Wang Plans To Expand Into Standalone Mall Boutiques
Young Beijing-based designer, Vega Zaishi Wang (王在实), one of Jing Daily’s favorite emerging Chinese designers, is quickly establishing herself as one of the most innovative and interesting figures in China’s burgeoning home-grown fashion scene. Since returning to China from London in 2008, following her graduation from Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, Wang quickly got to work building her eponymous brand, which officially launched last August. Wang’s first boutique, a combination workshop/storefront located in Beijing’s Jianwai Soho, has seen no shortage of attention from local Beijing media and fashion elites, and in less than a year Wang has become a favorite among celebrities like actress Fan Bingbing.
Known for her straight talk, earlier this year Jing Daily translated a BundPic interview in which Wang said that she doesn’t see herself only as a designer, but someone who can do her part to “encourage Chinese girls to become stronger, more confident, and independent.” Inspired by fashion gods like Yohji Yamamoto and Ann Demeulemeester, Vega Wang’s designs emphasize the spontaneity of handmade creations, playfulness, and simplicity without oversimplification.
This week, Wang spoke to China Fashion Brand about her ambitions for the Vega Zaishi Wang brand, Fan Bingbing’s proclivity to wipe out Wang’s entire inventory, and her interest in Russian prison tattoos. Translation by Jing Daily team.
Our conversation started off around Vega’s new collection, which is inspired by a book about Russian prison tattoos called “Heartofgold.” “I really like tattoos, I’ve got them myself,” Vega said. “I hope to not simply make clothes, but to promote a kind of culture.” Vega Wang’s new collection is the first in her new high-end line, the price of which is anywhere from 2,000-3,000 yuan higher per item than her normal collection.
Vega’s clothing isn’t about exaggerated contours, but rather purity of tone, exquisite hand-crafting, and quiet charm. People can’t help but want to try her creations on. It’s this kind of niche style that Vega is trying to cultivate, but still her brand is growing much faster than she had expected.
Going back to the origins of her brand, aside from her overseas study background, one superstar may have played a role in fueling Vega Wang’s ambitions. Around two years ago, when Vega was still working on her designs in Xiamen, [Fujian Province,] Wang traveled to Beijing to see her friend, photographer Ma Siliang (马思亮), who was shooting at a studio next door to where Fan Bingbing was also being photographed. During a break, Fan Bingbing discovered Vega’s designs and promptly asked if she could buy them all.
Maybe due to her growing confidence and ambition, at the suggestion of a friend, Vega promptly moved from Xiamen to Beijing, carrying with her only two things: her cat and a large suitcase. A year and a half later, Vega set up her own workshop and storefront, complete with manager, assistants, a board of six investors, and a gradually increasing customer base.
China Fashion Brand (CFB): What makes your designs unique?
Vega Wang (VW): I like things that are handmade, and I have a free-spirited nature and like detailed things. I think my designs are like alchemy, mixing things up and creating something good. If my clothes are the kind of thing a mother can hand down to her child to wear, then I think that’s awesome.
CFB: Where’s your design inspiration come from, in general?
VW: It depends on what’s going on in my life at that moment, or if I come across something interesting in a cultural sense. It’s completely a random process. I never know where the next flash of inspiration will come from. My first collection was called “Eternal Loneliness,” which was all-black, really androgynous. At that time, everybody said, are you one of those designers who does the androgynous thing? I said no, don’t over-think [my designs].
CFB: Do you ever think of putting on a release show?
VW: I’ve thought about it. It’s every designer’s dream. I’ve thought lot about it, but the main reason I’ve never done a release show is that China doesn’t suit it. It’s not suitable for this market, there are no buyers, and to put on a release show would be like a spectacle, and if there’s no follow-up, it won’t be good for business. If it works out in the future it’d be great, but if I don’t have the ability to do a release show, I won’t do one.
CFB: You recently said your brand will be sold at malls soon, are you worried that going into malls will eventually influence your design style?
VW: My parents are more worried about that than I am. I’ve always been the kind of person to just go for something. Going into malls is kind of an inevitable step for a brand. I’ve walked around a few malls and found that there are plenty of vacant spots for my designs.
CFB: Any advice for young designers?
VW: Lots of young people who want to start a business ask me: how do you start designing, how do you build a brand? I always tell them it all starts from your website. A website is the best way to help them publicize their brand, and what’s more, it’s a free form of media. If your stuff is good, word of mouth will spread and more people will find out about you.