Candy + Bagel

Responsibly Handmade Fashion by Jean Chung

I'm on The Sweet Georgia Show!

AnnouncementJean ChungComment

Last month, I received a very exciting email from the Sweet Georgia Show, inviting me on to the show for an episode. Felicia of the Sweet Georgia Yarns supported yarns for several of my designs in the past, and we've briefly met in person at TNNA before but never really had a chance to sit down and get to know each other.

Listen to the interview and read about the giveaway here

061-Episode-Artwork-4.jpg

 

The giveaway ends on November 14, so be sure to submit your information for a chance to win a free pattern and a free ballet skirt!

We talked a lot about my day job, my passion for creating, and balancing and juggling everything. I am one of those people, "multipotentialite" (See TedTalk by Elimie Wapnick), and I have so many interests. Even before becoming a mom, I always pursued several interests at the same time, totally devoting myself to those passions. In high school, it was writing, journalism, and dancing; in college, it was dancing, political science, and Korean traditional drums. Finally, in law school, I was pursuing knitting, law, and yoga. 

So the idea of juggling many different passions is not new to me, although now that I'm older and not a student anymore, the expectations have grown. But this pressure is what keeps me sane and interested in life. When I tried to cut one aspect of my life, in hopes of simplifying my life a bit, it became boring and uninspiring. I was in a creative rut for several months!

Understanding how I work, and knowing when to let go were really important part of the lesson. I embraced my need to fill my life up with multiple passions, and when I reach certain point in the pursuit of that passion, I know that I need to take a break, and explore other options too. 

That's where I am at with Candy & Bagel as a brand. For many years, Candy & Bagel was the place where I did my knitting and designing. Now I have a need to pursue something beyond knitting and designing. More importantly, I have a need to grow Candy & Bagel into something that help me and people like me. 

Don't let your history or investment limit your growth. Sometimes, you need to analyze whether to let go and pursue something else, and let yourself have a little break. It's not the end, it's just part of your growth and expansion into the world. 

 

Thoughts on fast fashion.

Jean ChungComment

I have to be honest, I've shopped at those places before.

Where pretty floral blouses are just $15 a piece and a pair of shoes costs $35.

Where if you hesitate and don't buy something, and you go back the following week, you're greeted with all new arrivals. 

Where the company is expected to deliver a new collection weekly, 52x a year.

They're sure enticing, because most of us are attracted to new things. 

It doesn't stop at physical stores in the malls. Browsing through Amazon, it's not hard to find a pair of pants for $25 and a work-appropriate top for $10~20. 

So, where does Candy & Bagel stand? How can handmade fashion survive? How will small label designers survive? 

I think there is a place. There is a reason for this boom and growth of handmade businesses. The more advanced we become technologically, the more people crave the human connection. That's why this quote really resonated with me. Everything I make, I think about the fabric, the yarn, the environment, the source, how it feels between my fingers, and how it moves through my needles and sewing machines. I think about the person who will be wearing them, I think about the weather, the style, the body type, and everything. I create, not just beautiful things, but to make PEOPLE feel beautiful and cared for, when they wear my creations.

That's the ammo I have against those big chain stores that can manufacture sweaters at $17.50 a piece. They might make people look pretty in pictures, but will they make you feel loved and cared for? We wear clothes everyday; shouldn't they make us feel good?

ballet skirts.

Life ThingsJean ChungComment

My love for ballet + my love for fabric = MY PASSION FOR LOOKING GOOD!!!

haha

candyandbagel ballet skirt
DSC09790.JPG

I grew up taking ballet classes regularly for almost 7 years when I used to live in Korea. Then between moving to the US and having to "study hard so that I can get into a college," I had a long hiatus from ballet. About 4 years ago, I just randomly decided to go back to ballet, and loved the first ballet studio I went to, and just stayed with it. 

Now with a kid and a full time job, I can only show up for 1 class a week. But there's one thing that never changed. I always try to look properly dressed for the class. That means, leotards and tights, legwarmers over the pointe shoes, I also like to make ballet skirts! 

After a recent class, some students asked if I could make some skirts. Encouraged by their enthusiasm, I drafted and made a couple of styles in different fabrics. 

The more I work on these, the more I am feeling that this is going to be the new thing at Candy & Bagel!

I started making my own leotards and skirts because I wasn't finding anything I wanted to wear. Most dancewear companies make things for kids, and not enough for adult dancers. If you were professional, and already have the body of a ballet dancer, sure you will fit into those and look great! Or you have the ability to pay for more high-end brands with better fabric. They still don't solve the problem. Most adult dancers who dance recreationally, need more support in the right places, and need more coverage for better fit

I'm starting out with a small batch of skirts now, but plan to expand to legwarmers (knit!), warm-up sweaters (knit!), and other dancewear geared towards adult dancers. 

I am excited for this new chapter in Candy & Bagel's journey!