Alexander Wang’s third collection for Adidas Originals is inspired by production errors and factory inconsistencies, something the sportswear titan allowed the New York designer to explore because, he says, the brand is truly “open-minded.”
“In fashion, we’re always chasing this idea of perfection, but sometimes imperfection is just as interesting, if not more so,” Wang explains of elevating mistakes into the foundation of the clothing line. He used factory rejects to see garments through a “new filter” and experimented with pixelated graphics, uneven printing, and perma-wrinkled fabrics to make each piece unique. “It was really exciting to watch Adidas, who has such a large footprint, open up to that idea. I thought was very brave of them,” he adds.
Where Wang goes, his gang of achingly hip model friends follows, and season three’s campaign features Binx Walton and Hanne Gaby Odiele. Drop one launched in a trailer in the middle of the desert at Coachella Festival in typical offbeat fashion, but drop two celebrates the workwear inspiration behind the collaboration with a series of photographs. Walton and Odiele moonlight as managers of a dry cleaner in what Wang imagined to be an irreverent take on an office scene, shot by Brianna Capozzi and styled by Haley Wollens.
“Oh gosh, I love those girls,” Wang says of his campaign stars, who play hoarders posing amidst drawers overflowing with receipts, invoices and bills. “They instantly create their own magic and energy on set, so you don’t have to even direct them.” The fact they look as cool as they come amidst the chaos provided another level of irony for him.
He envisages that Wang fans will wear his Adidas Originals line alongside pieces from his eponymous brand, because they are the same type of woman. “She’s an alpha female, she’s out there and she isn’t afraid to be herself, to speak her mind and get what she wants. She’s a total non-conformist.” For him, “when it comes to getting dressed, there are no rules anymore”, and the Wang woman agrees.
It’s his need to keep busy – “I have to keep ideas flowing, because otherwise I think too much” – and his continued fascination with streetwear that keeps him motivated to keep creating. “[Street fashion] is becoming a point of disruption in this industry. It’s making a lot of people wake up and challenge the status quo,” he explains. “People are looking a lot more at process and the relevancy of fashion shows, and Fashion Week.” Indeed, the New York Fashion Week star announced in January that he is breaking away from the traditional show calendar, and is adopting a new biannual schedule with collections presented in June and December.
“It’s an exciting time to get people to talk and think differently,” he muses. “I think it’s healthy not to get too comfortable.” Comfortable, though, is exactly what Wang wants you to feel in his unisex sportswear and trainers that have just a kick of subversion about them.