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Interview with Jessica Zhengjia Hu

Home > Designer Interviews > Jessica Zhengjia Hu

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Jessica Zhengjia Hu (JZH) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Jessica Zhengjia Hu by clicking here.

Interview with Jessica Zhengjia Hu at Tuesday 7th of June 2022
Jessica Zhengjia Hu
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
JZH: When I was a kid, my parents used to take me to various art events and exhibitions. At the age of 7, my first art teacher in elementary school invited me to the art group. She then taught and trained us for different art competitions, and that was the beginning of my art journey. As I grow up, art has become an important way for me to sense, experience and communicate to the world. And design is the method for me to think and discover potential possibilities for the future. I have always wanted to choose something that could always bring passion and inspiration to my life. I am so glad that I have chosen design as my career.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
JZH: [Jessture, LLC] Founded in New York, Jessture is a contemporary casual womenswear brand pioneered by Chinese entrepreneur and independent designer Jessica Hu. The motivation behind the brand was sparked by a desire to introduce simple, comfortable and chic clothing to the modern day women. Massimo Vignelli, an Italian designer once said, “Minimalism is not a style, it is an attitude, a way of being. It's fundamental reaction against noise, visual noise, disorder, vulgarity. Minimalism is the pursuit of the essence of things not the appearance.” With the idea of minimalism, we want our products to have simple elements and minimalist appearance, giving wearers enough freedom to show their own attitude and their innate beauty. We believe clothing is a type of "media" for people to express their true selves. “Less is more”, by offering simple products with attitude and essence, our goal is to provide a "media" for our customers to create their own unique fashion styles. You are the person who defines your own personalities and styles. It doesn’t matter what you wear, all that matters is who you are. Please join us to celebrate your true beauty, and define your own fashion styles. [No.72 Design Studio] Based in Shenzhen China, No. 72 Design Studio is a multiform design studio specialized in general graphic design, fashion design, product design, packaging design, layout design, business visual identity design, webpage design, and design related consulting services. By experimenting different design methods and keeping up with up-to-date market trends, the studio mission is to provide solutions that can maximize people’s life utility and satisfaction. Monkey King, one of the most powerful Chinese mythical figures, can do 72 metamorphoses. Yet, we believe the human intelligence, creativity and hidden potential generated from design, can be way more powerful than this mythical hero.

FS: What is "design" for you?
JZH: I believe design is a bridge connecting art and our daily life. It improves our living utility and happiness by transforming amazing thoughts and ideas into reality. By taking the advantage of both the experience and knowledge from the past, and the capability and potential from the present, we will be able to discover more of the beauty and infinite possibilities of this world.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
JZH: I like working on fashion, graphic and product design because they are all closely related to my daily life. At the same time, I also keep learning, improving and challenging myself on some other design categories, especially those related to new technologies. My recent interests are some light industrial designs and 3D modeling projects. I love to work on different creative projects with ideas and inspirations from the daily life. I believe different design categories are somehow connected with each other. With the constant improvement of technology, we are now able to design things that could be useful and functional for multiple occasions and different scenarios.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
JZH: I wanted to share my award-winning womenswear collection “Rebirth”. This winter collection was inspired by Shelley’s famous poet “Ode to the West Wind”. Winter is usually considered as a dull and faded period. Plants wither and decompose during the season. Unlike other seasons, winter might be a boring period with less vigor and vitality. However, I believe there is power of life and energy hidden behind the winter season, inside the branches, or beneath the ice and snow. In this collection I wanted to share the lively spirit of winter with abstract details and stylish tones. I wish to show that winter should not be associated with decline. It may be the hope of dawn and rebirth of a year.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
JZH: Some graphic prints on the footwear products for a footwear and accessory company in New York.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
JZH: I used to work with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator a lot for fashion design, graphic and packaging projects. Now I work with 3D software quite often these days such as C4D and Solidworks. I use them to create 3D product models.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
JZH: When I am alone at night.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
JZH: Make sure the design is functional and achievable. Make sure the core ideas and concepts are transmitted clearly enough.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
JZH: Devoted, delighted, dedicated.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
JZH: Pleased and satisfied.

FS: What makes a design successful?
JZH: A good design should be able to transmit its core concept clearly. It should be functional and practical. I believe a successful design can bring satisfaction and happiness to people.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
JZH: A clear interpretation of its concept and value can usually leave a good impression at the beginning.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
JZH: As a designer, my intention is to become a pioneer and pathfinder. For me, design is the outcome of critical thinking and exploring. By taking advantage of the power of design, I believe we can find better solutions to the existing problems in our society and environment.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
JZH: I am glad to see the design field has become more diverse and inclusive these years. Rapidly developing science and technology give us more flexibility in forms, methods, and platforms. In the future, I think “Metaverse” concept may become more popular and we may expect more relevant art and design works appear in the field. Another trending technology is the Artificial Intelligence. I have seen art works created by AI robots on the news. The AI robots were surprisingly creative and productive. They might become strong competitors of human being not only in production but also in creative industry. The good thing is this pressure of competition can transform into motivation that urges us to keep thinking, exploring and moving forward.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
JZH: The last exhibition I attend was the Fall/Winter 2019 Vancouver Fashion Week, held in Vancouver Canada. Hopefully I can have my next exhibition in Milan or Paris or some other places that I haven't been to in Europe in the future.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
JZH: I usually find inspirations in my daily life. Things I have come across or people I have met. My brain is most productive at night. I like staying alone, letting thoughts and ideas flash by. Traveling to new places and experiencing new things are good ways to look for inspirations and feed creativity as well.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
JZH: I have a motto for my brand, “Your gesture is your own style.” It means the same as “be yourself”. For me, my design style derives from my personality and my life style. I love freedom, ease and simplicity, like a minimalist.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
JZH: I grew up in Shenzhen, a beautiful modern coastal city in China. Then I went to college and lived in US for 7 years. I have a Chinese root but foreign experience and western culture also impressed me a lot on my thoughts and values. I love the cultural heritage of my country, but I believe art should not have any limit or boundary. It should be more diverse and inclusive. I am always trying to blend eastern and western cultures together in my designs. With experiences from both eastern and western cultures, my mind is more flexible and opened up. These different experiences allow me to look at things from various angles. However, sometimes some mainstream values in my country might be very sensitive and different from the western values. In this case, contradictory concerns may happen in the process of creation.

FS: How do you work with companies?
JZH: For my fashion brand Jessture, I design all the garments independently, and send them to factories for production. Then we sell them to buyer stores and retailers. For No.72 Design Studio, I offer graphic, product, packaging and 3D modeling design services to my client companies as well as individuals.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
JZH: It is very important to clarify and transmit the demands clearly to the designers. If the demands and requirements are not clear, it lowers the efficiency and may take the designer much more time to modify the works later. In addition, effective communication between company representative and designer is also a key to successful projects.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
JZH: When I have a new inspiration, I will do researches to look for useful data and information. Then I will start to prepare materials. Create drafts and modify them until they reach my satisfaction. Then finally, finish up the design and get ready to present them to the customers and clients.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
JZH: Jessture outerwear, 3D printed vase, 3D printed transparent lotus plate, graphic poster set, inspirational calendar

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
JZH: A normal day of mine starts with a cup of coffee and a bagel or sometimes an egg. I do not usually wake up early because the most productive and efficient time for me starts in the afternoon. Dinner time is around 7. I usually spend 1 or 2 hours after dinner to play with my cat and surf the internet. Then back to work at around 9 or 10 pm. I am a real night person. My bed time is usually between 2 to 4 am depends on the progress of my work. And that will be a random work day for me.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
JZH: My favorite artist Vincent Van Gogh said, “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” My favorite designer Alexander McQueen said, “You can only go forward by making mistake.” “As a designer, you’ve always got to push yourself forward, you’ve always got to keep up with the trends or make your own trends.” These quotes impress, inspire and motivate me all the time. We are in a rapidly innovating and evolving era. Remaining in the safety zone can no longer avoid being washed out by the new waves. As a designer, I believe we should walk in the front and become explorers and pioneers. We should not be afraid of difficulties and mistakes, because they teach us important lessons and experience. Keep thinking, and forging ahead. Keep practicing and improving our capability and skills. Keep exploring the unknown potential. There are infinite possibilities in our mind, and design is a very powerful shovel.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
JZH: Working with art and design makes me more sensitive. I become more sentimental and emotional. However, being more sensitive is helpful in some ways. It enhances my feeling of empathy and brings me more inspirations in life.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
JZH: Follow my heart, be brave, keep faith.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
JZH: Being able to transform thoughts into reality and fulfill needs.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
JZH: I use Photoshop and Illustrator a lot. I also use 3D software quite often, such as C4D, Solidworks and sometimes Maya for motional projects.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
JZH: My suggestion is to figure out the most productive and efficient period of the day, then staying focus on the work during this period. For example, I am more productive at night, so I will push back my schedule and start working in the afternoon till 2 am. Then the rest of the time I will make sure I get a good rest for my body and my brain.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
JZH: In general, it takes couple weeks to design a fashion collection and couple days to create a graphic work or a 3D model. Designing time varies for different projects though.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
JZH: How and where do I get inspirations?

FS: What was your most important job experience?
JZH: My internship experience in Donna Karan and Michael Kors. And my first paid job as a freelance CAD designer at a footwear and accessory company Elis, LLC in New York. These experiences got me prepared for my later career in the fashion industry.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
JZH: For Jessture womenswear, my clients are some local buyer stores and sometimes online retailers. For No.72 Design Studio, my clients are companies, organizations and individuals who have needs and demands in 3D modeling, graphic design and product design.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
JZH: I am a fashion and product designer. I love designing garments because clothing is one of the basic needs in our life. I also love 3D modeling because it allows me to create anything using relevant 3D software. My recent new interest is to do fashion designs using 3D software. “Marvelous Designer” is a very powerful tool. It allows us to design, create, fit and present garments in the computer. With the leading 3D technology, we can create and test any styles, materials and structures without spending a lot of time and money on material searching and sample making. It also avoids wasting any fabric and material and therefore very environmentally friendly way to do fashion design.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
JZH: Keep moving and getting ahead of myself. Keep learning new skills, practicing and challenging new projects in different categories. Always on my way of becoming a more comprehensive designer.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
JZH: I am an independent designer. Sometimes I may do collaborative projects with other designers as well.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
JZH: I am trying to design new fashion collections using 3D tools. With the help of leading 3D technologies, many big brands and companies have started to present their products on very true-to-life virtual characters in their campaign. Hopefully I can create my own 3D virtual characters to present my designs or even do a 3D fashion runway for my collection in the coming future.

FS: How can people contact you?
JZH: Sending emails to my personal mailbox huzhengjia@126.com

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
JZH: For me, design is not just a job, and designer is never just a job title. Design is my lifelong career, and designer will be my lifelong identity.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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