Get to Know: Sophia Chang, NYFW Producer and Diversity Crusader
1 year ago
“Fashion is the most overtly racist industry I've ever worked in.”
There are a ton of jobs that your high school guidance counselor never told you existed, never told you were fun, exciting and available for anyone ambitious enough to go for them. Sophia Chang has one of those jobs.
Though Chang has worked in a variety of fields, from journalism to music, it’s fashion where she has truly made her mark. Chang is one of the industry’s most respected fashion show producers. In this role, she is responsible for executing what we all think of when we hear the word “fashion show.” She conceptualizes the production from top to bottom, ensuring that the entire experience conveys to the audience the message, theme and feel the designer is striving for. (Think Margaret Cho's character in the infamous "Sex and the City" fashion week episode.) Chang’s shows are not only known for being among the funkiest and most fun of Fashion Week, but for being among the most diverse. Though Chang does not actually hire or cast the models herself, in her capacity as a show producer she guides designers towards a general aesthetic that will set the tone for the show. As she notes, her aesthetic is one that will always include people of color and her shows reflect this. “ A lot of it comes down to principle and speaking your mind when you think something isn't right, even if you know you're swimming upstream.”
Loop21: How exactly would you define what you do for a living?
Chang: I call myself Master of Many Trades because I've done so many different jobs. My core competency is as a personal manager but I've also been an A&R rep and event producer, fashion show producer, screenwriter and journalist.
Loop21: How did you get your start in the fashion industry?
Chang: I happened to meet Vivienne Tam [the designer] at her sample sale and introduced myself to her. She immediately asked if I would interview for the position as her assistant. I had just had my second child and part time work was right up my alley. From there I networked and got more work. But I do not define myself as someone in fashion because though it's fun and easy, it's a check, not my passion. Film, TV, and music are.
Loop21: Who have been some of your favorite people/designers to work with?