June 26, 2009
Firstly, I want to say RIP Michael Jackson. You will be missed by many. 😦
” Anyone can get all dressed up and glamorous, but it is how people dress on their off days that [is] the most intriguing. It’s these in between, wayward days when a person’s true style emerges from their everyday life, forming the basis of Alexander Wang’s collection…” This quote from his website is what drew me to write about him. After thinking about it, this is so true. I see people all the time that look so nice when we go to dinner or have a party, but when we go to class or chill on the weekend, they look like a completely different person. Good thing Alexander Wang makes clothing that introduces an urban chic ideas to clothing. He believes that a t-shirt and jeans can be as sexy as an evening gown. He believes in mixing street with luxe which is a growing trend of today.
How did he get started you ask? In a very similar way to all of the fashion greats. He is a California boy, born and raised in San-Fran. to a Chinese American family. At the tender age of 18 he moved to the Big Apple to go to Parsons School of Design. There, you guessed it, he had many internships. He said his goal was to get an internship with Marc Jacobs, and BAM, he got it. And from then on he was sailing through the industry. He interned for Vogue and Derek Lam as well and said he was truly inspired by his small set up.
Two years into Parson’s in 2005 he was already designing his premier collection which was mostly knits. He focused his collection around eighties hip hop and seventies Parisian chic, mixing Run DMC and YSL, which was an uncommon mix. He created his label with business help from his sister in and law and mother who in the beginning, who knew nothing about fashion.
With dreams of having a lifestyle brand, he wanted to start with the manageable knitwear. He truly worked his way up from the bottom. He knew his collection was fabulous because when he took it an editor at Teen Vogue, she said it was great. However, he didn’t jump into trying to get his pieces in Saks or Nordys, he started by simply selling his line to stores in San Francisco. There, the pieces sold out within days. Next stop, a trade show, there, they were struck with success. An amazing 80 stores picked up his line, stores such as Barneys and Bendel. BeeTeeDubs (by the way) those stores are the holy lands for fashion designers everywhere and Alex has taken them by storm at the age of 20.
His look, called that of the lower east side, was described as gritty and edgy. Girls near and far flock for his clothing because of its accessibility and savvy. His elegant spin on hoodies and T Shirts make his line irresistible to on-the-go/ trendy women in their 20’s and 30’s who want to look fabulous while going for a coffee run. Those type of things are his inspiration, things that people do not usually pay attention to. His muse for example is his close friend Erin Wasson, model and stylist who embodies his signature style of ” model off duty.”
Wang’s story continues to get more and more interesting. Word is, he doesn’t even have any external investors other then his family, isn’t that fabulous. What is even more fabulous is all his accomplishments in the form of awards. In 2008 , Alex won the Vogue/CFDA Fund which he was given $20,000 to expand his line and he did just that by adding a whole accessories line in 2008. Most importantly, the Fund winner was given the prize of Dian Von Furstenberg as his mentor, which is priceless. (the runners up would be mentored by Kate spade, Patrick Robinson, and Andrew Rosen which as also fabulous prizes.) In 2009 he was the winner of the CFDA Swarovski womenswear Designer of the year.
Wang has gotten so popular that he has even been solicited to revive a lot of falling clothing companies. He has been chosen to collaborate with Gap( Hitting stores June 16, 2009), Keds(fall of 08), and Uniqlo (May 2008). Additionally he has supported Project Blue, a shop-for-charity initiative that benefits the clean-water advocacy group Oceana, by designing clothing from old donated denim. That clothing was then to be auctioned off on Ebay.
With all his success, he doesn’t let all the hype get to him. He remains humbled as his line’s popularity literally sky rockets overnight. People like Anna Wintour and Sarah Jessica Parker sit front row at his shows, those shows that have lines that stretch for blocks. Regardless, he still works hard and strives to prove people wrong who think he is too young to produce quality, renowned clothing; I think he is doing a great job.
From cutting patterns as a young teenager to being revered by huge names in fashion and entertainment such as Anna Wintour, Dree, and Rihanna— all before he is 25. While the awards and praise keep pouring in, Alex continues to impress the fashion world with his creativity and vision. He is a particularly awesome choice for my blog because I, one day, want to design clothes with the idea of luxe and street mixed together. I consider him as one of my main inspirations.