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Permanent · London

After leaving the fashion week calendar, Alexander Wang feels “liberated”

Translated by
Isabelle Crossley
Sep 20, 2019
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3 minutes
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Showing his eponymous brand’s collections outside of the traditional fashion week schedule has given an intimate touch to Alexander Wang’s collections and collaboration with Bulgari. The American designer feels “liberated” and at ease in the fashion world as it continues to reinvent itself.

Alexander Wang launched his brand in 2005, at the age of 22. Photo: Kena Betancur / AFP

Long touted as New York’s fashion prodigy and holding his first ever runway show at 23, Alexander Wang is now a household name and his brand will celebrate its 15th birthday next year. “I take my work seriously but I don’t take myself seriously,” Wang told AFP with a smile. “It’s crazy how it all went so fast. I still feel like every day is my first.”

Since 2018, the Californian born to Taiwanese parents has stopped showing his collections during the official fashion week calendar and presents them instead in June and December. This is Wang’s way of questioning the relevance of runway shows and set seasons in fashion.

“I feel truly liberated,” said Wang, “enthusiastic that our industry changes so quickly,” while others get anxious. “It pushes you to get out of your comfort zone and try new things,” said the 35 year-old designer, who still appears youthful. “There’s no longer just one answer and that’s fine… being disruptive is now accepted.”

Wang has also recently given us a new take on luxury with his collaboration with Bulgari as luxury continues to evolve to remain relevant. “Ten years ago it might have been more surprising,” said Wang. “But today, it’s conceivable that two different brands will work together.”

Wang has created a limited edition line of handbags for the Italian jeweller Bulgari, which has gradually expanded its product categories to include watches, accessories, and hotels. The exclusive line launches on September 23. For the collection, Wang has reinterpreted Bulgari’s Serpenti snake head motif which has adorned one of Bulgari’s handbag lines since 2012. 

During a trip to Rome, Wang looked through Bulgari’s archives and found a new version of the serpent’s head and reference for the emblem which “triggered something” in his own inspiration, the sinful woman. Wang has created “inter-generational” bags that are also practical, with more pockets and and multiple ways to wear them. 

“The purpose of a collaboration,” said Wang, “is to create something new and to make people see two identities come together,” with, “a story that resonates with people, that it is not just a furtive collaboration that people will forget in a week, a month, or a year.”

As a pioneer of the reinvention of sportswear, which has flooded the fashion market up to Europe’s biggest names in luxury, Wang has crystallised his vision of mixing influences from street fashion and haute couture. “There is recognition for other brands that there are other ways of dressing and other ways of talking about design that did not exist before,” said Wang.

Wang said that he feeds off the collaborations that he has taken part in, with Bulgari as well as with Adidas and Uniqlo, to help him develop his own brand. “I’m not the type to shut myself away in my room, design for a week, then release everything,” said Wang about the importance of communication. “I like conversations and dialogue to get direct feedback.”

Since he has stopped showing collections during the traditional Fashion Week calendar, Wang has returned to his roots to create collections that are more personal. “For the last three collections I tried to show more of my current state of mind,” said Wang, completely understanding millennials’ appetite for brands that embody values. “Every day I post the question to my team, what are we trying to say?”


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