Until recently, Mr. Wang’s identity as a Chinese American was rarely mentioned. He ignored attempts by journalists and critics to link his designs to his identity as the child of Taiwanese immigrants, even though he was frequently compared to Asian American peers like Phillip Lim and Prabal Gurung, who have long describes their ethnic origins as relevant to their lives. design choice.
Even so, Mr. Wang’s background has been well documented. His parents are first-generation immigrants and ran a successful manufacturing business in San Francisco. His friends, as well as his clientele, were “It” girls, models, wealthy former boarding school kids, and the ethnically diverse and largely queer community of partygoers who wanted their clothes to express the simple fact that they were out. last night.
Mr. Wang’s laser focus paid off. Sales reached more than $100 million at one point, according to Business of Fashion.
But the brand began to lose relevance soon after. In 2019, Mr. Wang attempted a rebranding for the label that included a new logo and a commitment to telling his American story through the lens of a first-generation immigrant, which was inspired by what his parents had only recently told him what it was. come to America in the 1970s.
“I had never asked them before,” Wang, who was 35 at the time, told The New York Times in 2018.
But among the Asian American participants, many attributed the late awareness to more personal reasons: “There were a lot of people in our community who didn’t want to associate themselves too much with the Asian experience,” May said. Lee, 56 years old. , who is involved with various local AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) organizations and attended the event to show support for Asian American designers. “Don’t make noise, don’t make waves, fit in.”
“I don’t want to blame Alexander Wang, but I think he’s an example of this type of Asian going through this type of experience,” she continued. “I say better late than never.”