Chinese American Hero: Alexander Wang

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Fashion Designer


Name in English: Alexander Wang

Gender: Male

Birth Year: 1984

Birth Place: San Francisco, California

Current location: New York City, New York

Philanthropy: Yes

Profession (s): Fashion Designer

Education: Parsons School of Design (now named Parsons The New School For Design) no degree

Awards: 2009, Swiss Textiles Award; 2009, Swarovski Women’s Wear Designer of the Year, CFDA; 2008, CFDA Fashion Fund Award, CFDA/Voguemagazine

Contribution (s): Alexander Wang had barely reached adulthood when he became one of fashion’s most celebrated designers. Wang’s designs are known for being cutting edge while still being practical and wearable. As Wang says in his biography on his company website, “Anyone can get dressed up and glamorous, but it is how people dress in their off days, that are the most intriguing.”

Wang grew up in San Francisco where his parents owned a packaging company.  His interest in making clothes began as an early adolescent and Wang began designing and sewing in his early teens, when his mom gave him a sewing machine.

Wang moved to New York City at age 18 to attend Parsons Design School, whose alumni have included such fashion design icons as Anna Sui and Donna Karan.  Within his first two years in school, Wang managed to land prestigious internships at Marc Jacobs, Derek Lam, and Teen Vogue.  By the time he was a sophomore in 2005, Wang was already in the process of designing his first collection. Wang left school shortly afterwards to pursue a business in designs.  In 2007, he launched his first complete collection of women’s wear, which sold internationally to over 200 boutiques and retail stores.  In 2008, Wang introduced his first full collection of accessories.  Working alongside his mother, sister-in-law, and brother, Wang’s family business has quickly grown into a $25 million dollar franchise.

Despite the overwhelmingly positive reception he has received, Wang has noted that finding success at his young age comes with certain drawbacks.  “There are pros and cons to starting so young.” “There are stereotypes, but the greatest satisfaction has been proving them wrong.”  Despite doubts about his young age, Wang proved himself to the entire fashion world when he beat out hundreds of other designers, many much older and more established in fashion, to claim the winner’s $200,000 prize in the prestigious CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award.

His clothing is currently very popular among Hollywood’s noted style icons, including Rachel Bilson, Mischa Barton, Lindsay Lohan, and Ashlee Simpson.

Philanthropy: Wang has used his fame to address social issues, such as AIDS and disease prevention.  In conjunction with Planned Parenthood, Wang is designing fashionable condoms in an effort to encourage their usage.   All proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood.

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