It’s cruel of us to bring up yummy treats when talking about fashion. Forgive us, but we’ve been inspired by the newest addition to your fashion glossary: Candace Ang, the woman behind SuperCandy and her eponymous jewelry line. But before we get to the sweet stuff, let’s first enjoy the main course.
Meet designer Candace Ang, of Chinese descent, born in the Philippines, raised in Canada, lived in Los Angeles and now residing in New York City. Her experimental aesthetic is seen in her jewelry line, whether it’s her bangles adorned with silk or satin, statement necklaces or a collaboration with another designer, and each piece is handmade at her Brooklyn studio.
“I never wanted to create anything that seems like it was stamped out of a factory,” she says. “That will continue with anything that I make. It gives some life and love to each piece.”
Ang brings both her business sense and creative skills to her two labels. She sharpened the former at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia as a finance student so she would know how to run her future company. She discovered the latter at a very young age. Her first label SuperCandy was born when she was 22 years old after a friend’s roommate, who happens to be a buyer, picked up the hair accessory collection. Twelve months later SuperCandy was a super-hit in Canada, and its hair accessories are still flying off the shelves today.
She launched her next label Candace Ang in spring 2005, but only after building her fashion background. Talent and determination helps to jump-start a dream career, but we know how beneficial is a strong foundation. For Ang, it’s an associate degree from New York’s Parsons The New School of Design and freelance jobs at Miguel Adrover, Tommy Hilfiger, Cynthia Rowley and Lee Angel.
Her relocation to New York places her among the designers with emerging talents or established names but most importantly those who are of Asian ancestry such as Anna Sui, Alexander Wang, Jason Wu and Vera Wang. Ang isn’t missing a beat from all the towering skyscrapers and bright lights though. She took advantage of the talent that surrounds her by teaming up with womenswear designer Margarita Saplala on a jewelry line in 2010.
“Margarita is an awesome person, whom I met through my showroom in New York,” Ang shares. “She is from the Philippines and I was also born there so somehow we had that in common. In the end, she is just a super cool girl who makes awesome dresses and we decided to do a fun line together.”
Though pinned against each other for the collaboration’s name – Candace Ang Vs. Margarita Saplala – the ladies found their harmonious balance through mutual respect.
“We let each other do our own thing and come back to the table to bounce off ideas on each other,” Ang explains. “In the end, you get something better than you would on your own because it’s out of your comfort zone. I love doing collaborations because it’s a challenge and also really exciting to see something through another person’s eyes, especially if that person is someone who can stretch and feed your vision.”
Their collection together is just as fresh as their individuals labels. Inspired by Saplala’s use of prehistoric-inspired prints in her fall collection, Ang created funky jewelry mixed with contemporary elements. Think mini-dinosaurs hanging on gold chains or ceramic arrowhead detailing. Marie Claire featured the jewelry inside the magazine and Daily Candy raved that the line is “quirky” and enough “to scatter any incipient gloom.”
While the dynamic pair only worked together on two collections, it may not be the last time Ang calls on to her fellow Asian American designers for collaborations.
“I think its great to work with all designers, but with Asian Americans it’s interesting because even though we are all different we still have similar references from childhood and just in life,” she says.
“I know so many Asian American designers who do so well in fashion because they are incredibly meticulous and hardworking. Who knows where that comes from but I am sure it has to do with our families’ work ethic. I find myself gravitating towards these designers even when I shop.”
Now that we’ve ended the main course, indulge yourself with delicious goodies and find out what are Ang’s favorite sweet treats.
What’s your favorite childhood candy?
Well, let’s see my nickname is Candy so do you think I can pick just one? When I was a kid the biggest treat was getting any Hello Kitty or Japanese candy. I think that was my favorite because it was so special.
Favorite Asian dessert.
I love anything with coconut in it! Filipino deserts have a lot of coconut in them, but I don’t know all the names. I just know I love them!
You’re at a bakery shop. What are the top three items you would order?
Oh dear. You are killing me! I work in Soho right next to Balthazaar Bakery so I know this very well. If it’s an American bakery, I love almond croissants, oatmeal cookies and apple pies. I guess I’m pretty basic when it comes to that stuff. In a Chinese bakery it would be the coconut bun and in a Filipino bakery it would be an ensaymada especial with cheese and sugar!
Favorite ice cream flavor.
Favorite cupcake place in New York.
Butter Lane in the East Village has great cupcakes and fantastic flavor combinations. They use really fresh ingredients and have fresh fruit like strawberries garnishing the cupcakes. I love it there!
When was the last time you had chocolate?
I’m eating a piece right now! I got a whole bag of candy from the new Swedish candy store Sockerbit. It’s so good I ate all the gummies yesterday and saved three pieces of chocolate for last.
What’s your guilty pleasure sweets?
I have no guilty pleasures. All pleasures are good for you!