Nationality: Native Californian, born and raised in San Francisco, Chinese-American heritage
Labels: Alexander Wang (2007 Womenswear), T by Alexander Wang (2009 Menswear)
Followers: Meghan Fox, Mary-Kate Olsen, Nicole Richie, Gwyneth Paltrow
Collaborations: Alexander Wang for Keds (Fall 2008), Alexander Wang for Uniqlo, capsule collection (May 2008)
“As for the new Alexander Wang vibe, it’s all about a certain urban, nonchalant cool. Or, as the designer likes to say, it’s about the ‘M.O.D.,’ or Model Off-Duty.” — The New York Times style magazine
Five years ago the name Alexander Wang wouldn’t have had the power to catch the attention of any designer, fashion high-flyers or any other name to do with fashion, yet today, almost half a decade after the launch of his womenswear label ‘Alexander Wang’, Wang is fully ingrained in the fibres of fashion’s rich world, respected and recognised by designers and fashionistas alike.
A Parsons School of Design dropout, Wang took his blueprint for a casual, clean, urban street style based look and started up his label in 2004 with his brother and sister-in-law who between them had no fashion business experience or education. The non-standard casual look of a high fashion label proved a hit, selling in two hundred stores on the launch of his full collection in 2007. A year later, Wang received the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America)/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2008, an honour that came with an added bonus of $20,000 to expand his fashion business and the priceless gift of a mentor, no other than womenswear designer ‘Diane Von Furstenberg’.
Wang’s bold t-shirt chic ethos has captured the attention of fashion hungry celebrities such as Meghan Fox, Mary-Kate Olsen, Nicole Richie and Gwyneth Paltrow, to name a few, and has also gained him several awards including the 2009 CFDA Swarovski Womenswear Designer of the Year, the 2009 Swiss Textiles Award, the 2010 Swarovski Designer of the Year Award for Accessories and has been nominated a second time for the Womenswear Designer of the Year CFDA award (2010), competing against Mark Jacobs and Donna Karen.
Preferring to spend his downtime relaxing with his close friends by watching TV, going to the cinema or eating in a ‘hole in the wall restaurant’, his relaxed lifestyle choices are reflected in his design ethos, stating that “Anyone can get all dressed up and glamorous, but it is how people dress in their off days, that is the most intriguing”. Both labels, ‘Alexander Wang’ and ‘T’, experiment with tailoring and cut, providing refined silhouettes which stand out against the typical Wang subtle monotone pallet of dusty whites, slate greys and charcoal blacks, epitomising the sleek urban casual look of the label- think walking down a recently paved, newly built futuristic modern New York City high street with all its impurities and pollution stripped away, yet to be littered, smeared or polluted by the onslaught of human presence.
Wang describes himself as being different to most designers, who feel the need to “set sail on an exotic getaway to get inspired”, taking inspiration instead from everyday events and objects in life: “on my walk to work, or sitting in the subway…seeing something random or out of context.”
With the launch of his first NYC flagship store due to open at the end of this year, things in the world of Alexander Wang don’t seem to show any signs of slowing down for the twenty six year old designer, and he’s not worried: “I think of predicting what’s going to come next. But, in part, that’s what I love about fashion. Anything can happen. The next day, everything can change, so it really keeps you on your toes. You always need to be paying attention.”
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