancouver Fashion Week. Je Vis Couture will be showcased on the final day of VFW, on Sunday, March 20th at 4:15pm. In the meantime, we got to chat and learn more about Bonnie’s journey in the fashion world.
Tell us about your story. What got you into fashion designing and the fashion industry?
You can say that I’m one of those girls who “knew I loved fashion since I was a kid”. I remember when I was 4-5 years old, I would make sketches of dresses, well, evening gowns to be exact, all the time. My parents also told me that when I was young, I refused to wear pants and would only wear dresses because I would tell them that “I was a girl”. So one thing I knew for sure was that I loved dresses! Throughout high school, I always knew what I loved and what I wanted to do in fashion but also being a realist, I convinced myself to stick with something that was more…generic. So I went to college for Sales and Marketing, and though I enjoyed the courses and gained a lot of useful knowledge, my passion for fashion did not go away. After years of exploring into different industries, I decided to follow my dreams and studied at John Casablancas. Needless to say, JCI’s Fashion Business & Creative Arts Diploma gave me the knowledge and mostly the confidence to continue my dreams in the fashion industry. I started with designing dance wear, being a dancer myself, then I decided to design custom evening and cocktail dresses. As much as I loved designing evening dresses, I wanted to start creating something that is even more meaningful and to take my career to a different level. That was when I decided to create wedding gowns, the “once in a lifetime” dress.
What inspires your Je Vis Bridal designs?
Fabric, functionality, and artwork are all inspirations for my designs. Being quite the traveler myself, I also get the chance to travel to many fashion forward cities where architecture and other renowned designers’ creations are great inspirations as well. My favorite cities to travel to for inspiration are Los Angeles, New York, Paris, and Shanghai!
From concept to production, what does it takes to put a clothing line?
A lot of time and patience! I have a very unorthodox way of working. Since I mostly work alone and for myself, I don’t have a set schedule or certain procedure, I sort of just do things when I want to do it and when my creativity is at its best. I am sure a lot of designers with a creative mind are like this! Sometimes if I get a mental block, I’ll stop designing for a couple days, maybe even weeks or months, until I have some fresh ideas. When I have a general idea of what my next collection will focus on, be it color, fabric, functionality, I will start sketching some designs. Once I have finalized which designs I love, which are usually between 6-12 pieces, I will contact my manufacturer, discuss fabric and send my collection for sample making. Once the sample is approved by myself, the dresses will be sent to production. I have learned, in these years, to stay picky and stay really picky. Never accept anything that is not over your expectation, and that is how you can ensure the best will be created!
As a fashion designer, do you have any memorable or favorite memories and/or accomplishments?
Oh boy, do I ever! My biggest accomplishment and favorite memory, was when I first started Je Vis Couture. Before I started Je Vis Couture, my mom asked me if i wanted to launch my clothing line at a fundraising event which was supposed to take place four months later. With the limited time and having started nothing, not even a name or logo for the company, I hesitated but decided to take on the challenge, Well, the surprise was later we found out that the event was actually in 2 months! With no time left, I came up with the name of the company,designed my logo, and started working on 2 different collections for the fashion show. Once the collections were finalized, I needed to have 2 photo shoots for pictures for my website, which was to launch the same day as the show. I cast my own models, and organized everything that was required for the 2 shoots. After the shoot, we finalized the images and I designed the website with my developer. Now, it was time to prepare for the fashion show. I worked with John Casablanca for the models and organized every detail for this full production fashion show, including a live mannequin and choreography, all by myself! So in 2 months, I literally went from “thinking” about started a clothing line, to creating my whole company, 2 collections and a fashion show!
What’s next for you? Are there any projects that we can look forward to in the next year?
The new collection that I will be presenting at VFS is not just a new collection but a new creative concept, where you can mix and match the tops and bottoms of the dresses. With just 6 dresses, you can actually create 42 different looks, This is great for the brides because they can take off the train and just wear the shorter part of the dress during their “dancing” part of their wedding. This concept will be even better for bridal stores, as they can simply purchase 6 dresses but have 42 options for the brides! I want to take this concept across Canada this year!
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Vancouver Fashion Week Winter/Fall 2016 runs from March 14th to March 20th. For more information, visit their official website at: www.vanfashionweek.com