Alexander Wang (designer)
|Education||Parsons School of Design|
Alexander Wang (born December 26, 1983) is an American fashion designer. Wang began his Alexander Wang fashion brand in 2005 and came to prominence after being awarded the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2008. From November 2012 through July 2015, Wang was creative director at Balenciaga. Wang is known for his urban-inspired designs and use of black.
Early life and education
Wang was born on December 26, 1983 to Taiwanese parents in San Francisco, California, where he was raised with his brother Dennis. Despite speculation, Wang has noted that he does not speak Mandarin Chinese. He is unrelated to Vera Wang.
Wang attended elementary and middle school at the Harker School in San Jose, California. He spent ninth grade as a boarding student at the Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, California. Subsequently, Wang attended and graduated from the Drew School in San Francisco. At 15 years old, Wang took part in a summer design program at Central Saint Martins.
2005–2012: Early career
In 2005, after two years at Parsons, Wang decided to pursue the launch of his own fashion label, which began with a predominantly knitwear collection. In Fall 2007, Wang presented a complete women's ready-to-wear collection on the New York catwalk for the first time, to critical acclaim. He won the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2008, an honor accompanied by a $20,000 award to expand one's business. That same year, he launched his first handbag collection.
After designing a Fall 2008 collection using black as the predominant color, he designed his Spring 2009 collection using bright colors such as orange, dusty purple, aqua and hot pink. Following this, he reverted to using mainly black fabrics.
Wang's first flagship store opened in SoHo, Lower Manhattan, on February 17, 2011. Some have noted that Wang has helped to rejuvenate an otherwise dissolving area into fashion's Lower Manhattan epicenter.
2012–present: Balenciaga and return to eponymous brand
Women's Wear Daily reported on November 30, 2012 that Wang had been named creative director at Balenciaga after Nicolas Ghesquière's departure from the French design house. As the creative director, Wang would oversee the women's and men's ready-to-wear and accessories lines. His debut Fall–Winter 2013 Balenciaga collection was shown in February 2013 at the Balenciaga salons in Paris at 10 avenue George V.
On April 12, 2014, Wang announced that he would be creating a collection for Swedish-based fashion retailer H&M. The collection was available at H&M stores and online November 6, 2014. The collaboration included pieces for both men and women, as well as a selection of accessories.
Kering issued a press release on July 31, 2015, announcing that Wang was leaving Balenciaga by mutual consent.
In 2016, Wang became the CEO and chairman of the Wang brand, succeeding his mother, Ying Wang, and sister-in-law, Aimee Wang. Later that year, he was awarded $90 million in damages after successfully suing over 45 defendants operating 459 websites that sold counterfeit goods bearing the brand name, although the reward was mostly symbolic, as neither Wang nor the brand were likely to ever receive the amount. Wang hosted a 2016 New York Fashion Week show.
Awards and recognition
Wang was the winner of the 2008 Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)/Vogue Fashion Fund Award. In 2009, he was recognized by his peers when he was announced as the winner of the Swarovski Womenswear Designer of the Year. Later that same year he was the recipient of the Swiss Textiles Award. Wang was celebrated again in 2010 with another Swarovski Designer of the Year Award, this time in the Accessory category. In 2011, GQ US acknowledged Wang as the Best Menswear Designer of the Year. That same year he also won the CFDA's Best Accessory Designer award.
In October 2013, Wang was honored with the 'Fashion Star' awarded by Fashion Group International. The award was presented to Wang by Hamish Bowles, European Editor-at-Large of Vogue US. In 2017, Wang was named one of HypeBeast's HB100, their top 100 influencers in the industry.
In February 2012, a lawsuit was filed against Wang, claiming that his company violated New York State labor laws, and that employees were mistreated. The 31 plaintiffs sought $50 million for each of nine charges, a total of $450 million. One of the workers, Wenyu Lu, claimed that he was "hospitalized for several days after he passed out at his work station because he was forced to work 25 hours straight without a break". Lu claimed that the 200-square-foot (19 m2) office on Broadway was windowless and poorly ventilated, and that workers were being forced to work 16 hours or more without overtime or breaks; Lu's lawyer, Ming Hai, claimed that Lu was eventually fired on February 16 due to complaints about working conditions and applying for workers' compensation. A second worker, Flor Duante, also stated that she was fired after filing for workers' compensation, and that she had worked 90-hour weeks at Wang's factory.
On August 14, 2012, WWD reported that the lawsuit had been dismissed, with a spokesman for Wang stating that "We are gratified that this matter has been dismissed, as the allegations were unfounded and completely false". However, it was reported that both parties had agreed to a settlement with undisclosed terms.
Sexual assault allegations
Fashion industry whistleblower account DietPrada and modeling industry watchdog account Shit Model Management published posts on Instagram on December 29, 2020, compiling accusations made on social media (TikTok, Twitter and Instagram) by people who said Wang sexually assaulted them.
Social media scrutiny ensued when male model Owen Mooney came forward, describing a 2017 incident where he was groped by Wang in a packed New York City nightclub, which was later reposted by Shit Model Management, leading others to come forward with similar stories. The posts amplified previous allegations from others such as New York-based DJ Nick Ward, who publicly accused Wang of groping him in a nightclub in 2017. Some claimed to have witnessed a victim being drugged by Wang, or being slipped ecstasy or other drugs themselves without their knowledge. There were also repeat allegations of victims, including several trans women, being groped or having their bodies or genitals exposed by Wang. On December 31, 2020, Wang's representatives released a statement to various media outlets, with the designer denying all accusations of sexual assault and that he intended to "hold accountable whoever is responsible for originating these claims and viciously spreading them online." On January 1, 2021, The Guardian published other alleged accounts of sexual assault incidents from others, including transgender model and actor Gia Garison. On January 4, 2021, Wang issued an updated statement thanking those who had stood by him, while also assuring that he would "remain honest and transparent" throughout the investigation into the claims. The same day it was reported that Lisa Bloom would represent alleged victims of Wang.
Wang is gay and an avid supporter of the LGBTQ community. In 2018, Wang partnered with Trojan to release a limited-edition "Protect Your Wang" capsule collection in support of the LGBTQ community and to celebrate Pride.
Wang is additionally well known for his party-going persona, having thrown a number of star-studded parties, such as a party thrown at a gas station in 2009 to celebrate his Spring 2010 collection, a party in 2019 to celebrate Wang's Bulgari x Alexander Wang collection, and parties held for New York Fashion Week.
Wang currently resides in New York City, with a number of residences in New York state, including in Westchester County and Chelsea.
- Chinese people in New York City
- LGBT culture in New York City
- List of LGBT people from New York City
- Taiwanese people in New York City
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Wang also more or less dismissed rumors that his Chinese connections helped him get the job. A few outlets have reported that Wang speaks Mandarin and that his parents are somehow involved in garment manufacturing in China. Both of those reports are untrue, according to Wang, who tells Menkes he can barely order a bowl of rice in the language. "It's a false background," he said, "My family had no experience in garment production." Hopefully Balenciaga isn't surprised by this news (hey, we all lie on our resumés, right?).
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- "'My First Gay Bar': Rachel Maddow, Andy Cohen and Others Share Their Coming-Out Stories". The New York Times. June 22, 2016. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
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