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An Interview with Jen-Fang Shueh


No other brand celebrates femininity the way that Jenny Fax does. Each of their pieces is so replete with girlish details and eclectic patterns that it would bring Barbie to her knees. The designs often feel like the aesthetically pleasing subconscious of American suburbia, lecherous but well put-together, beautiful and kitschy, the sort of avant garde that magnificently subverts banalities while simultaneously embracing them. It's exaggeratively youthful and sweet with a heavy undercurrent of darkness, like a surreal teen fantasy, and I can't get enough of it. Unfortunately, I'm not in the financial position to own one of their pieces, but I have definitely curated my dream closet with their ornate, strangely beautiful clothing. I would love nothing more than to be wrapped up in one of their candy-colored, floral, vintage-inspired, organza looks and be mistaken for an otherworldly fairy.


It's clear that designer Jen-Fang Shueh creates her designs because she wants them to exist, and that's my favorite aspect of Jenny Fax. The clothing is unapologetically feminine, crafted through the female gaze. This is not femininity as it appeals to men, this is divine femininity, intended to be powerful, not digestible. Memories of girlhood are a constant source of inspiration for Jen-Fang, and this element of temporality imbues her work with a melancholic strength-- showing progression from girlhood to womanhood. To me, after viewing her collections, I almost feel like I've gone through a rite-of-passage myself.


Who are your biggest inspirations?

I think my memories are my biggest inspiration, memories from childhood of friends, family, my first love, etc. They are like my ghosts that never go away. It's both good and bad.

How have your designs changed over time?

I think I am very moody person. What my life experiences are in that period effects my designs a lot. And, often, I change the theme, and design in between. Maybe you won't believe this, but minimalism very often is my starting point. It always comes out so different.

What's been the most transformative experience of your life?

I think studying aboard by myself when I was 19 years old. And living in boarding school when I was 12 years old.


What advice would you give to your younger self?

Hug your family as much as you can. And tell your family you love them everyday.


When did you realize you wanted to go into fashion?

When I was very small, it was a dream of mine to have many clothes. But I didn't, so I started to try to hand make a small bag, or stitch ribbon, or cut some thing off from my clothes to make something different. I wanted to be different and special.


What was the happiest moment of your life?

I love to be reminded of what my family did when i was small. Sometimes I liked to go to this huge stationery store, and just look at pens, notebooks, stickers. I could spend half of a day in there. Sometimes I loved to go to the coin laundromat with my sister. We would just chat in there for half of a day. It was very relaxing time for me.


How would you describe your creative process?

It's always about memory. It's like a big library full of files of memories. And when I'm feeling like. 'This time I want to do an '80s girl.' my memories of the '80s will come through, and what I like now. It's like cooking, adding things little by little.