How Alexander Wang is Using Technology to Transform

From the very get go it seems Alexander Wang has managed to position his brand in an ideal middle ground – somewhere between successfully commercial and culturally defiant. In doing so, Wang has done more than just keep his audience engaged and interested; he has also been keeping fashion editors, executives, and buyers busy, challenging certain unquestioned rules and accepted structures that have loosely defined some core pillars of the fashion industry. From using abandoned warehouses in semi-industrial parts of Harlem and pioneering the move to Brooklyn for his catwalks, to moving away from the traditional – and up until not so long ago, revered – Fashion Week schedule, he has been leading a fair amount of trend-setting changes in the industry and in the craft. Nothing wrong with that, especially when considering the industry in question has been – according to many, now more than ever – somewhat failing to adapt quickly enough to increasingly unpredictable changes driven in big part by a new generation of consumers and rapid advancements in technology.



Alexander Wang at the Web Summit and Sportsfile 2018 conference in Lisbon. Photo: Courtesy of PR.


Taking all of this into consideration, it makes sense then that the organizers of Web Summit, the world’s biggest annual technology conference held in Lisbon, would invite the American fashion designer. Wang spoke not just once but twice during the three-day event. The first sit down was with ORDRE chief executive Simon Lock, and the second, which took place on the main stage to an audience numbering in the thousands, was with international journalist and BBC broadcaster Isabel Hilton. Presented as the perfect example of fashion wunderkind who dropped out of college, started his business, and has been disrupting the fashion industry since, Wang discussed a range of topics. Among other subjects, he spoke of the importance of creativity and storytelling, the effect the digital world has had on his business model, how social media and new technologies have impacted his brand values, and the important changes that are at hand for the brand. Here are some of the things he had to say…


On technology inspiring and facilitating change:

 

“Beyond the story telling, I want to make sure we pay attention to how we look at categories, at distribution, and price points, all of which are rules and parameters that currently are completely shifting. Some of the necessary changes we’re making today might not have been possible before – things like looking at data, how and why we open stores, or even understanding how our consumers shop. This resulted in also being able work on three initiatives this past year, all of which were in the formation of something that could be better adjusted to a digital mindset. A major one, for example, is that we changed our logo from Alexander Wang to one word, all lower case, because that is how people read the name on a website.”



Alexander Wang Spring/Summer 2019 show in New York. Photos: Courtesy of PR.


On the impact of the digital world on his design process:


“There's still a very tactile part to designing. Being able to look at fabric, draping it and seeing what resonates in person versus on a computer screen. Now that we're completely re-platforming our website, building out a product assortment that resonates online versus product assortments that people need to touch and feel in store is something that we need to balance out (…) It's made a lot of advancements in terms of how we look at prints or hardware, which is such a big part of our DNA. Doing things at a much faster pace and speed, those for sure have been influenced by digital advancements.”


On creating a new site and platform for the brand:


“We are definitely at the beginning stages of these developments. Our site and data were owned by a partner prior to this new platform. Acquiring all that was really difficult for us. But this transition will allow us to be closer to our consumer in terms of how they shop, how often they come back to the website, what they are spending on full price products versus off price, what they’re clicking on, how long they are spending on the site or on each item, and how much they are spending on each item.”



Alexander Wang Fall/Winter 2018 show in New York. Photo by Regis Colin Berthelier for NOWFASHION.


On stepping away from NYFW:


“When we looked at our business, I realized that it was about simplifying our process. You know, we were creating ten collections a year, and there was so much start and stop, so much duplication in what we were doing. I just thought “there has got to be a simpler and purer way to go about this.’ One of the decisions we made was removing seasonality. With seasons being irrelevant, being a part of NYFW didn’t fit our business mindset. It became a different parallel for us.”


On the changes of show cadence:


“We wanted to be more in tune with something that was closer to our consumer, and how they shop online which is part of creating our new platform. There is a certain conversion rate from price points, the kind of items we put online in terms of graphics and materials, versus things that are a higher price point or that need to be tried on in stores. We looked at data, comparing products and figuring out what needed to be available online and that could really service our growth potential, and focus on online versus brick and mortar.”



Alexander Wang Spring/Summer 2018 show in New York. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.


On his role in creating a new narrative for the brand:

“I think today, more so than ever, discovering my brand’s purpose beyond just creating beautiful products that I am passionate about is putting my values and my principles first. Now that I reached an audience, and one that I have a strong connection with and who share similar values as mine, I have the opportunity to tell a different story of what an American lifestyle brand can be. It’s about acknowledging that I come from a different background and built this lifestyle brand while training in Europe, and it’s about pushing the boundaries of how fashion and lifestyle are perceived in everyday life. You know, there are things I’ve realized only in my grown up years. My last collection was titled ‘Immigrant Americana’ and it was deeply inspired by my parents’ immigration story, which I only recently began to truly understand, and which I embarrassingly didn’t ask about in my teenage years. I never knew of the details of how my parents came to America and how different my life was than that of my brother and sister, who were born in Taiwan."


SHARE
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
SIMILAR ARTICLES
American Shoppers Stimulate EU Retail
By NOWFASHION
The latest edition of the Planet Shopper Index (PSI) – a quarterly rundown of the top 25 most...
By NOWFASHION
The latest edition of the Planet Shopper Index (PSI) – a quarterly rundown of the top 25 most lucrative source markets for European retailers – reveals that international shopper activity across Europe accelerated in the second quarter of the year, mainly driven by US shopper activity and a...
The latest edition of the Planet Shopper Index (PSI) – a quarterly rundown of the top 25 most lucrative source markets for European retailers – reveals that international shopper activity across Europe accelerated in the second quarter of the year, mainly driven by US shopper activity and a bounce-back of visiting nations’ currencies against the pound and euro.  In fact, a strengthened dollar...
Shanghai FW Kicks Off
By Jing Zhang
Outside of the four major fashion weeks, Shanghai has emerged as one of the most important...
By Jing Zhang
By Jing Zhang
Outside of the four major fashion weeks, Shanghai has emerged as one of the most important fashion hubs in the East. Though the country’s most established names like Masha Ma and Uma Wang prefer to show in Europe, Shanghai Fashion Week provides a platform for young, independent labels such as...
Outside of the four major fashion weeks, Shanghai has emerged as one of the most important fashion hubs in the East. Though the country’s most established names like Masha Ma and Uma Wang prefer to show in Europe, Shanghai Fashion Week provides a platform for young, independent labels such as Xuzhi, Oude Wang, and Shushu/Tong. It's also an occasion for foreign journalists and buyers to discover...
IPOs: Waiting for a Tech Unicorn
By Sofia Celeste
Just over a decade ago, investors with a penchant for luxury goods were reeling over the slew of...
By Sofia Celeste
Just over a decade ago, investors with a penchant for luxury goods were reeling over the slew of IPOs that rocked the markets – family-run businesses like Salvatore Ferragamo and Prada among them, following in the steps of Bulgari and Tod’s.That all changed after the financial crisis. Today,...
Just over a decade ago, investors with a penchant for luxury goods were reeling over the slew of IPOs that rocked the markets – family-run businesses like Salvatore Ferragamo and Prada among them, following in the steps of Bulgari and Tod’s.That all changed after the financial crisis. Today, trade woes, weak EU banks, Italy’s bad debt crisis, and political malaise continue to toss cold water on...
Chanel Unveils 19M
By Jessica Bumpus
It’s been a productive week for Chanel. Not only did the luxury French fashion house strengthen...
By Jessica Bumpus
By Jessica Bumpus
It’s been a productive week for Chanel. Not only did the luxury French fashion house strengthen its portfolio of specialty métiers, it also unveiled 19m: the very building that will become a hub for its Métiers d’Art, set to open next year.Located in the northeast of Paris at Place Skanderbeg,...
It’s been a productive week for Chanel. Not only did the luxury French fashion house strengthen its portfolio of specialty métiers, it also unveiled 19m: the very building that will become a hub for its Métiers d’Art, set to open next year.Located in the northeast of Paris at Place Skanderbeg, the 25,000-square-metre building designed by French architect Rudy Ricciotti will bring together 10...
Digital Influence Dominates
By Elisabeta Tudor
Today, more than ever, social media – and Instagram, more importantly – is undoubtedly the luxury...
By Elisabeta Tudor
By Elisabeta Tudor
Today, more than ever, social media – and Instagram, more importantly – is undoubtedly the luxury industry’s pot of gold waiting at the end of the rainbow. And Heuritech, a Paris-based company, intends to turn this pot of gold into valuable nuggets of market data.  In fact, the company just...
Today, more than ever, social media – and Instagram, more importantly – is undoubtedly the luxury industry’s pot of gold waiting at the end of the rainbow. And Heuritech, a Paris-based company, intends to turn this pot of gold into valuable nuggets of market data.  In fact, the company just released the Spring/Summer 2020 main industry trends across all four cities (Paris, Milan, London, and...
Feminism: A Fashionable Trend?
By Chiara Condi
Fashion can create trends, but it can also pick up existing trends from the ground, reflecting...
By Chiara Condi
Fashion can create trends, but it can also pick up existing trends from the ground, reflecting and echoing them back. Feminism has become a clothing trend because it responds to how women are feeling today. Why do we choose to wear the things we do today? The best way to explain it is that, as...
Fashion can create trends, but it can also pick up existing trends from the ground, reflecting and echoing them back. Feminism has become a clothing trend because it responds to how women are feeling today. Why do we choose to wear the things we do today? The best way to explain it is that, as women, we are literally wearing our anger on our sleeves. And we are right to do so. According to the...
Arab Fashion Week Commences
By Sofia Celeste
Arab Fashion Week kicked of Wednesday, welcoming over 40 designers from the Middle Eastern region...
By Sofia Celeste
By Sofia Celeste
Arab Fashion Week kicked of Wednesday, welcoming over 40 designers from the Middle Eastern region to showcase their 2020 Resort collections. The six-day event, running between October 9th to the 14th, is considered the “next Milan” by many industry experts.Though the region lacks the presence of...
Arab Fashion Week kicked of Wednesday, welcoming over 40 designers from the Middle Eastern region to showcase their 2020 Resort collections. The six-day event, running between October 9th to the 14th, is considered the “next Milan” by many industry experts.Though the region lacks the presence of major fashion conglomerates and listed fashion companies, the Middle East boasts artisan heartlands...
Fashion and Tech Game Changers
By Sofia Celeste
In what may be one of the most revolutionary times in fashion's history, the gap between design...
By Sofia Celeste
In what may be one of the most revolutionary times in fashion's history, the gap between design and technology is constantly getting smaller. NOWFASHION chats with Giusy Cannone, the chief executive officer of Fashion Technology Accelerator (a company that invests in fashion and tech startups and...
In what may be one of the most revolutionary times in fashion's history, the gap between design and technology is constantly getting smaller. NOWFASHION chats with Giusy Cannone, the chief executive officer of Fashion Technology Accelerator (a company that invests in fashion and tech startups and enterprises), to pinpoint the startups that are on the brink of changing the industry as we know...