Alexander Wang‘s name has become so prevalent that many forget his humble beginnings breaking into fashion, from dropping out of Parsons to launch his line without much experience prior. But with his meteoric rise and reputation, fashion’s wunderkind has undeniably sparked inspiration, and it seems that Wang can do no wrong. Although it may seem that he was struck with a huge lucky streak, Wang’s success was earned and deserved. Fresh off of leaving his creative director post at Balenciaga, Wang speaks to DAZED about how to make it in the notoriously cut throat industry, with some wise words for aspiring designers or editors. Click through to DAZED for the entire article.
“I always get really awkward or nervous when schools ask me to come and speak because everyone’s like, ‘How did you do it?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, I left!’ Everyone has their own way of learning or adapting to how to achieve their goals and sometimes school plays a very big part in that. For me, unfortunately, I tried it and it didn’t work out. Life organically took a different course and I think the most important thing is you have to have clarity in what you want and secondly, you have to take a risk. If you just kind of sit there and let things happen to you, then you’re just going to take the course that everyone else takes. That’s how life is. I spent a semester here in London at Central Saint Martins before I went to Parsons and it was intense. You worked that one idea to the bone. And it’s great, but you know, everyone has to decide what they want out of it. Some people just want to create a beautiful show or a beautiful collection. In my opinion, if they want to continue, they need to find a way to sustain it, but I can only speak from my own experience.
Internships are super valuable. When I left Parsons I was doing an internship and working in retail. Interning taught me how the industry worked and retail taught me how the market worked. I was at Marc Jacobs first and then I did Teen Vogue and Vogue. We’re not in an industry where we’re isolated, and the editorial side taught me how magazines view designers or get certain things, and about price points, advertisers, all those politics that people don’t necessarily think about. I think a lot of people know that Anna Wintour has been a big supporter but at the very beginning of my internship it was an editor named Gloria Baume at Teen Vogue who pushed me to start the line. She was the first one I even expressed my idea and the price point to. Teen Vogue had just started and Camilla Nickerson was pulled over from Vogue to do a special story for them. I was working in the fashion closet and she wanted to call in all these beautiful things, but the price point meant Teen Vogue couldn’t shoot them so she was getting very frustrated. That really triggered something in my head as well.