A business brain with a passion for fashion.
It all started with some crochet needles, a sewing machine, and a dream.
Two months ago Luna Zhang was determined to fully realize her passion for sustainable fashion when she applied for a grant from Babson College, where she currently attends. Despite not having any previous experience, Luna was up for the challenge and, with the grant, was able to purchase a sewing machine and take on the one and a half month-long feat of learning how to make clothing garments.
It has always been a dream of Luna’s to learn how to make clothing and when the opportunity presented itself for her to explore this dream, she knew that she had to jump on it. Along the way, Luna learned as much about herself as the tailoring process- realizing the importance of incorporating her political stances within the pieces as well as how far true grit and determination can get you.
One aspect of fashion that is especially important to Luna is sustainability. Having been a devoted thrifter over the years, Luna wanted to incorporate sustainability into making her clothes for this project by repurposing the yarn from thrifted blankets as well as parts of clothes from thrift stores. Luna also wanted to emphasize gender neutrality in the pieces that she made, a direction that she views fashion should be going into. During Luna’s final exhibition she even had both women and men wear her pieces, emphasizing the desire for her clothing to be inclusive for everyone.
The inspiration behind her knits have undeniably been color, which married well with the timing of her spring exhibition. Luna was also moved by different textures and the opportunity to incorporate these in the same piece, especially enjoying combining thick and thin yarns to create a 3-D effect. Additionally, Luna credits some muses throughout her process, such as ʟɪɴᴅsᴀʏ ᴠʀᴄᴋᴏᴠɴɪᴋ – a super talented design student in NYC- being her biggest inspiration along with YouTuber Emma Chamberlain.
Throughout her journey, Luna notes the many challenges that she had to overcome in order to finish her project within such a tight timeline of one and a half months. Reflecting back, Luna mentions that she wishes she had three to four months, however, is grateful for the restrictive amount of time, given that it really focused her on completing the task at hand. In the beginning, Luna said that she spent countless hours making a number of mistakes and fighting with her sewing machine, which she definitely underestimated the difficulty of using. Luna mentions that she and her sewing machine fostered an intimate bond, especially when she hit a jam. Looking back, however, Luna finds that the imperfections in her clothes are a reflection of the beauty of the mistakes that she has made along the way. Luna used the process of trial and error along with countless hours of YouTube video tutorials in getting to her final result.
At one point during the process, Luna admits that she wasn’t even sure if her project would fail or succeed. Luna had zero idea of the interworkings of design and fashion and had to completely shift her business brain to a design brain overnight.
“Business students get put into a box sometimes in what they can do. I had imposter syndrome and self-doubt along the way that I had to battle. I worked with great design students at my Converse internship and never thought that I could do what they were doing,” Luna mentions in our interview. This ties into her biggest learning point:
You are your biggest supporter and enemy, so be kind to yourself and don’t hold yourself back from things you want to try because at the end of the day we make mistakes and you should do it if it’s your passion.
Throughout this project, Luna proved to herself that she is capable of achieving her dreams and is more than just a business student- she can achieve whatever she puts her mind to.
Although Luna admits that seeing it all come together at the end was the most rewarding part of her journey, she isn’t stopping with the unveiling of her exhibition. Luna is currently taking future commissions of her work (DM her!) and will be donating the proceeds to the Asian American community, a cause that is especially close to her heart.
I am the happy owner of a Luna original crochet halter top, a piece with a story and meaning so much bigger than I could have ever imagined.