The designer is synonymous with the tribes of musicians he enlists to wear his collections – we walk into Wang’s world on his latest adventure
What do M.I.A., G-Dragon, Alice Glass, Beth Ditto, CL and Die Antwoord all have in common? All of them have collaborated with Alexander Wang, the designer you’re just as likely to catch at GHE20G0TH1K as at a New York fashion show.
Wang’s love affair with music is a passionate one, but hardly secret – in recent years he’s been namedropped on tracks by Jay Z and Kanye, helped rap queen Missy Elliott stage a comeback and made an appearance in a Madonna video. He’s a designer who isn’t just a designer. So who better to launch the Apple Music fashion channel than the ultimate crossover king? Here, we step into Wang’s world to find out about the musicians and the influences that help him weave his magic.
ON WHERE HIS OBSESSION WITH MUSIC CAME FROM
“My earliest influences when it comes to music were probably my brother and my sister. During the 80s, they really introduced me to a lot of bands like of The Heatwaves, but also Depeche Mode, The Cure, New Order. I remember seeing my sister go to concerts and being dressed up as Madonna, wearing thigh-high purple lace boots. I feel like those were probably my earliest influences.”
WHY HE INCLUDES MUSICIANS IN HIS CREATIVE VISION
“I always like to feel that I’m speaking to an audience that’s not just a part of the fashion industry. Even when we do our videos, sometimes they have very little to do with fashion, actually and I think it’s much more about connecting with your audience and building different emotions – whether it’s humour or irony, or other things.
“Everyone is their own brand today, whether it's Kanye or Rihanna or Travi$ Scott or whoever. Whether they have a clothing line, what their Instagram account looks like, all of that speaks to who they are as a brand – who they collaborate with is like a curated thing.”
HOW HE PICKED HIS SS16 #WANGSQUAD CAMPAIGN STARS
“I wanted something special, working with people that I either had close working relationships with or that I felt very connected to. That was the starting point so obviously there was a lot of models that I’d cast before. And then there were musicians like CL and Travi$ who I’ve always been a big fan of and work with all the time. I felt that it was a great chance to bring different profiles together to create something really organic. It was just going to their homes or going to their local bodega. I think people can really see in the pictures that, whether they were laughing or partying, they were just having a good time and we were just there to be observers of a candid moment.”
ON ENLISTING GRIMES, KATE MOSS, THE WEEKND + MORE
“It was such a huge honour to have the people that we had be a part of it. It was our ten year anniversary, so we wanted to collaborate with an organisation that was really about giving back and Do Something was perfect in the sense that it really encourages youths to just go out there and follow their dreams. I knew I wanted to work with a lot of different types of musicians, or actors, or comedians, or models that each represented something very different and individual or had a story that was very unique to themselves, so that they would connect to a much larger audience and people felt like it wasn’t so insular or just for a fashion ad, you know what I mean? I wanted it to feel very democratic and inclusive and that’s why we actually worked with a lot of different types of people, different sizes, different races.”
“I wanted it to feel very democratic and inclusive and that’s why we actually worked with a lot of different types of people, different sizes, different races.” – Alexander Wang
ON HIS LOVE FOR ALICE GLASS
“First and foremost, I’m such a huge fan of her her music and who she is, and she’s such a beautiful girl. She’s very introverted and shy but when she performs she’s a completely different person. There’s something that I adore about her, and I love that she’s not everywhere. She does things that feel very right for her and I think that means a lot to musicians today too. When they have an integrity about themselves, they partner and collaborate with the people that they feel connected to, or a brand that they do think is right for them and their own persona. So I’ve been very lucky to be able to work with her and she's definitely inspiring. She’s never walked up a catwalk before and she was so open to it – I was so honoured to have her do that.”
This article was created in collaboration with Apple Music