The Mysteries and Secrets of the World - Alex Huang
How did you get into fashion?
My family has run an apparel company for generations and I have always known that is what I want to do even from early ages. However, my parent’s company focuses on athletic wear, which is not what I want to pursuit so after graduated from Parsons, I started to work for someone else and gain experience in the fast paced NYC fashion industry.
As a designer, what are your major influences?
I enjoy the mysteries and all the hidden secrets our world and history provide. I like the humor of surrealism and Gustave Moreau is one of my favorite artists. I also love crafts from the Victorian era to the 20s. There are a lot of details and finishing in clothes from the time before WW2, which we don’t see as often now.
What is your design philosophy?
There are a lot of “fashion designers” now on social media. As the tools of social media and dressmaking are getting more available to everyone, anyone can call himself or herself a fashion designer. I remember I had a roommate in London and one day she told me that she put a cape she designed into production and had it in a shop of her friend’s so she was a fashion designer too. I had a very complex feeling about that statement. On one hand, I am glad fashion does not belong to a group of elites who announce what a good taste is like in the old times; on the other hand, I feel more and more that a new label means much more for the designer than the consumers. I understand the thrill it provides when a new fashion school graduate see a collection with his or her name on the tag. However, what does it serve other than the designer’s ego? Does the world need more clothes just to massage designers’ ego?
In the end of the day, as a fashion designer, to be completely honest, there are not too much I can do to save the world from all the political conflicts, environment pollution and wars, but at least I can try to make something that lasts a bit longer, something that is not so disposable.
Tell us about your ‘Her illustrated being’ collection
“Her illustrated being” is a collection trying to capture the moments before a piece of clothes is made, when it is still an idea in the designer’s head. I believe a lot of artist or creative workers have experience the same situation that a work is always better when it’s just an idea in the head. The moment it is finished, the work is dead. To me the process of creating is always a process of how not to compromise your work to the reality and limits of resources. However, even the best form of art we see now does not translate what happens in the artist’s head.
“Her illustrated being” is my attempt to recreate the process when clothing are still on a piece of paper, when it is still just a drawing and when there are still so many possibilities of the piece, when it is not yet finished or dead.
I use fabric and thread in ombre color to mimic different texture of drawing. I want the collection to look like a wet fashion illustration. I want the model to walk down the runway like an ongoing, forever unfolding possibilities.
Describe the typical Alex Huang wearer
Surreal, confusing and intriguing. I believe the origin of art, to human’s first attempt to capture all those passing moments, either a running tiger or a blooming tree. If we think of the long history and heritage of oil painting, it is almost hyper-realistic, even better then photographs. Yet, all those attempts have failed of course. If I were to describe my design, I would say I want to create a glass bubble for people to catch a firefly, staring it, and then let it go. I don’t want to tell my wearers what beauty is. I don’t want to define beauty. I think the old fashion school way of creating a fake muse, drawing a rigid, stiff, polished woman is so plastic.
What are you currently working on?
For my next collection, it is going to be a continuous story of “Her Illustrated Being.” If we look back at art history, there are so many different descriptions of what beauty is. “Her Illustrated Being ” is heavily based on fashion illustrations from the 50s. What would the pieces of dress from a Monet’s painting look like in real life? What would the dress on Salome look like today? I want to keep working on the filter of an artistic eye and share the vision and the process of creation. I believe beauty and art is a shared legacy of all humankind, and it doesn’t belong to an elite group. That is the kind of fashion I want to create.
What can we expect from Alex Huang over the next few years?
For the long term, I still want to keep creating my collection. I feel there should be more than just artistic and commercial purposes of a collection. Hopefully in a short time I will present my collection again.