Fashion Backward

Alexander Wang, fashion's much loved child prodigy (in 2007 his business was worth over $25 million and he was merely 27 years old) has helped to revive designer ready to wear and has revolutionized the basic tee. You will pay $80 for one of his t-shirts, trust me, you will. Wang's effect is in a way similar to what American Apparel accomplished -- a fundamental redefining of basics presented in a way that makes a t-shirt feel oh so brand new. But while AA pushed the anti-brand -- clothes presented with no brand name whatsoever, something sadly overwhelmingly unique in the early 2000s -- Wang managed to build his brand with similar subtlety but that simultaneously screamed WANG. The New York Times explains, "Mr. Wang, cutting his teeth in the fashion world at the zenith of the bust, was the right mind at the right time. He knew that cool kids wanted a new highbrow-lowbrow haute-casual that could be worn to the prestigious day gig (modeling, interning) and would require no change whatsoever to go out dining and dancing all night (lather, rinse, repeat)." He understands, in an almost preternatural way, what women want to wear and maybe more importantly what they will pay for. His basics are sublime. If you've never come face to face with A. Wang you need to plan a shopping trip immediately. And it won't be hard -- his styles are carried worldwide by almost every premiere retailer on earth. In an exclusive chat with On the Inside, "he explains his wide appeal this way: “I went with my instinct and created clothes people can wear - brought back something missing in the industry; cashmere basics, that perfect motorcycle jacket, or that little black dress. I was able to connect with my customer and it's been going really well.” You'll glance over his T by Alexander Wang collection, a diffusion line of perfectly weathered, insanely comfortable cotton wears created in 2009, and you definitely can subconsciously write it off -- another $100 simple piece of cotton. But then you put it on your body. And the love affair begins. It's impossible not to fall in love with the way he cuts his clothing; he has such a crystal clear vision of what he thinks fashion should be (and it definitely doesn't hurt that the only four investors in his brand are himself, his sister in law, his mother and his brother -- absolutely no outside influence) and it's refreshingly approachable. Kind of like the man himself. Hailed as "fashion's reigning prince of cool" by Harper's Bazaar, he's been catapulted to success and received the praise of his peers, adoration of the press and loyalty of a people living in the midst of a serious economic crisis. [caption id="attachment_7266" align="aligncenter" width="772" caption="Some favorites from his website. How perfect is that color blocking?"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_7261" align="aligncenter" width="398" caption="So lovely. That's the only word for it. "][/caption] Now is a time when clothing should make sense. Not entirely utilitarian but that $5,000 translucent neon tangerine trench just has no place in the woman of 2012's closet. Versatility, ease of wear and fabrics to die for have been major themes of Wang's work since the very beginning. And despite operating on his razor sharp instincts with design, he also responds to the requests of the consumer. His Fall 08 collection was almost entirely black, but come Spring 09 his runway transformed into a veritable color wheel. Why? says "He designed his Spring 2009 collection using bright colors such as orange, dusty purple, aqua and hot pink, and proclaimed, "They wanted color, they got color!"" A designer so in-tune with the desires of the consumer can't help but become the new golden boy. And don't you just want to braid his hair and bite his cheeks? That might just be me. But I beg of you, please go try on his clothing. My T by Wang t-shirt dresses, that I bought over a year and a half ago, are still in pristine condition despite being terminally overworn. No pilling, no tears, none of the signature disappointments that often come with RTW basics that you overpay for and typically under-wear. You're worth it ladies, you're worth the Wang! [caption id="attachment_7264" align="aligncenter" width="800" caption="Don't front. I know you want to braid it. "][/caption]