My Interview with Alexander Wang


26-year-old Alexander Wang has been conquering the high fashion world since his first eponymous collection in 2007. Born and raised in San Francisco, the wunderkind moved to New York City at the age of 18 to try his hand at designing clothes. He attended Parsons School of Design for two years and interned with Mark Jacobs.

WangFactorWang has become well-known for his M.O.D.,modeloffdutylook. He says: „Anyone can get all dressed up and glamourous, but it is how people dress in their off days, that is the most intriguing.“
With a growing fan crowd embracing his modern approach to dressing, he has taken the industry by storm.

The bag collection was launched in 2008, followed by the diffusion line T by Alexander Wang and shoes in 2009. Wang has created already many signature It-pieces like the cat’s eye sunglasses spotted first on Lady Gaga or the bottom-studded Rocco bag, Mary–Kate Olsen was frequently seen.

He is the recipient of the VOGUE/CFDA Fashion Fund in 2009 as the Swarovski Womenswear Designer of the Year, celebrated again in 2010 with another Swarovski Designer of the Year Award (this time in the Accessory category). 
Last year he won the Swiss Textiles Award. As a culmination of this year’s gala, the king of sexed-up streetwear cool showed his surprising S/S 2011 collection, seen before on the New York runway.
The colour range went from all-white to ivory, mint, curry and terracotta. Deconstructed looks, coverall straps, stiff canvas covered with paint spots and industrial materials like Tyvek played an important role. Rose gold stripes reminding of duct tape and white paint in the models’ hair finally evoke the theme of carpenters.


I was very lucky to meet Alex in person and do an interview with him. Enjoy his answers and the photos of his S/S 2011 show in Zurich!
Photos: Image Gate © 2010 Getty Images


You are back in Switzerland again. How do you like it here?

Unfortunately, I haven’t been out that much. Hopefully I will see more. I was pretty busy. This time, I am enjoying it not to be under the pressure to compete.

You received a lot of top honours, among them last year’s Swiss Textiles Award. Those prizes are accompanied by a generous financial support. Did that help you building up your company and gaining even more popularity?

The monetary component is always an advantage but I wouldn’t say it is a priority. I think just the recognition of being in a different market than where we are based, having that awareness and exposure was definitely something that we experienced over the last year. Especially the opportunity and the ressources to work with the Swiss Textiles Foundation gave us the possibility of developing new fabrications for our S/S 2011 collection, that are much more special and expensive. That was definitely the part that I thought was the top advantage of winning the award.


You launched the your first collection in 2007.  Despite the financial worldwide crisis, you were on the rise during those for many people very tough last two years.
After your Wall Street inspired Fall runway, you are trying something new again, something unexpected was seen on the summer catwalk. After the deconstructed bankers there are now deconstructed carpenters…. What is your message?

I want to show the world that they don’t have me all figured out yet. For me, the most important thing is having a very strong point of view that you can evolve.
Every designer has their own method of doing things. This is my way of communicating to my customer and to the industry of what I have to say.

This season, we didn’t show any black on the runway. It wasn’t something that felt too urban. It wasn’t about doing something downtown or New York. I wanted to create something that felt very optimistic, very uplifting and pure, so with print and colour. That was the outcome of my vision.

You are opening your first store in the old Yohji space on Grand street in New York. Will we see more of your own stores in the future? What does your first store mean to you?

Hopefully, there will be more to follow but nothing is planned so far. I really wanted to take the time and do something right that I feel very strong about. A lot of people rush into things very quickly. I can’t say that. We obviously had a lot of growth in the last couple of years but sometimes you really have to take a moment to think what you are doing, to consider the next steps and where you want to expand.
For us, the store has always been the best possibility to really showcase the full brand and its entirety, where you can really control the image. We are opening it in New York next year. It is an intense process and I want to make sure that each and every detail is done correctly to my standards of perfection.


You already did a collaboration with Gap. Can you imagine to do something similiar with H&M, too?

We have done a couple of collaborations in the past. I kind of promised myself to be somehow over collaborations in that sort of sense.
Any collaboration that I will be doing in the future moving forward will have to speak to the brand on a completely different level. It has to be organic. The period of doing high-low collaborations feels over for me, to what it represents to our company. I think anything that we do now has to be something that feels fresh and looks modern.
If we were to do another collaboration, it would have to be definitely different and not with a high street brand.

Let’s take all that a little further. If another long-established fashion house asked you to become their new creative director and you could dream of one, which one would it be?

I don’t know if I could answer that question right now. The opportunity has definitely been there before but I feel that my focus should be on growing my own brand and company. Building something solid is my top priority at the moment.

Wangsters, Wang-ettes, fashion editors come up with all sorts of names for your fan crowd. How does it feel to be the leader of a cult?

I find it very flattering of course that people really dedicate themselves to what we are creating.

I do what I love and I am very thankful for having an audience that really appreciates my work. That is why I am a designer. I create clothes for people that want to wear, buy and live in them.
It is not for my own selfish indulgence, to do something just purely creative. It is about the combination of creativity and yet being commercially buyable, that goes to the stores and makes people desire it.


You are very good friends with Erin Wasson? Would you call her your muse? Who is inspiring you?

Erin is a friend of mine, for sure, but I rarely use the term of muse. I think it is outdated and old-fashioned.
I am inspired by people who work for me that are my family and friends, that I interact with, that I constantly have a communication with.

You went to Parsons for a four-year programme and dropped out after two years to focus on your first collection that was mainly about knitwear and sold to over 200 stores. That is absolutely amazing. Did you have any connections? How did you do that?

(Laughs) There has been the myths that my family owns production facilities. Probably because we are Chinese, people make that association. Other rumors said that we made a big investment. This is all not true.

The brand started off very small with only six styles. It was just that people really responded to the authenticity, to the genuine feeling. When you have someone who really believes in doing something and would do anything to make it happen. Luckily, I had a very big support in terms of a family and I don’t mean just financial.
The people around me encouraged me to keep going. My mum who let me leave school and friends who encouraged me to do what I believed in and not listening so much to what the stores were telling me to do, what the showroom wanted me to do. Saying so what, that is my customer, this is the one I want to design for, that is the one, I want to sell to and this how I want to approach it! And I just stuck with it.

Can describe the Wang factor, the Wang DNA in three words?

I wouldn’t limit it to three words. There is definitely a sense of ease. At the end of the day, it is fashion, it is fun. People need to enjoy it. At a certain point when it is so strict, so controlled, pretentious, I don’t fun with it anymore. And that is not what our brand is about it. It is about individuality, ease and a sense of humour. I always look at it light-heartedly.

I love dressing men and women of all different ages and sizes. I don’t want to dictate how to wear my clothes. I get motivated by how people bring their own approach to my designs.


What do you think of all those fashion blogs? Are they the future?

This is part of a generation discovering a new method of communicating. It is definitely about being more acknowlegdeable of what is around me, my surrounding and how to communicate. It changed the way that fashion functions. I feel very priviledged to be part of this advanced generation.

And I feel very priviledged to have met you. Thanks, Alex, for this lovely interview!

Alexander Wang with me

Alexander Wang with me

It was truly a pleasure to talk to Alexander Wang. He is a very charismatic, energetic person with a very strong vison and full of enthusiasm. On one hand, he seems like the young boy he still is, a little hyper and kind of innocent, on the other side, he is an already experienced business man who goes his own way. This is a very interesting combination and probably his key to success.

LoL, Sandra

Swiss Textiles Award 2010

Last night, the 11th Swiss Textiles Award was presented on the occasion of the first Fashion Days Zurich. The highly acclaimed fashion prize is worth € 100.000.- and talented designers like Jason Wu, Duro Olowu, Adam Kimmel, Juun.J, Damir Doma and Mary Katrantzou were fighting for it.
But there can be only one winner! And this year, it went to the only woman in the competition.
I was very happy to meet all of them and talk about their visions and designs.

Mary Kantratzou with me

Mary Kantratzou with me

The winner Greek-born and London-based Mary Katrantzou was my guess and also my favourite. So I was very happy for her to receive the trophy.


The 27-year-old is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London.


She belongs to a new generation of designers, using digital prints to create extraordinary trompe d’oeil effects. To me, she is creating unique pieces that the fashion world has not seen before, a true innovation! This is her fourth collection. The first was about perfume bottles, the second about artisanal blown glass, the third was inspired by jewels and this time it is all about rooms. Her stunning S/S 2011 interior-inspired collection was already the talk of London Fashion Week


Mary, congratulations, you have absolutely deserved to win. How do you feel at the moment?

Ecstatic! I couldn’t believe it and cried backstage so I think that says it all.

What does the trophy mean to you?

The financial support is amazing at a stage when the business is growing and it’s so important to have that support. I can invest in my company now on a multilevel, taking it to a newer and international level and award the people who have believed in me. It’s a very prestigious prize, it’s a benchmark and a great honour. You just feel you have been acknowledged.

Does your Greek origin influence your designs?

Probably in the concept of the female figure, meaning to design very closely to the body.
Moreover, it is very difficult and time-consuming to place the prints correctly on the clothes in order to flatter the feminine silhouette.

Do you think that your designs are wearable?

Absolutely! I mean the commercial aspect is important, too. I want women to wear my designs instead of hanging them in a museum. You should feel comfortable.
I like to make objects wearable and desirable. It is just my signature look, I don’t want women to feel objectified.

Any hints concerning your next collection for F/W 2011?

It’s a progression of this one, it’s not as thematic and it’s slightly darker. The thing is with my collections,  if I say too much then it will give it away. Like with this collection if I had said ‘rooms’, I would have revealed too much.

How do you like Zurich?

It is my first time and I haven’t been able to properly enjoy it as I was so busy with this show. But yesterday we were very hungry and went to the lake where all these old buildings are located. It was really nice and I love Zurich.

What will you do next?

Going home to my boyfriend and I think drinks will be on the list. (Giggles.)

Where are you going to put your trophy?

Top front in my new studio that we are right in the middle of moving in.

That Mary had to beat off stiff competition from fellow designers can you see below.

Jason Wu with me

Jason Wu with me

Jason Wu was born in Taipeh and moved when he was a child to Vancouver. He studied to be a sculptor and went to Parsons School of Design. His first collection was launched in 2006.


His career kicked off when Michelle Obama supported the young talent by wearing a custom-designed one-shoulder, floor-length white chiffon gown, at the ball on the night of President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Later, she appeared on the cover of the US-Vogue once again in a Wu design, a magenta silk dress.




Today, Wu works in New York. His eye for details and colours is his strong point.
For S/S 2011 he cut out small petals and created beautiful embellishments.

Jason was very sweet and revealed some interesting facts:

My mum always supported me. She bought me a sewing machine at the age of 10 and paid a fashion student to teach me.
My beloved symbol, the owl, was inspired by my last name Wu because if you say it many times in a row, it sounds like it.


Duro Olowu with me

Duro Olowu with me

Born in Lagos and based in London, Duro Olowu went on a quite different career path.  He studied law in England, worked as a lawyer in Nigeria before switching to his first love, fashion. Drawing on the inspirations he found by the unexpected mix of fabrics, textures and draping techniques of the clothing worn by the women of his native land.


He launched his own label in London in October, 2004 which became an instant hit with his use of luxurious fabrics and ecclectic, clashing prints.
Last year, he opened his own boutique in London.

Michelle Obama has supported Duro’s carrer as well, as she has been seen many times in his vibrant styles.


For his S/S 2011 collection, Duro flipped easily back and forth between retro silhouettes and modern bright pop-like references, incorporationg the saturated colours of tribes in Papua New Guinea and the ever present influence of his Nigerian and Jamaican heritage.

I spoke briefly to him and was overwhelmed by his charming positive attitude. His aura reflects the joie de vivre that shows in his collections.

Being proud of his roots, he is a leading example of how you can life your dream and that everything is possible.

Damir with me

Damir Doma with me

Damir Doma is a modern nomade. His collections are inspired by his own way of living.


He was born in Croatia and grew up in the southern part of Germany. Same like me, he studied fashion design at ESMOD (L’ Ecole Supérieure des Arts et techniques de la Mode) in Munich and Berlin. He graduated in 2004 with magna cum laude for the best collection and worked after that in Antwerp for Raf Simons whom he sees as one of the most inspiring designers.

In 2006 he started his label with menswear, followed this year by his first collection for women. He is widely considered the most improtant German fashion designer of his generation.


Damir explained:

I don’t like the body to adapt to the clothes, it should be vice-versa. I love soft materials and flowing volume. I grew up in my mother’s atelier and was playing with fabric starting in my early childhood. That might be the reason why fabrics play such an important role for me.


Adam Kimmel with me

Adam Kimmel with me

Adam Kimmel stands for the American way of life, uniting the worker and the artist. As he states himself; it’s all about giving the industrial style profile by infusing relaxed elegance.


He studied architecture, completed then later an apprenticeship with an Italian samples manufacturer before launching his debut label in 2002.

The New Yorker designer received standing ovations for the presentation of his S/S 2011 collection last night. The usually more quiet Swiss audience cheered from the first moment when the sounds of Snoop Dogg echoed in the hall.

The Snoop looky-likeys paraded down the aisle in a perfect mixture of hip-hop style elements produced in the finest Italian cashmere. I am sure Snoop would love it.


Later at the after party at Moods, Adam told me more:

I saw the Wall Street Journal including something about Snoop Dogg and got immediately inspired to create this collection.

As we could not bring the models to Switzerland, we did a fun street casting in Zurich before to find the best bad boys.


The final show last night was the one of last year’s Swiss Textiles Award 2009 winner Alexander Wang.
Stay tuned as I did a fantastic detailed interview with him which will soon be published here.

LoL, Sandra

Fashion Days Zurich


From November 3 – 6, 2010 Switzerland will be part of the fashion world. After the famous Prêt-à-porter shows in New York, London, Milano and Paris in September/October, there will be now the Fashion Days Zurich. The big difference to the well-known Fashion Weeks will be that customers can buy tickets for most of the events, they are not only for media, buyers and VIPs. The main sponsor Charles Vögele will kick off the FDZ with the opening night on Wednesday.


Thursday morning is much influenced by upcoming Swiss designers. Talents like Redley Exantus, Aluar Balagan, Aleksandra Wisniewska, PortenierRoth and Toujours Toi – Family Affairs are happy to show their creations to a broader audience.


The probably most exciting part of the FDZ will be the 11th Swiss Textiles Award. Already internationally acclaimed names like Adam Kimmel, Jason Wu, Juun.J, Duro Olowu, Mary Katrantzou and Damir Doma will come to the Swiss metropolis to present their S/S 2011 collections in front of a jury. The competition’s best will receive a financial support worth €100.000.-.
Last year’s winner Alexander Wang, who is today one of the most hyped designers, will close the night with his show.


Friday morning will start with the pulsating vibe of the established Swiss designers, among them Heinrich Brambilla, Lela Scherrer, Saro, Kazu Huggler and Tran Hin Phu.


The 7th Annabelle Awards ceremony will be held on Friday evening. The up-and-coming Swiss designer winning the enticing prize, will receive a one-year placement with Kaviar Gauche.

Calida Bodywear and Aubade Lingerie will also show their collections on the catwalk that night.


Saturday morning will start off with kids fashion shows. In the evening, the exciting time will come to an end with two highlights: Guido Maria Kretschmer and Missoni will present their S/S 2011 collections.

For further information or tickets, please visit the Fashion Days Zurich homepage or contact

Let’s turn Zurich into a fashion hotspot!

LoL, Sandra