Aaron Chang is an avid and very talented illustrator of Ivy style. I can’t recall when or how I first discovered Aaron’s work, but I firmly recall two things: I’d never seen “Ivy style art” before, and I absolutely adored his illustration style. I followed his account immediately, and eagerly refreshed my feed daily to see his new work, which I almost always screenshotted and added to my outfit inspiration folder. As a non-American Ivy style fan myself, one similarity I felt with Aaron was this idea of discovering the style later in life, and as a foreign concept rather than a domestic one. I reached out to Chang and he was more than happy to oblige with an interview for Ivy-Style.com. — BRAD EWIN
Brad Ewin is an Australian-born and London-based writer who, despite his best efforts, can’t help but keep coming back to everything preppy.
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IS: To start off, why don’t you tell readers a little about yourself?
AC: I’m 34 years old and was born and raised in Korea. I’ve been a brand designer for the past 10 years, and started doing Ivy style illustrations as a hobby about 11 months ago.
IS: Where did your interest in the style come from?
AC: I’ve always liked clothes. When I was studying at university, Scott Schumann’s blog The Sartorialist was a big trend. I was also just a big fan of him generally. So back at that time there was a while where I always wore a tie and got into photography. Pitti Uomo was another reason for my interest in fashion; the street shots you see from them are fantastic. Then there were just a few personal fashion role models of mine: Nick Wooster and Takahiro Kinoshita, particularly. Their personal styles resonated with me. I wanted to be like them. But I can’t answer this question without mentioning Take Ivy. As I began to explore fashion photography and fashion history more, I came across it and just became a big fan of the Ivy League Look. I consider it the basis of menswear.
IS: Your Instagram account started as a photo showcase of your outfits. What made you want to show them off?
AC: It’s fun to dress up. I wanted to start recording the clothes I wore every day, as well be kind of a fashion influencer, so I began posting those photos on Instagram. But there’s a lot of work that goes into taking those pictures. Eventually I had to stop. Work was busy, and there were just other things in my daily life I needed to spend my time on.
IS: What made you decide to transition to posting your drawings?
AC: Like most people do when they have been working for a long time, I started thinking about what’s next for me. Asking myself questions like how long will I be able to do this work? and is this what I want to do for the rest of my career? I like to think what if I live to 100 years old? I’d have only lived one-third of my life. I don’t want to work for all of those remaining 70 years. So what do I want to do next? What do I want to be doing a few years from now? I started drawing. Being an illustrator felt like the best fit for my future lifestyle.
IS: Where do you get inspiration for your drawings?
AC: Instagram, Pinterest, and my own closet. I often draw my own outfits or the style that I like to wear.
IS: Which brands are currently producing your favorite stuff?
AC: These days I’ve been eyeing Rowing Blazers. If they were in Korea, I would have bought it all. I very much like Drake’s too, but it’s quite expensive.
IS: What about more historic brands?
AC: Brooks Brothers, J. Press, and Ralph Lauren. For individual pieces, I love Barbour’s waxed jackets, Lavenham quilted jackets, and the Baracuta G9.
IS: What are your favorite pieces in your wardrobe right now?
AC: White buttondown oxford shirts. I have about 10 and wear them almost daily. I like wearing the combination of a white shirt, navy jacket and gray pants. That’s my favorite kind of outfit at the moment.
IS: And what’s your least favorite aspect of this style?
AC: I don’t like focusing too much on a specific university: you know, the specific patterns and symbols of Harvard or Yale or something. It looks too much like a uniform. I prefer the style to be understated, relaxed, and interesting.
IS: Other than your regular posting on Instagram, what other art projects are you working on right now?
AC: There are some brands I’m collaborating with, doing some character work with logos, t-shirts, things like that. There’s a lot of work available, actually, but I’m not drawing for the money, so I don’t take every opportunity. I don’t want to be busy and rushed; I’d rather draw slowly and steadily.