From misconduct to miraculous growth: Alexander Wang pivots to China

What Happened: Alexander Wang has wasted no time in realizing his China dreams. Over the past two years, his eponymous casual-luxe label has achieved almost 150% sales growth in the nation; and since April of this year, it has launched stores in Wuhan, Zhengzhou, Shandong and Ningbo.

The brand has 18 stores in Greater China listed on its website, not including these new additions. For comparison, it operates only three stores in the US.

Alexander Wang opened a new store in Ningbo Heyi Avenue Shopping Center on June 3. Photo: Alexander Wang’s Weibo

The aggressive retail expansion comes after Alexander Wang sold minority stakes to two Chinese investors, Youngor Group and Challenjers Capital, in September 2022. The undisclosed amount is being used to support the brand’s goals of global growth and becoming an iconic American luxury lifestyle brand.

The Jing Take: In 2020, the brand’s namesake founder was accused of sexual assault by multiple men. Wang initially denied the claims then later said in a statement that he disagreed with some of the allegations, adding that he would “set a better example” as a public figure.

Last year, the designer started making his comeback in the US. After a three-year hiatus from the runway, Wang returned with a show in Los Angeles that celebrated the Asian-American community. Championing a cause that everyone could get behind, the event was well attended by the glitterati, including big names like models Alessandra Ambrosio and Kimora Lee Simmons as well as K-pop star CL. 

While some netizens and media outlets expressed disappointment regarding his return, the fashion crowd seems to have largely welcomed him back. In fact, business is the “strongest it’s ever been,” Wang said in an interview with WWD. 

Part of this has to do with the New York brand’s clever shift in strategy. In addition to supporting Asian American-related causes in the West, Alexander Wang has also increasingly invested in acquiring and connecting with Chinese consumers.

And it’s a bet that has paid off. In addition to seeing tremendous sales growth in the region, the fashion house has made waves across Chinese press by partnering with local influencers, including Taobao model Liang Xiaoqing and viral Douyin account @Simeizi, showcasing its understanding of China’s unique internet culture.

Love him or hate him, Wang is moving full steam ahead in China. His turnaround is a testament to the strength of his brand — as well as the brevity of the public’s memory.

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.