Joyce Wang started learning about art and the creative industries whilst in high school in her native town Zhongshan, Guangdong province. What started as a topic choice then turned into a serious love of the arts, which lead her in turn to further carry on her studies at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. Starting with art history, she took a number of design subjects at the respected arts institute, from sculpture to ceramics, before she reassigned to major in fashion design. Since then her career path has been littered with fortune and success due to her unwavering hard work, talent and skill.
Joyce realized while studying for her fashion degree that, "creativity is interconnected, it's like a light going through a prism," as she puts it. But what might seem very obvious, not many people can interpret and bring together in many different creative forms.
After university Joyce went to Beijing to work at Jack & Jones in 2014, to do design and build her career with a well known brand, but her colleague and friend Danny Bartlett came to Shanghai to set up his own company, called TDM, and threw an underground fashion show. Joyce was invited to participate, but this caused a problem with her manager at the time.
If she didn't return to Beijing on time she was assured she'd "face consequences", but the show was important to her, and after she returned to Beijing she quit her job to move to Shangahi full time. It was here that Joyce excelled and found her true calling. Moving to Shanghai gave Joyce the chance to follow her true passion, which is eco-fashion, and do it under her own label, the Joyce Wang brand.
Her collection was well admired and very well received. She won the Best Menswear Collection at the TDM show, and there and then she decided to follow her own career path, rather than the conventional one of working at a big label. "It was a risk but it was something I had to do, it just felt right, and that was the reason I came to Shanghai to start my own brand as I found my designs resonated with people," she told me with a very happy and content look on her face.
Eco-fashion is something that is ingrained in Joyce's DNA, as she believes fashion should be unique to everyone and last as long as possible: "If you ever think about throwing it away don't buy it," she simply puts it. She sternly puts it across to me that she doesn't want to make clothes for the masses to wear: "As people are unique so therefore their fashion appearances should be unique, I always encourage people to wear what they want to wear, people should be confident enough."
Her philosophy and ideals are very ethical and unconventional, but are very noble in the truest sense of the word. "For my designs I won't put any labels on the clothes. I don't believe in labels, as it doesn't fit into my philosophy as I want people to appreciate my design, not the label which people are only buying to try and be the 'in crowd' and cool."
Going back to her art studies, I had to ask if any part of her appreciation of the arts has an effect on her current designs. "My design style is linked to my sculpting and architectural practices. I find inspirations from natural aesthetics. From colors that are naturally put together, like prisms of color that you see when natural elements combine or collide."
Nature and being yourself are themes that I can see running through her work, but what about her work ethics? The following answer about her upbringing brought it home: "People shouldn't rest on their laurels, the reason I got to where I am is because I'm a competitive person and we have to change and adapt. My parents moulded my character to respect everyone and work hard, and that's the way I am now. My mom didn't want me to do art, but I went and did it as it was my dream and still is."
There are many trends and new labels currently blowing up in China, but when I asked Joyce who were her favorite designers who we should look out for she told me, "CJ Yao is definitely a name to look out for. LaBaron is a brand that is doing a lot of work for bespoke fashion wear and is going against the grain of mass production, which the other big fashion labels are unfortunately doing."
With this remarkable story of how an art student from a humble background came to be breaking through barriers in design and ethics I had to pose the question of what slogan or catchphrase do you want to sum up your work? She smirked and responded, "Get wasted, don't waste it!"
Joyce Wang will be a name to look out for in the near future no doubt. She has made a number of collections already and will make more in the coming months. With her bright and unique perspective we are hotly anticipating her new shows.