I Want Her Job: Teen Fashion Designer Alexandra Chang
Seventeen year old Alexandra Chang is the epitome of a Girl Boss. Not only does Chang design shirts for her company, The Zeitgeist, she contributes to noble, philanthropic causes like GirlUp and her local San Mateo Humane Society.
Chang creates LA-inspired, lighthearted tees and tanks that can mix and match with any style and personality. Her designs are worn by teens all over, including celebs from Dance Moms and Pretty Little Liars!
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur? How did you get started?
Ever since I was little, I have appreciated and admired creativity in all forms. A few years ago, I started following different blogs, and while doing so, I realized that a true teen lifestyle website did not exist. At the time, there were thousands of teen fashion blogs, but they didn’t offer unique content beyond outfit posts. I launched my newest venture, The Zeitgeist, earlier this year, and the blog portion encompasses everything from interviews to current events to style. My clothing line of the same name reflects my personality and is humorous, happy, and fun.
How does living in LA inspire you and your business?
Growing up and living in Los Angeles, I am lucky enough to be surrounded by abundant amounts of creativity. In LA, there are countless creative outlets— film, music, writing, art, fashion, architecture, food— and I am constantly inspired by all of them in different ways. One day, I finally decided to exert my own creativity by designing my first line of graphic tees. Comfy yet stylish shirts are a staple in my wardrobe, and I wanted to make something that everyone would love to wear on a daily basis.
What is your biggest accomplishment and your biggest struggle?
My biggest accomplishment is being a loving big sister. I have three amazing little sisters, all of whom I am lucky to call my best friends, even though we all have large age differences. I am also a kind, generous, and thoughtful friend, three traits that I always appreciate in other people. Business-wise, my biggest struggle has been time. I am competing with brands who have a full team of people behind them who can dedicate their entire day to the company. I am still in school full-time, so juggling that, along with homework, ACT prep, sports, and friends can be a challenge sometimes.
How do you balance your school work, social life, and company?
I make phone calls and answer emails during free periods at school. After I finish all of my homework, I focus on coming up with new designs for the next few months, but I don’t really have a set time for this- I am inspired all the time, and whenever I think of something unique for a shirt, I immediately write it down. I package and ship orders during the week, and weekends are for friends, family, and relaxation. I always want to try random restaurants, visit art galleries, or see independent movies, and I often convince my friends to adventure with me. It’s easy to come up with blog content because I’m constantly discovering new things and interesting people, and I have a lot of fun doing so.
What advice would you give to a girl who is thinking of starting her own business?
It’s important to take your ideas, passions, and dreams seriously but never take yourself too seriously. Once you decide to take the risk of starting your own business, surround yourself with other entrepreneurs and ask lots of questions. In other words, talk to people who have done it before. Be nosy, feel inspired, and never stop seeking curiosity. Finally, stop talking about your idea, and just go for it!
Tell us about your partnership tees that benefit GirlUp and the Children’s Action Network.
Every Zeitgeist shirt has a story. I want every tee to have a meaningful significance behind it, and I think it is highly important to give back to causes that you believe in and care about.
Being born into a three-generation family of inspiring women, I have always been surrounded by people who believe in girl power and follow their dreams, all the while remaining good, kind, and true. Girl Up’s mission of empowering women and girls all over the world, particularly through education, very much appealed to me. I attend an all-girls school and realize the lack of access that many girls have when it comes to receiving or pursuing an education. “The Emma Tee” celebrates female empowerment, with the slogan “Say it like you mean it,” with a percentage of proceeds donated to Girl Up. Around the holiday season, I collaborated with Children’s Action Network, specifically their SantaCAN program. 100% of the profits were donated to the organization, and it is an amazing gift drive for LA foster youth.
What are your plans for the future?
I am still in my junior year of high school, and there are so many things that I would love to accomplish– far too many to write down! I want to go to college and pursue my interests in English, film, media, and journalism. After graduating, I want to enter the entertainment industry as a screenwriter, director, or anything creative. Over the next few years, I also hope to continue expanding The Zeitgeist brand into new products and services beyond online content and graphic tees. I also have a major travel bug, and at some point, I would love to visit Madagascar, India, Peru, and Spain. Those are some of my current top destinations, as of right now!
When you’re not working on your business, what do you like to do?
I love to write for my blog and school newspaper in my spare time; I really enjoy any type of creative writing or journalism in general. I also love watching movies, so whenever I have a free afternoon, I head to my favorite movie theater, The Landmark at Westside Pavilion. They have a fantastic variety of both independent and blockbuster movies. One of my all-time favorite activities, though, is attending musicals and plays. I can’t sing to save my life, but watching other people perform on stage is an incredible experience.
Shop now: www.shopthezeitgeist.com!
Featured Image: Alexandra Chang by Charles Bush.