Joyce Chong is a womenswear and menswear designer based in Aberdeen, Scotland. She has always been aware of sustainability whether that in fashion or towards the environment. Her magnificent pieces were recently featured in Harper’s Bazaar UK and we had a pleasure of understanding in depth her creative and innovative way of thinking throughout the conversation.
The combination of Psychology, textiles and technology being a subject of fascination for you, could you elaborate on this subject?
Our minds all wire differently and I find it interesting how textiles and colour can change the way a person feels. Clothing could become a new therapy. Technology can be used to incorporate elements such as heat, light, and music for protective wear and to support people’s health. There are countless ideas to improve the fashion industry as we have so many resources in our hands than previous decades. Technology and clothing are always evolving so I believe we could use this combination to our advantage in the fashion industry.
What inspired you to develop an interest in psycho-textiles?
My inspirations are varied from multiple aspects but one that lead me to be interested in psycho-textiles was the emotions people feel. Throughout my collection I wanted to design garments that could show certain feelings without having to explain them. Textiles can help people with their mental health and feel better about themselves. By making small changes like changing the type of fabric and colour can make such a huge difference to how someone feels.
“Throughout my collection I wanted to design garments that could show certain feelings without having to explain them.”
What would you point out as the current sustainability issue in the fashion as well as towards the environment, and how do you address these issues?
One of the current issues in the fashion is the low-quality fabrics and the mass production that fast-fashion brands keep producing. The type of fabrics they choose deteriorates faster after a few washes which means more clothes add to the landfill. Fabrics such as denim and cotton use gallons of water and chemicals to produce causing negative impacts towards the environment. Each design will then have their own colour meaning more dye chemicals added onto the garments. This can be harmful to others and can cause skin allergies. These issues cannot be solved overnight but some alternatives are to use natural fabrics that consume less water to make and use recycled fabrics. Another option is to grow your own fabrics from ingredients such as kombucha which replaces leather. Instead of using all the chemicals to dye fabric a replacement can be to use plants and flowers which brings back the traditional crafts.
“One of the current issues in the fashion is the low-quality fabrics and the mass production that fast-fashion brands keep producing.”
How do you challenge yourself and perform a type of feeling and thought process in your clothing which can speak for itself?
I try to challenge myself by creating unusual designs that involve some problem solving which I highly enjoy as it gives me a sense of accomplishment. I feel more motivated if it is challenge. My final collection should be able to speak for itself and be able to perform a story of comfort and love. I wanted to tell a story without using words and for people to understand the narrative by the feel of the fabric and the design collectively.
Theme of healing those who had a traumatic childhood, the wearer have the option to use the lights wherever they go. What inspired this thought about the mental health of garment wearers and how clothing can benefit their health? Could you elaborate more on your graduate collection ‘Inseperable’?
The clothes we wear are part of us. Whether we wear clothes for comfort, style or to protective us, we all need it. I wanted to show that clothing has so many different purposes as well as wanting to feel good about themselves. Why not use what we wear everyday and combine that to heal ourselves. At some point in our lives we all struggle with our mental health and do not know where to turn to or how to deal with these issues. I wanted other options to heal the body and the mind without having to take medication and develop side effects. I wanted people to heal themselves naturally with the garments they wear. I hope in the future this concept can go further and be able to produce clothing to support others.
“Why not use what we wear everyday and combine that to heal ourselves. At some point in our lives we all struggle with our mental health and do not know where to turn to or how to deal with these issues.”
Discover Joyce Chong's full collection
Words by Katarzyna Korcz