Alexander Wang Idolizes Ralph Lauren And Other Things We Learned From His 'WWD Six' Interview
It's the dawn of a new era, with formerly daily fashion trade WWD going weekly with its publication schedule. The indomitable Alexander Wang is one of the "WWD Six" designers on the mag's new cover, since he is leading the current charge for fashion. Wang was appointed to TIME's 100 Most Influential list and even Jay Z drops his name in his lyrics, so the designer has plenty of currency in pop culture and is well recognized outside of his chosen field.
Wang, with his role at Balenciaga, his eponymous line, his recent denim range, and his futuristic and dystopian H&M capsule collection, is the fashion world's darling at this point, and rightfully so.
We know he loves to work with a black palette and to wear the hue himself. That's why I personally gravitate towards his pieces. We know his pebbled leather Rockie bags are already iconic. We know he is revered by young, fresh fashionistas.
But what don't we know?
Well, his WWD feature revealed plenty of intriguing things about how he approaches his business, which designer he has mad respect for, how that whole denim thing worked out for him, and his unique perspective on what luxury is for him.
These are the five key points that Wang made in his interview and that made me understand, love, and respect him even more.
Wang is always considerate of point of view, saying, "In fashion, unless you have something individual to say, there’s no point. You’re just going to follow someone else." So simple, yet so true.
2. Ralph, Ralph, Ralph
Wang cites Ralph Lauren as the gold standard, since the brand is able to walk the tightrope between upscale and mass market price points and it does so fearlessly without a net. Wang told WWD, "He does luxury, but you can buy a polo shirt at Costco." Bulk cereal and RL polos in one store — that's American reality, even if it's not high fashion. Still, Wang salutes Lauren's influence on American style, saying, "I don’t think anyone else depicts that vision better than he can."
3. Skater Boy
Wang doesn't only revere Ralph Lauren. He also looks to Supreme, a skate brand, since it doesn't have fans as much as it has disciples. "They camp out for days," Wang said about the customer base. Wang inspires the same sort of devotion.
4. The Denim Experiment
Even though department stores advised Wang against tackling the denim category, using "It's not a good time" as their excuse, Wang forged ahead and the gamble worked out in his favor. The range sold out, no doubt assisted by the pleasure principle aka the sexualized ads of model Anna Ewers wearing a pair.
5. Luxury Is...
Wang's take on luxury, the world in which he traffics? It represents status, exclusivity, and craftsmanship, but he can't get down with any ensuing pretense. Instead, he distills his definitive Alexander Wang-ness into the concept, "I think I can extract certain elements of what it means to be a high-level designer luxury brand and deliver it on a different type of platform that I’m excited by," he told WWD. One needn't look further than his Alexander Wang T diffusion line for evidence of his luxe basics.
This interview certainly provides a keyhole look into A. Wang's fashion brain. He is truly perched atop fashion's food chain.
Images: WWD (1); Getty Images (5)