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The Debrief: Unpacking Alexander Wang’s Rise, Fall and Attempted Return to Fashion

BoF’s Lauren Sherman and Matthew Schneier, senior writer at New York Magazine and The Cut, discuss the former star designer’s attempted industry re-entry following a slew of sexual assault allegations.
The Debrief Podcast.
Unpacking Alexander Wang’s rise, fall and attempted return to fashion. (BoF Studio)

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Background:

Following a flurry of sexual assault allegations — which some thought would wipe him from fashion forever — Alexander Wang is attempting a return to fashion. After dressing celebrities including Rihanna and Julia Fox, and honing his business strategy in China, the designer staged a runway show in Los Angeles’ historic Chinatown — his first live event in more than three years.

But his plans were thwarted when swarms of consumers rejected the idea of any kind of Alexander Wang comeback following the fashion show, making it clear that his return to fashion is in no way guaranteed. Will consumers buy into a revived Alexander Wang?

“It’s up to the public to decide whether they are still interested in what he has to say and whether whatever issues they may have with him personally impact their interest in hearing it,” said Matthew Schneier, senior writer at New York Magazine and The Cut.

Key Insights:

  • The rise of the Alexander Wang brand was fuelled by Wang’s energetic, party-forward image.
  • Even before publicly facing allegations of groping, non-consensual touching and druggings, the relevance of Wang’s brand was beginning to fade amid market shifts including the rise of luxury streetwear labels like Off-White.
  • It remains unknown how much the scandal affected Wang’s brand. According to a source close to the business, e-commerce sales have almost doubled since 2020.
  • As he plots his return to a much-changed industry, Wang will have to lean into the zeitgeist, speak directly to customers and appeal to a wider audience.

Additional Resources:

Alexander Wang Plans a Comeback: After sexual assault allegations tarnished his brand, the designer is back with a booming business in China, an upcoming show in Los Angeles and a broader strategy.

What Will Happen to Alexander Wang?: Five men spoke to BoF about similar encounters with the New York-based designer, who is facing an onslaught of sexual assault allegations, which he vehemently denies. Could a backlash hurt his business?

Inside Alexander Wang’s Los Angeles Show: The designer staged a festival in the centre of the city’s Chinatown.

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