Despite Alexander Wang's athletically inspired spring 2010 collection — complete with letter jackets, football shoulders, and baseball mitts — he is not much of a sports man. Today at his trunk show at Barneys, Wang told us he has never played on a sports team. Might he be rooting for the Yankees? "To be honest, I didn't even know they were in the World Series," he confessed. Not that it matters when you're 25 years old, won the CFDA/Vogue Fashion award after dropping out of Parsons, and have women around the world salivating over your clothes. "After coming off of a season that felt very structured and graphic, I wanted something that had a little bit more of a nostalgic feeling," he explained of the spring show. So he jumped into studying the fashion of football, with more of an eye for twenties headgear than Tom Brady. "I thought, 'Oh I don't know that much about the history of American football. How did it come about? What did they used to wear as helmets?' The idea of leather heads — it brings you back into a different era, and looking at magazines or books you'd never look at."
Wang's fall collection also had a flavor of athleticism, by way of biker shorts. Though the $395 price tag on those has received a fair share of flack, Wang defended the pricing: "People look at that and go 'Oh, those are biker shorts.' But the yarn we use is from Italy, the technique is digital weaving, there's a lot that goes into product development that the consumer doesn't necessarily always understand. And for the people that do understand it, they do get into it, they buy it, and those are the people I'm speaking to. And there will always be people that don't understand what you're doing, but I'm not here to satisfy everyone."
Rather, Wang's target customers are those who sidestep obvious trends. "It's always interesting to see people wearing things out of context. Whether it's gym clothes, or whatever. It's very easy to see someone put on a $5,000 evening gown and look beautiful — that's a given. It's expensive fabric, there's beading, there's embroidery, and whatever. But if someone can put on a white T-shirt and look amazing, it's much harder. And when they make it work and they make it look amazing, that's when you know you have someone with a great sense of personal style."
Wang was unsure of what he would dress as for Halloween, but knew where he wanted to be. "I'll probably end up at some random rave in Brooklyn," he said. "I want to get as far away from the city as I can."