Alexandra Chang star
ted blogging at the age of 14, and created “The Zeitgeist“ website and clothing line at the age of 16. The Zeitgeist site includes all things fashion related, and her clothing line features unique graphic tees. Recently, the 17-year-old was nominated in Tigerbeat’s “19 Under 19 Entrepreneurship” category. Read on about this SoCal native’s path to fashion entrepreneurship success.
CH: Where did this passion for fashion, lifestyle and pop culture begin?
AC: Growing up in Los Angeles, basically for my entire life, I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by incredible amounts of creativity all over the place, whether through fashion, art, entertainment, writing—just a bunch of different mediums. I’ve always appreciated all forms of it. One day I decided I wanted to exert my own creativity so I started my T-shirt line and my latest website “The Zeitgeist.”
CH: Did you expect that “The Zeitgeist” would take you this far?
AC: No, I didn’t at all. There are so many people who are far more accomplished than I am, who have made such a large impact on the world at such a young age and that’s part of why I’m so honored to be included in the “19 under 19” program among so many inspiring young people who are doing incredible things to change the world.
CH: What would be your advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps as an entrepreneur?
AC: My advice would be to surround yourself with lots of different types of entrepreneurs, ask a ton of questions, talk to people who have done it before and figure out how your idea is different from all the other ones out there. Your friends and family will tell you that your idea is amazing because it probably is, but by talking to other entrepreneurs you’ll be able to figure out how your idea will make an impact and be different.
CH: What were some of your challenges?
AC: I’d say definitely the competition, specifically for my business there’s so many different T-shirt lines, specifically graphic tees. Also I’d say the research going into it because you really want to know your market before you launch into a business. Research took a lot of time but it was so worth it in the end. Eventually you just have to go for your idea.
CH: Was there a specific moment that inspired you to start your own clothing line?
AC: I would say it’s more of a progression over time. I was a competitive tennis player for nearly my entire life until I got injured. During that down time I got the opportunity to explore my other interests. That’s kind of when I started reading different blogs and while doing so I realized that a true teen lifestyle website didn’t really exist at the time. There were a lot of teen fashion accounts and Instagram accounts but I would say most of them focused on “Outfit Of The Day” pictures and fashion posts, not necessarily much beyond that. I wanted to change that and add different components to my website, so now “The Zeitgeist” includes interviews, travel, food, style, and pretty much everything else in between. It’s a lot of fun.
CH: What sparked the name “The Zeitgeist?” It’s a very eye-popping name.
AC: That was my hope. I first heard the word “Zeitgeist” which is a German word from my grandmother. She used it all the time and it means discovering upcoming trends. It literally means spirit of the time and I saw that as everything current. That encompasses everything from pop culture to style to movies, books, TV—anything that’s currently going on in the world.
CH: What’s next for “The Zeitgeist?”
AC: I will be releasing my holiday collection of T-shirts pretty soon in a few months, which I’m very excited about. I’ve had a lot of fun working on the different designs and I’m hoping other people will like them as much as I enjoyed making them.
CH: Where do you get ideas for your designs?
AC: I’m kind of inspired by everything around me. I’m a news junkie, I read and watch news constantly whether its Us Weekly or New York Times or Teen Vogue, whatever it is I’m pretty much always reading something. That definitely inspires me, and sometimes if a current event is going on I’ll try to put a funny spin on it, like my Instagram design named “The Tina” after the amazing Tina Fey. People are so obsessed with Instagram. One day I was playing a game of monopoly with my sister and that’s when the idea came together for that slogan in particular.
CH: You mention your passion for news. I know you love Anderson Cooper—how has he inspired you in life?
AC: I do love Anderson Cooper. I would love to be the second AC—Alexandra Chang, Anderson Cooper. Anyway, he’s such a big inspiration to me. He has truly followed his passion he began reporting at such a young age. He’s continued to do so many incredible things throughout his career. He’s also a big animal lover, which I really appreciate. He loves the dogs as do I. He’s just an amazing all around person.
CH: How did you come to intern at Warner Brothers and what was that experience like?
AC: I had the incredible opportunity to intern for The Safran Company which is producing the upcoming film “Annabelle 2.” That experience was absolutely incredible. Ever since I was little, I’ve always appreciated creativity. There are so many forms of that. I gravitate towards film, writing, and design. That was the dream experience for me because I was able to read a lot of scripts, understand what films were getting made and which ones weren’t, and I also had the opportunity to be on the set of “Annabelle 2” for a few weeks which was fantastic.
CH: Would you consider becoming a filmmaker in the future?
AC: It’s definitely a possibility. I want to go to college and pursue my interests in that area as well as in English and journalism and I’d like to enter the entertainment industry in some way whether that be through screenwriting, directing, costume designs, whatever that may be.