FASHION DESIGNER XINYUE WANG CREATES PLAYFUL AND WHIMSY CLOTHES THAT OFFER UNIQUE SENSORIAL EXPERIENCES
As a child, Xinyue spent a considerable amount of time with her grandmother, a skilled tailor who ran her own studio in China, where she made cheongsams, the traditional Mandarin gown. At five years old, Xinyue had already learned how to operate a sewing machine. It was her “wonderland,” she recalls. She would collect trimmings and leftover fabrics while experimenting with vegetables and kitchen supplies to design her own creations. Her grandmother’s studio, the sensations, and the excitement she felt behind the sewing machine would leave a mark on her and influence the rest of her life.
Xinyue has become a successful fashion designer working extensively in Shanghai and New York for global brands such as Alexander Wang, Dreamonx, Thom Browne, I.THK, and Zimo. As part of her work for the design studio I.THK, Xinyue created designs for a crossover project with Le Coq Sportif, the famous French clothing brand for athletic apparel. She worked on their in-house brand IZZUE’s Fall 2019 London fashion show campaigns featuring urban items. Her lifelong expertise in fabric came in handy when she led trend research to create designs based on seasonable brand sales. Being a designer doesn’t start with just imagining clothes. It’s about creating a whole world, working side by side with the sales department, and understanding trend intelligence. There is a psychological aspect to it: What will people want next season? What kind of experiences will they want to live in their clothes? Designing pieces of clothing is very much about creating sensations. This is the aspect of her job that Xinyue enjoys the most.
While working for I.THK, Xinyue traveled extensively to present the collection and communicate with the retail and buying team. It is always a moving moment to see her hard work on display in stores as well as watch costumer interact with her designs. “In my designs, I hope to recreate the same sensations I experienced as a child when the discovery of an object had an element of surprise and forced me to develop my thinking of the world,” she mentions. This is partly the reason why Xinyue tends to work with various malleable materials. She likes the durability and flexibility of silicone, latex, and foam.
In New York, she worked for Omondi, a womenswear designer influenced by the duality of African heritage and the New York lifestyle. While working for the brand, she designed embroidery while developing textile samples. She also worked for Thom Browne on their knitwear designs. Her impressive experience also includes the global brand Alexander Wang. While working for the company, she continued to develop their textile swatches, fabric samples, while leading their research for new vintage fabric techniques for their Resort 2016 and SS16 collections. Most importantly, she was involved in special projects and worked on clothing surface designs for global artists such as Madonna, Miley Cyrus, Anna Ewers, Chris Lee, and Beyoncé, among others.
Her impressive skill set has earned Xinyue a few important awards. She was the winner of the Manus X Machina design competition launched by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The competition organized by the MET’s costume institute explored how fashion designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in creating haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear. The exhibition addressed the founding of the haute couture in the 19th century when the sewing machine was invented and the emergence of a distinction between the hand (manus) and the machine (machina) at the onset of mass production. For Xinyue, a child who used to work on her grandmother’s sewing machine, winning such an award was like coming full circle. She was also a Bronze winner of the Clio and Fashion Beauty Award in 2016. That same year, she was also shortlisted for the 19th GLM Award, the renowned China International Leather and Fur Clothing Design Competition.
“After working for so many big fashion companies, having my own collection is the next step,” she shares with us. Xinyue is always looking for new challenges. She wants to explore new techniques and keep sustainability in mind. Pushing boundaries and evolving is what she is after. While she mentions that her deep understanding of big fashion brands’ DNA has been crucial and has helped her build an impressive portfolio, having one’s own aesthetic and philosophy is also essential for her. “It is what allows you to evolve and propels you forward,” she adds. Whether working on her own collections or for a global brand, Xinyue wants each piece to have “its own spirit and heart.” Her ultimate mission is to create pieces of garment that establish a spiritual connection with the body. We believe she is on the right path.