Exclusive interview with SSENSE.
Having started his eponymous brand in his 20s and working for Balenciaga as their Creative director, the 33-year-old native San Franciscan is currently one of the most outstanding American luxury designers.
ALL BLACK EVERYTHING
When most us think of Alexander Wang as a brand, the first thing that comes to our minds is an all-black outfit. Obviously, it is not something that the creative designer invented, but looking back at his Fall/Winter 2017 collection recently presented at NYFW, it is safe to say that it is his signature style. In an interview with SSENSE, Wang said:
”For me, I don’t know if it’s about comfort or attitude, but I’m naturally attracted to something with a bit of an edge, or something that feels dangerous or ominous. Even in my lifestyle.”
Wang said that he wanted to hire Demna Gvasalia as one of his design directors.
”I remember he was super talented. I loved his look, and he had a super fresh perspective. We were always very friendly, and when I found out he got the job I was really excited for him and I texted him.”
Wang does not necessarily associate with luxury and it kind of stifles him.
”I think more in terms of: Does it look well-made? Does it look expensive? Does it look high-quality? That’s my checklist as opposed to: Does it look like luxury?”
DEFINING BRANDS BY PRICE POINTS
Wang does not want to define his brand by its price point.
”When I started they categorized you by price point. For me, it was really this idea that I wanted to be a brand that encapsulated a wardrobe for my customer, in that she could buy a $50 t-shirt from our store, then buy a $50,000 dress, and it could still be the same customer. ”
THE REAL AUDIENCE
The designer said that he prefers to read comments on his social media more than reviews because he thinks that they are his real audience.
”They are the ones who look for us on Instagram or Twitter and click to follow us. Whereas sometimes if you’re reading a magazine or a newspaper, you’re reading all the reviews and you happen to read mine because this journal has written about me. And maybe this journalist has never bought a piece of my clothing. I care about what our followers have to say versus what someone who is just working in the industry has to say.”
WHAT IS NEXT?
It will be all about building a lifestyle brand.
”I’ve always remarked that Ralph Lauren is someone I feel incredibly inspired by because it’s not just clothes, shoes, bags, etc. You enter his world, and you can see it and you can feel it without even a logo. And that’s something. We can be a brand that’s known beyond a bag or a shoe or a collection.”
”Obviously, the big opportunity is digital. I feel that today there still is not a single lifestyle brand that operates like a tech company. There’s a lot of fashion brands doing technical things, but actually operating like a tech company is something very different. Having the functionality, the speed, and the service. We now have a huge opportunity to really experiment in that space.”
LIFESTYLE BRAND vs TECH COMPANY
When asked about what it is like to have a lifestyle brand that operates like a tech company, Alexander Wang compared it to being a creative director for a brand like Amazon.
”But is there a lifestyle brand that’s selling a whole range of things direct-to-consumer like that? So, that’s where my focus is.”
You can read the full interview and see the behind the scene images on SSENSE.