Alexander Wang's Home Run

After one of the most high-profile shows of New York, Wang takes a breather and catches up with Dazed about his Americana-infused collection.

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The hype machine can make or break a designer and in the case of Alexander Wang, it has done him a tantamount of good, with his show now established as one of the firm hot tickets on the New York schedule and a rising generation of fashionistas (partiularly evident on the scores of fashion blogs singing his praise) waiting with baited breath to see what he has come up with. They probably would have liked it all the same, if he showed up with a collection that was a repetition of what he has been known for in the last few seasons; namely elements like studs, leather and black. That Wang took a turn and headed towards the direction of subverting American sportswear and classic pieces goes to show that he's not about to rest on his zippered and ripped up laurels and that his aesthetic as a designer can evolve over time. After Wang's show, he was of course inundated with press, so we all took a breather and sat down with Wang a few days later to talk about his fanbase, and of course sports.

Dazed Digital: What did you want to achieve this collection in relation to the last one?
Alexander Wang: I think it's always about expanding the language of what people are used to seeingl. We really made our stamp on the body conscious, zipper, studded. For me, it's about giving our girl something else to be excited about and to take her into different areas. That was the starting point. Not to say that she's lost that completely but to expand her horizons. I really wanted to think about classic American sportswear, and the idea of things feeling a bit more timeless with history behind it; like the classic trench coat, the army parka or things to do with Americana - being outdoors, camping, uniforms, boyscouts.
There were also fencing references, rugby, basically a lot of athleticism. You can see the touches of inspiration but it's all still real clothes. It's not re-inventing the wheel, it's still a jacket, a top, a pants that you can easily incorporate into your wardrobe.

DD: Obviously football played into it quite a bit. Did you actually play?
Alexander Wang: No I didn't! Part of my inspirations lie in things I'm not so familiar with and also things I am familiar with and it's a dichotomy between the two and not being restricted by what you know.  

DD: How do you feel about that aforementioned aesthetic of studs, leather etc being filtered down into the mainstream?
Alexander Wang: Yeah definitely! It's not a bad thing that people take it and make it their own whether it is by me or by whoever. In order to evolve and grow and to be a designers that's constantly relevant, you have to keep a challenging yourself into what's different and what's new.

DD: Was that related to the bigger venue at Pier 94?
Alexander Wang: We always try to find a place to make it our home. This venue enabled us to do whatever we want to and if you notice we didn't fill it up even though it's so big. It wasn't about going into a bigger location so we could pack the house. It's always about keeping the vision and we wanted people there to be people who really understand the clothes.

DD: You get labelled as New York's fashion wonderkid - how do you feel about these labels? Do you feel more pressure because of it?
Alexander Wang: Not really! Everyone needs to find their labels and especially for the press to create stories. It's not something I'm complaining about but it's not something that affects the way that I design. It's not like, "Oh we have to do this, we have to do that" and at the end of the day reviews are reviews. Everyone's going to have opinions but we do what we want to do.

DD: Why do you think that you, in particular have captured this style moment that has won you such a hardcore fanbase?
Alexander Wang: I'm so honoured by it all! Maybe it's my age that I have this closer connection to the next generation of how information is communicated. It's something that's very new! If you look at bloggers, they are very much in my age range. Maybe there's something in my collection, a point of view I'm offering that they see something that there that they can relate to.

DD: What else are you expanding into?
Alexander Wang: For men's we've just launched the T line for S/S 10 as well as sunglasses with Linda Farrow. There's an expansion for women's T line too as we're including bottoms for the first time.
Australian Merino Wool was a big part of the collection. Especially in the fabrication of the pieces like in the bonded lining of the trenchcoat pieces or the wooly texture of the football shoulder dresses (the sheer chiffon flowing from the cropped sweaters was inspired by Cher from Clueless)

DD: If you could sum up your collection in one word or with one emotion running through it, what would it be?
Alexander Wang: I never feel like my collection is just one thing or one word as there are so many elements!
Hmmm.... I'd like it to be classic in a way.
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