My goal is to create Future Heirlooms

Zoë Hong is an up and coming women's wear designer from Oakland, California. Her latest line consists of romantic, modern silhouettes and is tastefully infused with hints leather. She has been working within the industry since she received her degree in 2002 and seems to have found her niche in clothing that goes against average stereotypes.

Zoe: “My black leather isn't about dominatrixes and biker chicks, my eveningwear has pockets and my corsets work well with jeans. I also make dressy t-shirts in luxury fabrics".

It is evident in Zoë's garments that she likes working with draping soft fabrics and with up and coming trends; some of which include shoulder slits and body harnesses. Many of Zoë’s looks are adorned with unique headpieces adding a touch of glamour that helps the cohesion throughout her line. Her pieces are made for women in their late 20’s to early 40’s who are youthful and feminine, yet aren’t girly, she describes.

Taking a look at the products of this seasoned designer you can sense her self-realization. Zoë hits it on the head when she describes her inspiration as being ‘random, unpredictable and often fleeting’. It is always refreshing to hear anyone in the industry claim that certain things just aren’t always black or white. With Zoë Hong's outlook on fashion we can't wait to see what her next line holds in store.

When did you know you wanted to be in the fashion industry? I don't remember ever wanting to be anything other than a fashion designer. I used to steal my mom's fashion magazines before I knew how to read.

How long have you been in the industry? I started working in the industry immediately after graduating from Otis College of Art and Design with a BFA in Fashion Design in 2002.

What is your role in the industry? I'm a womenswear designer. That's my main work. I am also a fashion show producer for F3 at the Cotton Mill ( and a freelance fashion illustrator.

What does fashion mean to you? Fashion is everything from a socio-economic barometer of the times to pretty, happymaking baubles.

Is there a theme or message in your clothing? My goal is to create 'future heirlooms'.

Your target demographic? Women in their late 20s to early 40s who want to look youthful and feminine without looking girly.

Where can readers buy your clothing? The Factory in San Francisco.,, A few more boutiques will be stocking the next collection later this year. Readers can check for updates at

What is your favorite piece/item you have ever done? It's hard to decide, but I really love the big colorful ball gown I made in college, which was the result of a project I did with Bob Mackie. More recently, I love this white leather mini corset dress scattered with about 20 hours of hand beading that was part of my Spring/Summer 2011 collection.

Quote that defines you in the business or personally. "It's better to be the head of a rat than the tail of a dragon."

What is your favorite fashion season? The Holidays, because Holidays are the dressiest seasons and designing eveningwear is my favorite.

How do you feel the recession has affected the fashion industry, if it has at all? Of course the recession has affected the fashion industry. People shop less or shop more carefully. We've finally got to the point where the rich are back to their old spending habits but the rest of the US still has to be more realistic.


What trend could you do without this year/season? Jeggings.

What trend do you love this year/season? Maxi skirts.

Most loved designer/brand? Alber Elbaz for Lanvin.

What is your most beloved fashion item (accessory, shoes, clothing)? Does my engagement ring count? Other than that, I am completely besotted with my kimono collection and a totally ridiculous black vintage hat with pink feathers.

Being a Korean designer, do you feel American and Korean fashion tend to differ, and so how much? As much as I don't like making sweeping generalizations, Koreans tend to dress up more than Americans. Koreans and Americans have different ideas on what's considered inappropriate. Showing cleavage in Korea is a big deal, but wearing the shortest shorts is nothing. Americans show cleavage like they bare forearms.

How you would you define your city's fashion? I'd describe Bay Area fashion like its people: headstrong, independent, individual.

What is the most memorable/favorite moment in your fashion career/history? Getting my diploma was amazing. Winning the Gen Art/Perrier "Bubbling Under" Design Competition back in 2006 was really nice. Getting my first retail account for my label almost had me doing cartwheels. I'm mostly hoping I haven't peaked yet.


Designer ZOË HONG

Photography by Mariya Novitski

SJFW Fashion Writer Naz Isik

Contact information
1091 Calcot Place Suite 408
Oakland, CA 94606
p. 415.272.8867

Headpieces by Kitty Andrew's Millinery

Styled by Carina Castro

Makeup by Tamara Locke

Hair Styles by Terri Brown - Gilbert

Featured Models Shai White | Liana Neparidze | Kalisha Esfandiari


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