career designer

Designer Spotlight: Meet Julian Chang

Wednesday, July 05, 2017 Jen Lezan

The life of a designer can be a whirlwind. Often, it is assumed to be filled with glitz and glam, but the reality is that there is so much work that goes into creating a brand and designing a collection. The life of a designer is rife with finding balance between a creative vision, business goals and your life passions. Pursuing a career in fashion can be daunting, but those who have a true passion and calling can create their own beautiful future. One designer, who is doing just that is Julian Chang. 

Known for his bold prints and signature silhouettes, Julian Chang has become one of fashion's most celebrated designers to emerge from Miami. Born and raised in Lima, Peru he moved to America and graduated from the Miami International University of Art and Design with a BA in Fashion Design. During his time as a student, he pursued internships illustrating for magazines and freelancing design for women's and men's fashion brands and swimwear. After graduation he landed a coveted position as a assistant designer for a large manufacturer, and within eight months was named Head Designer. This rapid advancement allowed him to launch his own label.

He is often inspired by Miami's lifestyle and travel. Julian's designs have been worn by celebrities such as Britney Spears and Gloria Estefan, and featured in publications such as Cosmopolitan, Lucky, Vogue, and Vanidades. His accolades include Miami International Fashion Week Pret-a-Porter Designer of the Year, Ebenzer Award of Honor World Fashion in Korea, and The Key to The City of Miami Beach. 

Women's Wear Daily selected Chang as the "Up and Coming Ready-to-Wear Designer to Watch". Today Julian Chang has grown into an international brand that offers in-demand women's apparel and is highlighted in over 600 high-end boutiques across the United States as well as internationally. We wanted to learn more about his journey and thankfully, Julian took some time to share his story with us. Keep reading for the full interview. 

1. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, your background and what led you to pursue launching your company?

I am originally from Peru and came to the United States to study fashion; something I have wanted to do for as long as I remember. I loved Miami so decided to make it my new home. I started out working for a large fashion company and was rapidly promoted to head designer. This gave me the confidence to strike out on my own. I have enjoyed the opportunity to be able to pursue my creative instincts and learn about running an increasingly larger business annually. The challenges have been part of what makes it exciting to be producing my own collections "proudly designed and made in the USA".

2. Can you tell us more about your brand, the idea behind it, the customer you cater to and the purpose and mission driving it?

The primary driving force behind the Julian Chang brand is to bring the glamour, excitement and sexiness of the Miami scene to women (and now recently men) around the world. Our primary customer today is a woman who is confident in herself and wants her look to reflect that confidence. She is typically in her late 30’s and up (we have a wide range of designs suitable for the wide range of people found in that age grouping). She wants to look her best and feel comfortable any time of the day or evening, and wants the ability to mix and match to create multiple outfits suitable for her busy lifestyle. We are evolving to provide men with a similar capability.

3. What led you to focus on pursuing a career and fashion and is it what you expected?
For as far back as I can remember I have always wanted to be a fashion designer. I know that in that desire there must have been influence from my mother who was a seamstress in Peru, and my sister who was a fashion model. The glamour and excitement of the fashion shows that she enabled me to attend confirmed my life-long interest.

4. Where do you get your creative inspiration and what does your creative “process” look like as you develop your collections? 

It depends: Sometimes my inspiration comes from a trip that I have taken and the people and places I have seen. Other times it is a consequence of the things I see and do in my daily life. We usually have a clear direction of colors and design, but during the process things can change

5. Are there people, mentors or figures that have made an impact in your life and career? If so, how? 

Certainly Charlene Parsons, the director of the fashion school I attended, was instrumental in my development. I would also include my first bosses Sheryl Singer and Andy Varat who taught me about the business, had confidence in me and helped me to gain the self-confidence to be on my own.

6. What are your goals for your brand in the next 2-5 years? How do you hope to be making an impact or what kind of growth are you looking forward to? 

Currently we are looking to enlarge our fledgling mens' line and continue to expand our womens' lines in multiple directions. While we cannot do everything at once, we are increasing our couture customers, and establishing a more personal relationship with many of these unique clients. We are also looking to expand throughout the United States and overseas with more boutiques carrying the Julian Chang brand focusing on South America, Europe and Asia at the present time, as well as increasing our on-line presence. We are looking to increase our annual growth rate from its current 10-15% to 20-25% over the next three to five years.

7. How is your brand remaining innovative and what are you working towards when it comes to changing the standards within your industry?    

We are innovating through the utilization of new fabrics and developing regional collections that reflect the local "look" while remaining true to our Miami "roots".
I do not believe that we are in a position to change the standards of the industry ourselves, but we are working with others to incorporate the changing technologies into our processes.

8. What kind of obstacles have you faced when it comes to entrepreneurship and growth as a business owner? How did you overcome? 

Being based in Miami has been both a challenge and opportunity. When we began our business Miami was not considered much of a fashion center. It was a challenge to become recognized and gain acceptance outside South Florida. However, that is now changing as Miami becomes more of a multicultural center for art and fashion. Financing the business and finding good talent is a continuing challenge; the desire to grow rapidly needs to be tempered with a realism to stay within our financial capabilities as well as to maintain our quality at our high standards.

9. What has been your greatest success or proudest moment to date?

While I have won numerous awards and accolades I think more of the future than the past. My proudest moments have been seeing my apprentices strike out on their own and develop their own businesses. I am also proud to have provided support to Cancer Link and other charitable causes with fashion shows and couture dresses to auction I am also proud to have received The Key to the City of Miami.

10. What kind of advice would you give to someone looking to launch his or her own business?

PARTICIPATE. I strongly advise young aspiring designers to find an internship with a designer you admire, listen and work hard and stay focused on your goals.

11. Finally, where can we learn more about your brand online?
You can find us at and Instagram JuliaChangUsa where we showcase our current collections

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