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.
Since 1981 Yeohlee has established her fashion house, YEOHLEE, and has been winning the hearts of fashion patrons everywhere. With exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and a feature in ” Fashion Felt” at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (limited time only: March 9,2009-September 7, 2009) Yeohlee has been recognized as an important figure in fashion history.
Teng attended Parsons School of Design after moving to New York from Malaysia. She coined the term “urban nomad” for her Fall 1997 collection, which means a lifestyle that requires clothing that works on a variety of practical and psychological levels.
Named as one of fashions most powerful people by Business Week, Yeohlee uses fabrics and materials to her advantage; for that she is called a master of design management. With the use of cotton blends that resist spills, she makes fabulously draped, elegant clothing. The materials inspire the shapes and styles making her clothes have a sense of purpose that is practical and functional in addition to looking amazing. Like me, she believes in seasonless clothes because of its efficiency to the wearer. Yeohlee shows that she not only tends to the design of the clothing but the concept, the details of the fabric and the use of each piece of clothing in her collections to relay a message.
In 2007, Yeohlee told Forbes.com that she designs her collection with the idea that in the future when the world is destroyed and there are no machines to make clothes, her designs are what clothes will look like. Her designs reach outside the fashion world and reflect problems in the Middle East, rising gas prices, poor stock markets, and the horrible environmental outlook of the world. Teng has a lot of opinions about the world and the people in it. She advices people to change the way they live by adding a bit of thinking and conservation which she believes will go a long way.
The accomplishments of Yeohlee Teng have soared. She has written books such as Yeohlee Teng Sees Parallels in Fashion and Architecture, in addition to winning awards such as the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award in 2004. Additionally she has had exhibitions at the Galleria Museum in Paris and London’s Victoria & Albert in 2000 and at New York’s Museum at FIT in 2001 and at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2005.
Yeohlee is also a self proclaimed Fashion Week Neophyte, according to Elle Magazine. She arrives to shows on time ( also known as 40 minutes early), turns off her phone, and obeys all the rules of the fashion shows ( including the one that says no drinking in the runway, also known as “Ms. Teng, please throw away you freshly brought, $4 soy latte”).
After doing 7 shows and 2 presentations, Yeohlee has learned that one can actually look at a book and judge it by its cover. By looking at the clothing and behavior of those in attendance at a fashion show, you can get the gist of what you are going to see prancing down the runway. Yeohlee’s show was no exception to that rule, the people at her show dressed classic and elegant where not there to be seen but merely to appreciate the art that Ms. Teng is trying to convey. The crowd was quietly attentive to Yeohlee’s pieces and drew no unnecessary attention to themselves leaving the focus on the clothing, which is completely opposite to what is seen in Bryant Park. This perfect audience supported her perfectly executed designs at her show.
Teng shows how different she is from other designers by not buying into the idea of muses (The recent feature of the May Vogue issue), seasons, or habitual actions. She doesn’t want to take the same path everyday or the same path as everyone else, she claims this is why it would be very hard to stalk her. It is obvious she loves what she does and she works hard to make sure the women she designs for loves what she does as well.
Yeohlee has an amazing collection for Autumn/winter 2009-2010. One thing that makes it particularly special is that she had zero waste, meaning every inch of material was used and not one scrap was wasted. Talk about getting hip with the times. She uses a method called counting, cutting the material into triangles, rectangles and squares to make different garments. She is a technical wizard who has an unwavering commitment to the environment and its conservation. How many other designers can say they do the same? Yeohlee’s simply colored dimply designed pieces are secretly intricate and fascinating. She designs with the fabrics as if they are apart of the design team where her roll is to style the fabrics and the fabrics drape themselves beautifully and just “do their thing” to create harmonious designs .
Her pieces start at about $299 and are sold at major department stores such as Saks and Bergdorf’s. Her practical designs are loved by major celebs such as our beloved Merryl Streep. She makes clothing with the women and her daily needs in mind. She wants to eliminate the hustle, hassle and fuss that women go through daily with their clothing and accessories and so far, she has gotten the job done.
Let’s End with two of Yeohlee’s quotes that I believe completely sum up her line and her line’s concept.
“Clothes have magic. Their geometry forms shapes that can lend a wearer power”