The New York-based designer discusses the highs and lows of launching a label straight out of fashion school with BoF’s Lauren Sherman.
NEW YORK, United States — Sandy Liang originally set out to study architecture, but the design bug got the better of her. Less than a year into university she abandoned her original plans, transferring to Parsons School of Design. Through her time there, she interned at several fashion houses — Phillip Lim, Richard Chai and Jason Wu — amassing skills needed to navigate the industry as an emerging designer.
After graduating in 2013, Liang moved into a studio nestled in the Lower East Side and transformed her senior year project into her first collection. She spent her time scouring Midtown, sourcing materials and samples to bring her 90s nostalgia-inspired vision to life.
“Nostalgia is a huge part of my design process and … I had some really fun photos that I really didn’t take for any reason other than that I liked the outfits that these Chinatown grandmas wore and the attitude that they portrayed. I would reference the 90s but … it was more my memories of being a kid in the 90s and what I thought was cool.”
Five years since the launch of her first collection, Liang’s brand moved from underground favourite to a commercial influencer. Her take on the utilitarian fleece has inspired dozens of other labels, from fast fashion to designer.
In this episode with BoF Chief Correspondent Lauren Sherman, Liang delves into the inspiration behind her design aesthetic, the future of her business and brands ripping off emerging designers.