Simon Chang, fashion designer (b at Canton, China on 3 Aug 1947). Chang grew up in Vancouver, BC, where he first became interested in fashion through films such as Imitation of Life and Pillow Talk. Inspired by the costumes, Chang began to follow the careers of movie wardrobe designers Jean Louis and Helen Rose. Chang studied graphic design and photography at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design.
In the early 1970s Chang moved to Montréal and began his career as a fashion co-ordinator for The Bay department store. Shortly after, he started designing ready-to-wear collections for the Clothes to You and International Typhoon labels, cofounding the latter company. Working at Brodkin as a licensed designer, Chang met Phyllis Levine. Together, they created Simon Chang Concepts in 1983.
Garments of vivid colours and attention to detail characterize the Simon Chang "look." His interest in graphic design and digital print inform the design of his garments, all of which have been shown on the runway season after season. In addition to his bold take on womenswear, Chang's retail collections are accessibly priced and offered in a range of sizes, from 4-16. Along with the Simon Chang collection, a number of licensed products for both men and women carry his name, including eyewear, fragrances, time pieces, handbags, outerwear and winter accessories, sleepwear, swimwear and denim.
One of Chang's most valuable licensing ventures has been his line of uniforms, most notably for the aviation industry. Designing a wide range of garments for both Air Transat and Royal Air, Chang was one of the first Canadian designers to successfully partner with an international brand through a global licensing venture. In addition to aviation, Chang has designed uniforms for hospitals, restaurants, beauty salons, Québec's provincial police force and the Ontario fire marshals.
In 1996 Chang entered into a licensing agreement with Rebel jeans, launching a complete line of denim and casual wear for women. Under the new licenses for 2000 were a novelty leather collection, a lingerie and under-fashion collection, a swimwear collection and an outerwear collection.
In 1986 Chang established the Simon Chang and Phyllis Levine Foundation with his then-partner (Levine passed away in 2006). Supported by Simon Chang Concepts Inc, this charitable organization provides financial assistance to Canadian educational institutions and charitable medical, educational and social service organizations. In addition to its continued contributions to medical research, the foundation also provides annual grants to students studying in the fine arts.
Governor General Michaëlle JEAN honoured the designer in 2008 with the ORDER OF CANADA. The award recognized Simon Chang for both his notable contributions to the fashion industry and his continued philanthropic work.
“I want women to be continually surprised and energized by my clothes and accessories"