Exclusive interview with Crissy Zhang, founder of Fashion Boundary

Text by Katia Gorshkova

With the world around us rapidly changing in the most unexpected ways, especially this year, every business needs to start looking at how they can stay at the forefront of their industry. The recent and devastating outbreak of the pandemic has shown us that we need to rethink our consumption habits, choose where we put our money wisely, learn patience, and teach our communities how to love and respect our fellow human beings and planet.

Crissy Zhang, founder of Fashion Boundary, has been dedicating herself to meaningful and sustainable fashion for some time. As someone who has spent years working in interior architecture and, as a child, watched her mother handmake sweaters for her, Crissy has always had a keen eye for aesthetics, style, and an impeccable taste for sophistication and elegance. But as exciting as it was working in the interior design and architecture industry, she admitted that it was time for her to pursue a bigger dream. “I learned that there is never a ‘perfect’ time to start something like this, so I jumped the gun and made it happen;” a piece sound advice for essentially all of us. “I wanted something new, something of my own, and something I was proud of,” she tells me. Thus, Fashion Boundary was born out of a desire to create something lost-lasting and meaningful.

Crissy Zhang, Founder of Fashion Boundary

Founded in 2019, Fashion Boundary is an online fashion retailer that provides its customers with stunning and timeless pieces. This digital marketplace showcases designs from both emerging and already established independent brands all over the world. “I am tired of seeing trends come and go and constantly keeping up with ‘what’s in’. That’s why I decided to ditch contending with fast fashion and focus on good quality, interesting, wearable and timeless pieces. There’re so many beautiful one-of-kind products and unique designs that aren’t exposed to a wide audience. That’s where Fashion Boundary comes in. People’s lifestyle is changing, and shopping behavior is transforming. More and more people have switched to online shopping from a mobile phone for convenience and ease. It’s important for us to keep up with the needs of our customers and give them great user experience.”

But what exactly does Fashion Boundary mean, I ask. ““Boundary” here has a dual meaning of ‘Within boundary’ and ‘Without boundary’. “Within boundary” indicates that we’ve created a community for talented designers to promote their brand on a supportive and collective platform. We aim to inspire, encourage and support each other. We share resources and promote within our own community in order to grow together. “Without boundary” indicates our digital marketplace is unlimited, as we’re targeting the global market and are able to sell globally through multiple independent channels.”

Fashion Boundary’s website features dozens of independent brands and designers and offers a carefully curated selection of clothing items and accessories for both men and women. Browsing through their website, one can tell that each piece was selected with great care. Before being featured, each brand is researched and discussed to make sure it aligns with both Fashion Boundary’s values and with those of their customer.

“When we select designer pieces, we choose beautiful, unique and wearable items that we know our customers will love. We believe that good quality pieces should be cherished and taken care of. When we research new brands, we’re looking for quality products. We ask ourselves, would our customer wear it? Is it in her price range? It is new and exciting? Has it been sustainably produced? Where is it made? We look at the founder/co-founder’s profiles and stories, to understand their missions and values.”

Another great feature of Fashion Boundary is their Designer Talks section of the website. It not only adds transparency and allows the customer to research more easily how and where their garments were made, but also offers an interesting insight into the stories behind the brands. This personal touch is one of the key factors of slow fashion, as it humanizes the producer and makes each garment so much more valuable.

Crissy holds the concept of slow fashion, meaning producing clothing in a slow and considered way, very close to heart, and with good reason. “I think it’s important because it involves buying better-quality garments that will last for longer and it values fair treatment of people, animals, and the planet,” Crissy says. Fashion has become the second-largest polluter in the world, right after the oil industry. Although big fashion retailers offer consumers garments at a cheap price point, the actual environmental cost of fast fashion is not only enormous but disastrous. According to recent studies, the fashion industry alone produces 10% of the world’s carbon emissions, is the second-largest consumer of water, and causes incredible harm to our oceans by polluting them with microplastics. Luckily, many consumers are now concerned with the sustainability of their clothes, and more people are willing to invest in high-quality pieces that they will love and wear for years to come, such as the ones featured on Fashion Boundary.

On top of owning the Fashion Boundary eBoutique, Crissy is also realizing her dream of creating her own designer collection. Launching soon is the Fashion Boundary Label, which is their in-house brand of women’s apparel designed and developed by their in-house team. To get an idea of what the Fashion Boundary Label will look like, one can take a peek at their already existing capsule collection, Pure Mirror, designed in collaboration with Thou Art. Pure Mirror was largely inspired by the landscapes of Uluru, a massive sandstone formation in Australia’s Northern Territory. The impressive natural landmark’s influence on the artistry of the collection is evident in the details of each garment. Rock textures have been reinterpreted into the repeated folded lotus leaf details in most of the pieces. The main colour scheme Tan, Cream, Grey and Black were inspired by the incredible red earth and colour palettes of its surroundings. “The Pure Mirror collection was Inspired by nature, architecture, interior design and art. The mood board (which also inspired the look book photoshoot) for the capsule collection depicts our design direction and gives insight into how we achieved the final garment designs to create unique forms, layers, details and a particular Pantone colour palette.” Fashion Boundary Label’s future collection will feature 25 styles and will go on from there in the future. It will also have its own website and identity separate from Fashion Boundary eBoutique.

When asked what she believes will be the future of fashion, Crissy remains refreshingly optimistic, believing that the industry is already changing, just as more and more brands are becoming more sustainable and adapting to the emerging technology trends such as AI and VR in order to cater to a more conscious and international consumer. When it comes to the eBoutique, Crissy and her team will continue to discover new sustainability-conscious brands and aim to become a global platform that displays and sells fresh, exciting, and stylish slow fashion brands. As for their in-house label, she told Flanelle the following: “It’s a challenge to tick all the boxes to meet the criteria of ‘sustainable fashion’, but I hope each project we achieved will be a little step for a better planet. For our new Fashion Boundary Label, we will start with environmentally friendly fabrics and avoid massive production. Pre-order or Made-to-order methods will be introduced to our sales channels and we encourage more and more customers to understand the beauty of slow fashion.”

As a final note in our interview, I wanted to conclude by asking Crissy for advice that she would give a young person (by including myself in that demographic) who wishes to pursue a creative career, and her response made me glad I did. “Don’t be afraid to change your career. If you are a creative person, creativity will stay in your blood and it will not go away. The world is changing, so keep learning and refreshing your skillset to follow what the earth needs. Go out of your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to show your creativity to the world through the internet, it will take time and you will be rewarded one day.”

Personally, I will be living by her words.