By Cecilia Sha
In the fashion world, a lot of womenswear labels were founded by male designers; moreover, male designers are still more famous than female designers for menswear. Asian Fusion recently spent some time getting to know Janet Zheng, a Chinese girl who came to the United States from KunMing, bringing with her both a passion and incredible ambition to succeed as a menswear designer in what is mostly a male dominated arena.
Q: Could you tell us a little about your background?
A: I am from the city of KunMing in China and moved to the U.S. when I was 10 years old. I attended Cornell University and graduated with a degree in Textile and Apparel Design. I have worked in the industry as a designer for about seven years, until I decided to launch my own label.
Q: What kind of influences motivated you to build your brand?
A: I have always had the aspiration of launching my own label. It was just a matter of time. My first runway show was presented in October of 2010, with support from The China Institute Young Associates organization. From that point on, I knew that this was the right path to follow in my career. Consequently, in July of 2011, I officially registered my company, “Janet Zheng International, LLC”.
Q: How would you describe your brand/label?
A: Janet Zheng Menswear is a modern,forward, high-fashion luxury label that is also wearable, comfortable and is made with the utmost attention to fabric quality and fit.
Q: What expectations do you have for your label?
A: Our goal is to offer the most luxurious clothing with the absolute best and individualized customer service to our clients. From fitting to function and form. This is the principle formula that the business will live by.
Q: Who’s the Janet Zheng man?
A: Our target customer is a man who is aware of style and confident in his own skin. He understands the value of quality clothing and isn’t afraid to dress the part. Our main audience is the urban gentleman. Starting with our base right here in New York City, we look to expand to other major metropolitan areas around the U.S. with further plans to bring the line to the Asian luxury market.
Q: What’s your brand spirit?
A: The man should feel easy, free and uncomplicated in our clothes. The brand is built to exude clean, refined style and confidence.
Q: Who’s your design inspiration/the muse?
A: In terms of inspiration, I have always been an admirer of Rick Owens, Hedi Slimane, Ann Demeulemeester, Jil Sanders and the likes of such. As for a muse, I can’t name a specific person, I design for men, not just one man.
Q: What’s the meaning of fashion to you?
A: The word “Fashion” to me now is a loose term, and society has made it out to equate to seasonal trends and transient fads. Fashion should stand for style and innovation. Thus in my world, I choose to use the word STYLE in its place.