Alexander Wang (designer)
|Born||1983 (age 36–37)|
|Education||Parsons School of Design|
Alexander Wang (born 26 December 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 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.
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 the Drew School in San Francisco. At fifteen 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. In the meantime he has reverted to using mainly black fabrics, and is often praised for exhibiting outstanding tailoring skills.
Alexander 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
On November 30, 2012, Women's Wear Daily reported that Wang has been named Creative Director at Balenciaga after Nicolas Ghesquière departed from the French house. As Creative Director for Balenciaga, Alexander Wang would oversee the Women's and Men's ready-to-wear and accessories lines. His debut Fall-Winter 2013 Balenciaga collection took place in February 2013, at the historic Balenciaga salons located at 10 avenue George V, Paris, 75008.
On April 13, 2014, it was announced that Alexander Wang would be the next designer to create a collection for Swedish-based fashion retailer H&M. The collection was available at H&M stores and online November 6, 2014. The collection with H&M included pieces for both men and women, as well as a selection of his famed accessories.
On July 31, 2015, Kering issued a press release announcing that Wang will leave 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 its name, although the reward is mostly symbolic, as neither Wang nor the brand will likely 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.
On March 5, 2012, the New York Post reported a $50 million lawsuit against Wang for running a sweatshop in Chinatown, Manhattan. The article stated that roughly 30 workers have complained about the labor conditions Wang provides. According to Women's Wear Daily (WWD) the plaintiffs involved in the suit are asking for $50 million per charge, adding up to $450 million for the 9 charges in total.
One of the workers, Wenyu Lu claims 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 claims that the 200 square foot office on Broadway is windowless and poorly ventilated and that workers have been forced to work 16 hours or more without overtime or breaks. The former worker's lawyer, Ming Hai, claims that Lu was eventually fired on February 16 due to complaints about working conditions and applying for workers' compensation.
On August 14, 2012, WWD reported that the lawsuit had been dismissed. “We are gratified that this matter has been dismissed, as the allegations were unfounded and completely false," a spokesman for Wang told WWD. Lawyers for former Wang employees Flor Duarte and Wenyu Lu declined to comment. However, it was reported that both parties had agreed to a settlement with undisclosed terms.
Alexander Wang is an open 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.
While Wang is associated with sportswear, he is not athletic and has never played sports.
- Chinese people in New York City
- LGBT culture in New York City
- List of LGBTQ people from New York City
- Taiwanese people in New York City
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- "ALEXANDER WANG SAYS HE DOESN'T SPEAK MANDARIN, IS 'DOING SOMETHING QUITE DIFFERENT' AT BALENCIAGA". Fashionista.
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?).
- "Alumnus Wang Named to Forbes 30 Under 30: Art & Design for Award-Winning Lifestyle Brand". Retrieved December 20, 2011.
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- "Alexander Wang Fall 2008 Ready-to-Wear Collection". Style.com. Archived from the original on May 10, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
- Mistry, Meenal (September 6, 2008). "Alexander Wang Spring 2009 Ready-to-Wear Collection". Style.com. Archived from the original on March 12, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
- Mistry, Meenal (February 14, 2009). "Alexander Wang Fall 2009 Ready-to-Wear Collection". Style.com. Archived from the original on March 12, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
- "Stevenson School: Back Porch 2013.02: Courage". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2013-11-13.
- Grinspan, Izzy (February 14, 2011). "Alexander Wang's Soho Store Opens This Thursday, February 17". Racked NY.
- Wilson, Cintra (March 1, 2011). "Alexander Wang's Store Opens in SoHo". The New York Times.
- Socha, Miles. "Alexander Wang to Take Reins at Balenciaga". WWD.
- "Alexander Wang For H&M – New Collection Collaboration (Vogue.co.uk)". Vogue UK.
- "Alexander Wang's Bittersweet Legal Award (Vogue.co.uk)". Vogue UK.
- Smith, Trevor (September 11, 2016). "Tinashe, MetroBoomin, Big Sean, and Tyga headline fashion show". Hotnewhiphop. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
- "Alexander Wang wins 2009 Swiss Textiles Award". The Independent. London. November 13, 2009. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
- "HB100 2017 | HYPEBEAST". HYPEBEAST. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
- Carrega, Christina (March 5, 2012). "$50M suit alleges designer Alexander Wang runs Chinatown sweatshop". nypost.com. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
- Pinson, Laurel. "Update: Alexander Wang Denies '"Sweatshop" Lawsuit Allegations". nbcnewyork.com. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
- Cowles, Charlotte. "Alexander Wang Sued for Running Alleged 'Sweatshop' in Chinatown". nymag.com. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
- "Alexander Wang Lawsuit Settled, Dismissed Quietly". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- "'My First Gay Bar': Rachel Maddow, Andy Cohen and Others Share Their Coming-Out Stories". The New York Times. Atlanta. June 22, 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- "Pride 2018: Alexander Wang sends a powerful message about sexual health in the LGBT community". The New York Times. Atlanta. June 26, 2018. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- "10 Things You Didn't Know About Alexander Wang". The Fashion Spot. Atlanta. May 15, 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
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