As if to defy the conventions and expectations of her family, after twelve years of brilliant career, Judy abandons everything and decides to follow her passions. She moved to Milan, without regret, and graduated in Fashion Design at Istituto Marangoni.
The label’s birth
After graduating, in the wake of so many young Chinese designers, she decides to establish her brand in New York. Strong, independent, hungry for success, Judy works with tenacity and foresight. In less than a year, Judy Zhang label captures the attention of the press and of the most important international buyers.
Always convinced feminist, Judy shares her ideas through fashion, it becomes a means to inspire women. In this interview she tells the first steps in the fashion world, the difficulties and her hopes for the future.
(Q) Hello Judy, tell me a little about you…
(A) I was born in 1977 in a beautiful village in Hunan, China. From an early age, I begun to dance, sing and draw. I fell in love with everything related to art and beauty. My father always thought I was active and full of life therefore encourages me to choose a city that possess potential and opportunity for growth. Under his encouragement, at the age of eighteen, I chose the move to the south of Shenzhen in Guangdong Province of China. There I started my career and found my way into the fashion industry.
(Q) Where does your passion for fashion come from?
(A) I have always been in love with everything related to visual beauty. Fashion was something I fell in love with in my youth years in Shenzhen. As I become financially stable, I was able to purchase the clothing that I always wanted to wear. It was the details in the clothes that got me, it was so precious. From then on, I always wanted to be in the fashion industry. When I first started designing and received positive feedbacks from my clients, enhanced my and solidified my passion evenmore.
Never give up
(Q) What are the difficulties you encountered along the way?
(A) My first difficulties were finding a right outlet to share my love of fashion. When I first opened a retail store, within the first year I used up all my savings. From then on, it was lots of trial and error to make my way to where I am today. From retail, I moved to wholesale and then into designing.
(Q) For years you live and work in New York, but have lived for a period in Italy. What is the difference between the two ways of making fashion?
(A) The Big Apple has a major influence on fashion trends and fashion is more open to experiment. Milan is more traditional with a lot of attention to details. In Italy you get more influenced and inspired by the arty and historical surrounding rather than New York inspiration coming from people interests, hobbies and way of living.
(Q) What aspects you take into account in the development of a collection?
(A) Product quality especially focusing on garment details as well as production timing. To control product quality as well as quantity (waste control), in 2010 I created my own manufacturing/production team. Currently in Shenzhen, there are 78 employees in the sales and design team and 80 employees in production/manufacturing team, a total of 168 employees.
(Q) If I met you back in five years …
(A) I think I will still pursue and love fashion. Hopefully I will be a point of reference for women when they decide what to wear.