Big Favorite: Clark Chung, Founder of November 19
Posted by Eleanor Turner
Interview by Jessica Schiffer
Clark Chung of November 19: Founder, Curator, and Designer
Claim-to-Fame: Founder of The November 19 Shop in Manhattan
Relationship to TBF: Was TBF Founder, Eleanor's boss at J.Crew
Bio: Clark launched November 19 in 2016; a destination for beautifully crafted home and lifestyle goods. The market is curated with goods from around the world and selected based on design, quality, and functionality. They believe that daily tools can carry a history and can be inspiring. Prior to November 19, Clark spent a decade in fashion, designing for J.Crew and Calvin Klein.
What excites you about The Big Favorite? I've always been a big fan of El's. Now, she's offering an innovative twist on products that people need -- everyone wears underwear and there's a gap in the market for a recyclable, sustainable choice to the synthetic alternatives that we all know.
"Everyone wears underwear and there's a gap in the market for a recyclable, sustainable choice to the synthetic alternatives that we all know."
Go-to underwear fit: I’m normally a Trunk person, which are basically shorter Boxer Briefs. I also wear undershirts nearly every single day because they keep me cool and protect my outer layers.
Favorite TBF item: Briefs! The first time I put them on I was so impressed with the quality and fit.
How do you handle a wedgie? If I was in public, I would “handle it” discreetly…
What’s your favorite word for butt? Buns. Or better yet, the Peach Emoji.
Undergarment shopping habits? I hate wasting things, so I’ll hold onto a pair for as long as possible. And once they get holes in them, I’ll launder and cut them up to make dish towels or something, to give them a second life.
Have you ever forgotten your underwear? No because I have so many pairs! When I was designing underwear at Calvin, I had more underwear than I knew what to do with.
Favorite thing about TBF understuff?
A. Comfort/Great Fit
B. Softness/Pima Cotton
C. Inventiveness/Designing for Recyclability
D. Participating in a circular clothing system/environmental impact
*E. ALL OF THE ABOVE
Let's Go Deep:
What role does the environment play in your shopping choices?
During my time in fashion, I saw firsthand how much waste the fashion industry creates. Not only that, but in my opinion there is so much random stuff out there nowadays -- so many choices, so many products, most of which are not built to be sustainable. Everything in my shop is sourced by local artists, or small batch artisans, and is never mass-produced. If I find a vintage kimono in a Japanese antique market, I’ll feature it in my shop and it will be a meaningful, one-of-a-kind experience for someone. There needs to be more thoughtfulness out there, for business and consumers alike.
What do you want your legacy to be? What are you doing to make an impact?
I want to be a platform for discovery and appreciation. To spread beauty from around the world through handmade, curated, high-quality items. I want people to discover new cultures and art through November 19, appreciating art and the artists behind it.
"I hope one day people don’t buy things just so they “have stuff”. Instead, I hope people will truly value what they buy."
What future do you rally around?
I hope one day people don’t buy things just so they “have stuff”. Instead, I hope people will truly value what they buy. That involves questioning where your products come from, knowing their worth, and making your own ethical decisions on where you spend your money. I think one day we will get there.