Did you know Celeb Secrets was originally a high school hobby for me about seven years ago? Every day after school, I would publish editorials on the site and interview some local talent over the weekend in between a heavy athletic schedule. Fast forward all of these years later, and look where the brand is now!
I always love talking with fellow young, female entrepreneurs because their stories are so inspiring. I also find similarities in our work ethic and passion, which is truly inspiring. When I came across 18-year-old Alexandra Chang and her brand The Zeitgeist, I automatically thought of myself when I was her age. Originally a blog, The Zeitgeist is an organization that wants to inspire young girls to take that risk and follow their dreams. After receiving huge success, Chang now sells t-shirts, activewear, enamel pins, and iPhone cases online that are not only fashion forward, but also filled with social activism.
Take a read at our Q&A with Alexandra below and learn more about her badass products by visiting the brand’s website here.
Celeb Secrets: Can you tell us about The Zeitgeist line, and the driving force behind the brand?
Alexandra Chang: “I actually created the blog portion of The Zeitgeist before the clothing line; writing is my first love, and I knew I wanted to incorporate it into my company before anything else. The driving force behind my brand is my curiosity, my love for designing and writing, and learning more about entrepreneurship. I also hope to contribute to something greater than fashion through collaborating with organizations that I deeply care about. I want to inspire young girls to take action and follow their dreams!”
Celeb Secrets: What is the mission you are hoping to get out there through your brand?
AC: “Zeitgeist girls are true champions of others and never take themselves too seriously. Through The Zeitgeist, I want to spread the message that supporting those around you never goes out of style. Also, giving back is one of the most valuable things any person or entrepreneur can do, and we always need to spread compassion. I took a risk when starting The Zeitgeist, and I hope my brand can serve as a small source of inspiration for young people to take a chance on something they’re passionate about.”
Celeb Secrets: How would you explain your process from turning your design dreams into reality?
AC: “I spend a few hours every day after school communicating with my manufacturing team to ensure we’re on schedule and always using sustainable materials. I have two different manufacturers, and they help me get from Point A to Point B. On the weekends, I spend a large chunk of time dreaming up new designs, all of which I create myself. The creative process really relaxes me, and I love it.”
Celeb Secrets: Have you gotten any helpful advice along the way that really sticks with you?
AC: “The best piece of advice I have ever received is to take your ideas seriously, but never take yourself too seriously. It’s also important to surround yourself with other entrepreneurs and ask tons of questions. You could read a book about how to start a business, but having coffee with someone who actually started their own business and achieved success is far more useful. Always be honest with people, be kind to everyone, and never take anything personally. Finally, read and understand an agreement before you sign it, and if you don’t understand it fully, ask someone you trust to help you.”
Celeb Secrets: What inspires the slogans and messages that you share on your clothing?
AC: “Everything! I’m constantly paying attention to what people are discussing around me, whether it’s at school, at home, or somewhere abroad. Many of my designs revolve around humor and social activism, both of which I think we need more of in our current political climate.”
Celeb Secrets:What has been the most exciting moment putting your pieces out there?
AC: “By far the most rewarding part of starting The Zeitgeist has been receiving letters from my readers and followers on social media. A teenage girl from Iowa emailed me a few weeks ago saying that The Zeitgeist inspired her to start writing more, and it made me so happy. I also received an incredibly thoughtful note from an aspiring designer who sent me photos of her products and wanted to hear my thoughts. Another fun aspect of putting my products out there is seeing people I really respect with pieces from my collection, such as Kaia Gerber and Yara Shahidi. They’re both smart, kind, forward-thinking girls, who also happen to have a great sense of style.”
Celeb Secrets: Has there ever been a surreal moment where a celeb was spotted wearing something, or where you encountered someone in public wearing a design?
AC: “This may sound random, but seeing a woman at the airport wearing The Suzanne Tee was crazy! I was in a different city, we didn’t know each other, and she just got on the plane wearing the shirt. As for celebs, definitely Yara Shahidi–she wore The Chloe Tee, which benefits Planned Parenthood. The shirt itself says: “Alternative Fact Checker,” and I felt honored when I saw her wearing it on social media. I really admire her passion for social activism, and she is a true Zeitgeist girl.”
Celeb Secrets: In a dream universe, who would you love to see wearing one of your pieces?
AC: “Ruth Bader Ginsburg, aka The Notorious RBG! She’s my ultimate inspiration.”
Celeb Secrets: Can you tell us about how you give back to charitable initiatives supporting organizations like the Girl Up foundation and Humane Society?
AC: “Many of the shirts and accessories I design have a charitable component. I love GirlUp’s mission of empowering women and girls all over the globe through education. Going to an all-girls high school, I am aware of the need for girls to have access to education and job opportunities so they can become financially independent. As for The Humane Society, I’ve been active with the organization for many years and volunteer there whenever I can. All of my dogs have been rescued from there and The Humane Society holds a special place in my heart.”
Celeb Secrets: What advice would you share with other young entrepreneurs who don’t know where to get started with their ideas?
AC: “Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs, ask tons of questions, and reach out to people who inspire you.”
Celeb Secrets: For Celeb Secrets, would you be able to share a fun secret, perhaps about the behind-the-scenes of your design process?
AC: “A secret about the design process is that I keep all of my earliest samples, drawings, and concepts in case I want to reflect back on them at a later point. In a few years, I also just think it’ll be fun to see what some of my earliest ideas were.”