Award winning, twenty-nine year old, Haizhen Wang is a seemingly talented innovator and curator whose fashion credentials are quickly surpassing those of his counterparts. Although he is one amongst the many Chinese fashion designers entering the global scene, his collections tell another story- one that shows he deserves to play amongst the best.
He was born and raised in Dalian, China, but educated in London where he attended Central Saint Martins. Wang graduated in 2005 with an MA in Womens Wear, having previously completed a BA (Hons) in Design Technology at London College of Fashion. Following his formal education, Haizhen Wang developed a love for tailoring and his expertise guided him to an auspicious career path working for well-respected companies such as Handwritten by Tanya Sarne, All Saints, Boudicca and Max Mara. Wang later established his eponymous label in 2010, and showcased his most recent AW13 and SS14 collections at London and Paris Fashion Week.
Wang truly came to the forefront when he won both the Fashion Fringe Award and the attention of current mentor Christopher Bailey, CCO of Burberry. This award has also been received by esteemed designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Hussein Chalayan and Alexander McQueen.
His seasonal collections showcase a noticeable effort to enforce social change and to embrace a feminine, masculine dichotomy. He utilizes intense angles and tailoring techniques that absolutely highlight the female form but in a powerful “I’ll show you” type of way. The designs are architectural, sharp, modern and bold.
Wang’s cultural background is not something you would immediately notice through his designs, but they are still very present. Most people associate Oriental design with dragons and various shades of red, which is exactly the sort of stereotype Haizhen Wang and other eastern designers are trying to eradicate. The “Made in China” effect needs a definite makeover.
“Even if you can’t see any obvious Oriental influences, like dragons for example, across my pieces, the man who made this collection — me — is Chinese and that will always be there, even though I was trained in the West.”
Zhang’s Autumn-Winter 2013 collection incorporates some noticeable Chinese influences. His version of the “Mao Suit,” a staple symbol of uniformity under the Communist regime, has been updated with pink lace and diamante buttons and is the center-piece of his collection. Traditionally worn by men, Zhang says the piece partly represents giving “the power back to the woman and not the man”.
He is also known to draw inspiration from other design industries.
His 2013 collection was inspired by architect Gordon Matta Clark’s Anarchitectural ideologies-an American artist best known for his site-specific artworks he created in the 1970s. He is famous for his “building cuts,” a series of works in abandoned buildings in which he variously removed sections of floors, ceilings, and walls.
Matta-Clark, through his work, demonstrated that language is not a neutral tool but a carrier for society’s values and a vehicle for ideology. Which is not too far from the ethos of fashion.
A catalyst to the label’s theme, we can see how Wang uses fashion to implement the above ideology through his AW13 collection.
Haizhen Wang closed out London Fashion Week for the second time with his fabulous collection of 2014 ready-to- wear masterpieces.
Wang Haizhen has quickly established himself within the international fashion community. Can’t wait to see what he does next!
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