Alexander Wang's designs are often referred to using the descriptor of cool, and there's little doubt that the talented designer's work is, in fact, cool. However, in a recent Wall Street Journal Magazine interview, Alexander Wang revealed he doesn't like the word cool, especially when it comes to his clothing. Wang, however, uses his seeming distaste to look deeper inside of people's opinions— and reviews— to figure out what drives that label.
Many artists are advised not to read their own reviews. That advice didn't really seem to stick with Wang. "I won’t lie, I read some [runway reviews]...But I’ve told my team now, 'Just don’t send me anything.' I feel like I want to be able to focus. I feel like the real reviews are the sell-throughs, to be honest," Wang explained when he sat down with WSJ Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Kristina O'Neill and interior designer Ryan Korban. If sell-through is a measure of success for Wang, then he's got no issues on that front. Wang's highly anticipated collaboration with H+M crashed the retailer's website a full ten minutes before the clothes even went live!
Seeing as Wang's retail success is based on public love of his creations, you'd think the designer would be perfectly accepting of his ascribed aesthetic of "too cool for school." But Wang has a complicated relationship with that moniker explaining:
"I like to not think about that word. I know it's the easy go-to word, but I like to try think about it in other types of contexts or strip it away a little more and say, 'Okay, what is it about the clothes or the environment or the ambiance that makes people think that?'"
It's the designer's willingness to dig deeper into what makes his brand special that gives him an edge. Wang takes the uniqueness associated with his designs and reconceptualizes it only furthering his already distinct style.
Perhaps that's why Wang was chosen as the creative director of Balenciaga— a job that he originally turned down. Wang works tirelessly to continue the legacy created by Balenciaga, a brand that's been in existence since the 1900s. While the task may have seemed daunting, the designer was given free reign when he began working for the iconic fashion house. Wang explains, "He [CEO François-Henri Pinault] really didn’t give me any kind of directive, he just said 'I know you can do the job.' And that was it." Clearly, he knew what he was talking about. Wang's Balenciaga ads are absolutely stunning.
Despite his unease at being known for his cool design aesthetic, Wang continues to craft and create some of the most chic choices in the fashion world. Whether he's designing for Balenciaga, creating accessible and affordable fashion with H+M, or turning down other famous designers, the soon to be icon is clearly in control of his style and what it means for him.
Images: Getty (2)