Hazine

10.02.2016 - Katherine Koniecki

Designer

STREET RISING

TAKING RISKS AND KEEPING AN OPEN MIND HAVE SPANNED ALEXANDER WANG’S TEN-YEAR LEAP. HIS EPONYMOUS LABEL HOLDS TRUE TO HIS WORD WITH AN INCUMBENT SENSE OF DIRECTION THAT LEVITATES THE STREETS.

His design expression spurs from his take on the commercialization of fine art, a way of thinking which he has nailed on both counts of athletic technology fused forms alongside the luxury textile proposition that have come to define Alexander Wang’s robustly identifiable aesthetic. Character building is a tandem pursuit with each of his collections and dual design leaps have been in the cards during the designer’s three year tenure as Creative Director at Balenciaga, a position he stepped away from in 2015 to return full attention back to his own label. Wang may throw in the word irony when speaking about his collections in line with, “linear” and “easy”, which clash intuitively within the context that makes polar forces attract throughout his brand DNA.

CONCRETE BUILD BRAND

Sportswear has been a huge factor in the convergence of the Alexander Wang name. Among influencers, he cites James Jebbia, founder of streetwear movement Supreme, as someone he admires and as such Wang’s personal taste connects as a creator who assimilates the wearer with the clan. The Wang clan has hit the streets with fierce strides and the brand holds an insurmountable attitude that is tucked between the seams. Wang’s collection conception stay palatable to the customer, often by virtue of a simple start such as the color white, which then evolves into reworked tailoring, and further yet into specialty leather complexities. Simple solids have been a strong base for the brand and the T by Alexander Wang division of his label fuses a diehard love for luxury basics. The striking fur hammock that hangs as the centrepiece in the New York flagship at 103 Grand St., plays an equally important thread in the brand’s image evolution. Newer additives like the custom designed Moleskin notebook which Wang adds to his collaborative branches reinforce the innate functional luxury constitution.

DREAM TEAM

His pillars of success have been built up on a wholly owned family business since his brand launch in 2004. Fresh out of Parsons School of Design with only six knitwear pieces under his label, his sister in law jumped in as CEO, his brother as CPO, and his mother to oversee the business structure and operations, a strong mix which has augmented Alexander Wang’s business value beyond sales alone. For the native Californian, New York Fashion Week is a chaotic whirlwind forged for the most part by a close knit group of friends from his school days and many of them are close collaborators. His best friend and model Erin Wasson styled the shows during the brand’s early days, which packed a potent punch that aligned Wang’s cool downtown grunge.

BALENCIAGA MOVES

2012 was a big year for Wang following Nicolas Ghesquière’s exit from Balenciaga. Called in as the luxury house’s new Creative Director, Wang’s endemic styling would be the next to fit high craft. His debut fall/winter 2013 collection was on the hot seat as the most anticipated show that season and Wang delivered an iconographic homage to digging through the archive. Monolithic references permeated with a tribute to the highly sculpted forward moving silhouettes that Ghesquière had established. Intermixed as the debut collection focal points, Wang’s dual Paris-New York residencies were met with the amped challenge of buffering Balenciaga couture through his personally infused street-tech imprint. The move was an equally important one for the designer as far as learning about collection product categories, an experience which he brought back to his brand anatomy when he stepped down from Balenciaga in 2015 to redirect his full attention back to his own brand.

REINFORCING THE FOUNDATION

Imagination rings forth his sharp commercial sense and black has always been an important element of Alexander Wang’s textured designs which fuse tailoring with tough cuts, jersey, knits and leather. Past seasons have included regimented tailored banker uniforms fused with the spirit of gypsy roamers, a combination that brings truth to Wang’s design adaptability. Fall/winter 2015 put Japanese gothic Lolitas on the line in sharp tailoring that dove deeper into subcultures and raised the streets a little bit higher. Vision as a pivotal element to Alexander Wang’s namesake, consistently pushes growth and design lines that keep the brand acclimatized with the air of highly respected rebellion.

Short Facts

Trademark

His street and sport influences are an unmistakeable part of Alexander Wang’s codes. Fusing tech with various jerseys, knits and leathers, a textured black palette has come to denote the brand’s signature.

Distinctiveness

There is a toughness of form that comes with the Alexander Wang brand. Built up from a streetwear influence, Wang has often said that the brand presents a sense of irony as far as merging lines and fabrics that clash in contrast.

Awards and Recognition

Shortly after graduating from Parsons School of Design, Wang received the Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund in 2008. In 2009, he was awarded the Swarovski Womenswear Designer of the Year award followed by the Swiss Textiles Award. Shortly after launching his menswear line in 2011, GQ named him Best Menswear Designer, followed by a subsequent win by the Vogue/CFDA Award for Best Accessory Designer later that year.

Alexander Wang backstage, Spring/Summer 2016

Timeline

1983 - Born

Alexander Wang is born on December 26 in San Franicsco, California.

2002 - New School

At 19, he moved to New York City to attend Parsons School of Design.

2004 - Line Launch

Wang launches his label, first as a six piece knitwear collection.

2007 - Runway

Alexander Wang's women's Fall/Winter Ready-to-Wear collection walks the first runway at New York Fashion Week.

2009 - T

Alexander Wang launches his basics line T by Alexander Wang.

2011 - Hommes

Wang diffuses his collection into menswear. In the same year, his first flagship store opens in New York.

2012 - Big Moves

It is announced that Alexander Wang will follow Nicolas Ghesquière as the new Creative Director at Balenciaga.

2014 – Masses

Alexander Wang jumps into a collaboration with H&M.

2015 - Ten

Alexander Wang celebrates his ten year anniversary in September 2015. He steps down form Balenciaga in the same year with the intention to redirect his focus to his own brand.

2016 - Production Shift

With a new brand positioning focus from contemporary to designer, much of Alexander Wang's production will shift from Asia to Italy, Portugal and Turkey. 2016 will also bring about new developments in the brand’s beauty and fragrance lines.

Photo:

© Imaxtree, Alexander Wang

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