Designer Christina J. Wang, a Brown University graduate, created her namesake clothing line, CJW, in 2014. CJW is an Asian-American fashion label based in New York that prides itself on its playful and artistic designs inspired by everyday comforts and popular culture. Each print is hand-illustrated by Wang and as times became difficult throughout the pandemic CJW began creating face masks using upcycled fabrics from her existing loungewear collections and donating them to the Chinatown Health Clinic. CJW products are designed to envelope you in warmth and act as the perfect companion to any outfits or adventures for many years to come.
Wang is very transparent about her products being made in China, she hopes to change some of the stigma associated with Chinese production and embrace diversity. Her family is present in the garment manufacturing industry (started by her Grandmother in 1937) –and that is something she embraces and is very proud of.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in fashion?
I have always loved shopping, but did not originally intend to work within the fashion industry. I was trained as a fine artist and pursued a career in making oil paintings. I came up with the idea to translate my paintings into scarves for a lower price point, easier to sell products hoping to draw attention to my paintings, but as I began working on the scarves, I had so much fun and the work just took on a life of its own. I have never looked back since! Now my brand CJW offers a variety of scarves, twilly’s, loungewear, and other accessories in my signature hand-illustrated prints.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs and what influences them?
I find inspiration for my designs from my daily life and travel adventures. I am drawn to beautiful, unexpected, delicious things that I just can’t stop thinking about. That’s the beginning of items that eventually blossom into entire prints.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
Do not be too proud or too comfortable to push outside your comfort zone to follow your interest. Don’t be afraid to work hard and put in the hours to learn as much as possible. It is easier to ask a lot of questions and make mistakes when you are starting out.
Tell us what your biggest fear was when going out and starting your own line?
Honestly, I never worked at a traditional job so I am unaware of what to be afraid of. In hindsight, I wish I had more professional experience but it was also that naiveté that allowed me to jump off the cliff of starting a business.
How do you want people to feel when they wear your clothes?
I want people to feel comfort in the quality and joy in the print. I hope our products will spark conversations amongst strangers and accompany our customers on their many life adventures.
What advice would you offer to upcoming designers hoping to make it within the industry?
Hustle, hustle, hustle. Call in every favour and connection you have. No one will think to help you if you do not ask!
Where can one learn more/get in contact with Christina J. Wang and CJW?
Please follow us on instagram @shopcjw and join our email mailing list for all the latest product launches, sales and cute #phinnthelab pics!
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