ALEX ANDER WANG
Table of Contents 1 4
About Alexander Get to know the basics Alexander Wang himself a little more
Ladder to Success
See how Alexander has evolved as a successful designer
Hear what Alexander has to say about what inspires him to his success
Get to know Alexander and who he was before he knew he was a designer
Read all about Alexander's first store, the success and some fails
Dedication Turning Into Success Read more on how Alexander turned his success into a lifetime career
Model Aesthetics Read more on how Alexander turned his success into a lifetime career
2 | Alexander Wang
Who? Alexander Wang is a Taiwanese American fashion designer and the former creative director of Balenciaga. At age 19, he moved to New York City to attend Parsons School of Design. In 2005, after two years at Parsons, he decided to pursue the launch of his own fashion label, which predominantly began with a knitwear collection. In Fall 2007, Wang presented a complete women’s ready-to-wear collection on the New York catwalk for the first time, to critical acclaim. He won the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2008, an honor accompanied by a $20,000 award to expand one’s business.
Wang’s foray into fashion began after he dropped out of the Parsons School of Design in 2004 to start his own label, initially creating a knitwear collection based on six unisex silhouettes. Wang was supported in his venture by his family: his brother is chief financial advisor, his sister-in-law acts as chief principal officer, and the designer was also able to utilise family connections tosource production from China. His label soon evolved into a sleek, but fully realised women’s ready-to-wear collection; Wang debuted his first runway collection for Autumn/ Winter 2007 at New York Fashion Week.Previously, Wang was
appointed creative director of Balenciaga in December 2012, succeeding Nicolas Ghesquière at the storied French house. In July 2015, it was announced that Balenciaga and Kering decided not to renew the American designer’s contract.Wang’s first Balenciaga runway show for Autumn/Winter 2013 was positively received, despite having faced scepticism about his ability to fill Nicolas Ghesquière’s shoes. Alexander Wang is creative director of the eponymous label he launched in 2005, aged 21. In June 2016, Wang added the roles of chief executive and chairman to his official list of responsibilities. He replaces his sister-in-law Aimie Wang as chief executive, and his mother Ying Wang as chairwoman. He will also continue as the creative director of his eponymous brand
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Recognized by his peers when he was anounced as the winner of the Swarovski Womenswear
GQ U.S. acknowledged Wang as the Best Menswear Designer of the Year
Awarded Designer of the Year
Wang launched his full women’s collection
Won the 2008 Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)Vogue Fashion Fund Award
2010 Remembrance of winning the award in 2008, in an article entitled “The Aluminati”
Alexander Wang would be the next designer to create a collection for Swedish based fashion retailer H&M
In 2016, he has been awarded $90 million in damages after successfully suing over 45 defendants operating 459 websites that sold counterfeit goods
Women’s Wear Daily reported that Wang has been named Creative Director at Balenciaga
Kering issued a press release announcing that Wang will leave Balenciaga by mutual consent
ALEXANDER WANG REFLECTS ON A DECADE IN THE FASHION SPOTLIGHT By Bridget Foley // September 23, 2015
LADDER OF SUCCESS
Ten years in business. What does the milestone mean to you?
Can you articulate the single biggest lesson of the past 10 years?
I can’t believe 10 years have gone by. I remember, just like yesterday. I was in my dorm room having this idea, talking about it over the phone with my mom, flying back to San Francisco and having my sister-in-law [Aimie Wang, chief executive officer at the company] being like, “I’m in between jobs. Why don’t I help you?”…It’s really been from the first day, working together and doing everything ourselves to now, today, having whole teams and people that we work with, and collaborations. It’s really been much less about me and much more about the brand as an organization and people all working together to create something together. I feel like that’s really been the biggest difference today.
Never feel like you’ve figured it out completely. Every single time I feel like, OK we’ve got that under our belt or it’s going to be exactly like that, something always changes, someone always cancels, someone pulls out. Whether it’s in sales, in press, building a store, whatever it may be, you always have to be prepared for change and for something to go wrong.
You’re very young to have a 10th anniversary. The perception is that you were an instant success. Really, not a lot of people paid so much attention to what we were doing until we had our first presentation show. So we had a couple of seasons under our belt to kind of say OK, we’ll figure out what a line sheet was, how to get our deliveries on track, find the right showroom. So there were obstacles.
You’re considered a master of social media. Talk about your strategy. If I was just talking to my friend, what kind of images would I want to send, what kind of tone would I want the conversation to have? We launched [on] Instagram right before the H&M collaboration was announced. I’ve always loved when people text me the address of a party an hour or two hours before; you kind of feel like everyone’s waiting around for that address and you find it and you want to go. I was like, why don’t we launch this announcement with Instagram? I said, you guys announce a party, we’ll announce a party on our end and then people will arrive and realize it’s the same venue and that will be the announcement.
ERVIEW When you started you often talked about your customer being the off-duty model. In the beginning, you’re 21….You throw out words; you don’t know how to speak to journalists or press or editors or buyers and so you just say things, and sometimes they’re very outrageous…. Today, it’s less dictated by what her profession is or his profession, the age range, where they’re from. It’s much more about the sensibility of not having to be confined by a stereotype or one thing…everyone wants to be a little bit of everything. I think fashion allows you today to really be a part of a lot of different things.
As a designer you may want to address that totality, but you have to have a point of view. How do you reconcile the two? I like to think of my girl as someone who really has a less precious way of approaching fashion. She enjoys it, she loves it, but she really takes things and places them out of context. She doesn’t poke fun at fashion but she likes to have fun with it.
Who are your fashion icons? If you ask me who’s really kind of been someone that I’ve looked up to I’d probably point to Ralph [Lauren]. He’s built the biggest lifestyle brand in the world. The way that he creates an environment, an experience, a lifestyle. You know, when you see an image it doesn’t even have to have his name on it and people know that it’s a Ralph Lauren image…I think when you have that much conviction in what you stand for and the people around you can answer things for you before you’ve already made the decision, that means you know you’ve made your point.
The single biggest surprise? My agility to move on. Whenever I feel like the worst thing has happened and something didn’t go as I thought it would go, I always feel [bad], like, you know. But the next day, the show’s got to move on. I feel like I really surprise myself on being able to move on when things don’t go the way that you perceive.
8 | Alexander Wang
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Early Life Born in San Francisco, California, to Taiwanese-American parents, Alexander Wang went to summer design programs at OTIS and Central Saint Martins. Wang attended elementary and middle school at the Harker School. He went to boarding school in Pebble Beach, CA at Stevenson School for ninth grade. During the latter part of his teenage years, he lived in San Francisco and attended the Drew School for high school. Wang became downtown New York’s prince of cool by elevating streetwear staples—nonchalant sweaters, slouchy denim—with a high-goth (and highly commercial) sensibility. Impressive as his rise has been—not quite a decade after launching his line as a capsule knitwear collection, he now has 23 stores worldwide, with annual sales estimated at just over $100 million—there were concerns about how his insouciant aethetic would translate into the more rigid,
ALEXANDER WANG’S BRAND IS RUN ENTIRELY BY HIS FAMILY
precision-oriented universe of European couture. “It was kind of annoying, because the minute I got this job, I was suddenly reduced to someone who just made T-shirts and jeans,” says Wang, who dropped out of the New SchWool’s Parsons School of Design at 21. “I knew exactly what people would say, and my attitude was: I’m not going to respond, I’m not going to give interviews. What I’m going to do is prove them wrong.” Wang’s meteoric ascent through fashion’s rank and file hails him not only as the poster boy of fashion’s new establishment, but as one of fashion’s greatest sensations so far this century.
10 | Alexander Wan
First Store Alexander Wang’s first flagship store opened in SoHo, New York on February 17, 2011. Wang has helped to rejuvenate an otherwise dissolving area into Fashion’s east coast epicenter. Vogue. com stated about his Resort 2012 women’s ready to wear collection June 2012; “Although Alexander Wang isn’t designing uniforms for the 2012 Olympics, his phone will likely ring off the hook next time around now that this collection’s out”. “We were inspired by competitive swimmers, cyclists, and girls prepping for marathons,” Wang said at the primary-colored presentation, where perforated track vests, patchwork windbreakers, and utility track pants (accessorized with heeled sneaker-sandals) were skillfully translated for his urban loyalists It was a focused and confident collection from the young designer who disclosed plans to open a two-story flagship in Beijing in 2012. “I never really did sports growing up,” he said of the underlying sensibility that’s been with him since the start. “Maybe that’s why they intrigue me. The technology that goes into that clothing is steps ahead, so it’s always been something I look towards. On November 30, 2012, Women’s Wear Daily reported that Wang has been named Creative Director at Balenciaga
after Nicolas Ghesquière departed from the French house. “As Creative Director for Balenciaga, Alexander Wang oversees the Women’s and Men’s ready-to-wear and accessories lines. His debut Fall-Winter 2013 Balenciaga collection took place in February 2013, at the historic Balenciaga salons located at 10 avenue George V, Paris, 75008. On July 31, 2015, Kering issued a press release announcing that Wang will leave Balenciaga by mutual consent. On April 13, 2014 it was announced that Alexander Wang would be the next designer to create a collection for Swedish based fashion retailer H&M. The collection was available at H&M stores and online November 6, 2014. The collection with H&M included pieces for both men and women, as well as a selection of his famed accessories. The news was unveiled via the designer’s personal Instagram page. In 2016, he has been awarded $90 million in damages after successfully suing over 45 defendants operating 459 websites that sold counterfeit goods bearing its name. He hosts a New York Fashion Week show.
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SPRING 2017 READY TO WEAR
Dedication Alexander Wang now produces both men’s and women’s collections, diffusion line T by Alexander Wang for men and women, footwear, and accessories. In 2011, Wang’s entry into menswear was noted by GQ, who named him Best Menswear Designer. In the same year, he won the CFDA Award for Best Accessory Designer. Wang’s aesthetic remains true throughout his various lines, and has inspired an entire generation of women to dress in his “off duty model” looks. Wang launched his full women’s
collection in 2007; the collections are selling to over 700 stores worldwide, and the brand has 16 stores in 7 countries. He was the winner of the 2008 Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) / Vogue Fashion Fund Award. In the November 2010 issue of Vogue in remembrance of winning the award in 2008, in an article entitled “The Aluminati”. In 2009, he was recognized by his peers when he was announced as the winner of the Swarovski Womenswear Designer
of the Year and in October 2009, he was the recipient of the Swiss Textiles Award. Wang was celebrated again in 2010 with another Swarovski Designer of the Year Award, this time in the Accessory category. In 2011, GQ US acknowledged Wang as the Best Menswear Designer of the Year. The same year he also won the CFDA’ s Best Accessory Designer award. In October 2013, Wang was honored with the ‘Fashion Star’ awarded by Fashion Group International. The award was
presented to Wang by Hamish Bowles, European Edtor-at-Large of Vogue US. Wang’s meteoric ascent through fashion’s rank and file hails him not only as the poster boy of fashion’s new establishment, but as one of fashion’s greatest sensations so far this century.
The New York-based high contemporary label founded by Alexander Wang is known for its â€œoff-duty modelâ€? aesthetics.
COLOPHON Book designed by Betsy Garwood. Fall 2016. Graphic Design I. Instructor Jillian Coorey. Fonts used: Type set in Avenir 9/12, Trade Gothic LT Std, Eloquent JF Pro, and Universe LT std.
Sources: • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Wang_(designer) • http://www.wmagazine.com/fashion/2015/07/alexander-wang-balenciaga-anniversary/ • https://www.businessoffashion.com/community/people/alexander-wang • http://wwd.com/fashion-news/fashion-features/alexander-wang-ten-years-anniversary-interview-10236782/ Images: • W Magazine.com • Vogue.com