Article Dec 22, 2016

You are no longer passing

Alexander Wang encourages designers to study retail

Alexander Wang believes fashion designers should have a solid understanding of retail.

The Taiwanese-American designer attended Parsons School of Design in New York before unveiling his first complete women’s ready-to-wear collection in 2007.

Wang quickly built up a reputation through his urban designs and use of dark colors, though he cites working in retail at the Barneys New York and interning at Marc Jacobs while he was a student as critical to his success.

“Everyone has a different way of learning and adapting for an environment. (School) just wasn’t for me,” he told the audience at his Fashion Icons talk with Fern Mallis, according to WWD. “Retail, editorial and from the creative side, you have to get it from all the angles.”

The 32-year-old added that working for Jacobs was a great experience, as it was his time with the New York-based designer where he really learned to multitask. He recalls that it was “all hands on deck” prior to any runway show, as Jacobs has a “very specific” way of working.

“He works on the collection and a lot of his creative ideas come toward the end. It’s an amazing energy in the office. People get very excited by his energy and his ideas. They go all-in,” he explained.

Wang also described how he had a nearly overwhelming workload when balancing designing for his eponymous line and working as a creative director for Balenciaga, which he joined after Nicolas Ghesquiere's departure. He had worked at the Paris-based house from 2013 until July last year (15), when he parted ways with the brand on mutual terms.

"I would fly Sunday night, get to Paris at 6am, go to the office at 9 and work until 8 (pm) Monday through Friday. Then I’d take the red-eye back on Friday, have dinner with my friends (in New York) and do it all again two or three weeks later. It was pretty crazy…,” said Wang.