It was the first of May in 2009. Helium’s Founders were only a few weeks from our Developer’s Conference where we would unveil our plan to produce a magazine that would be launched at a fashion show. It felt like walking into an open and quiet sea, until my phone buzzed with a new text. “Fwd: Charity Fashion Show at Stanford! 5.4.09.”
It was already sold out, but a few emails and a flash of the “Editor-In-Chief” card later, and we found ourselves standing at the feet of a wickedly large white tent on the Roble Field at Stanford University. A true castle of fashion; it housed a 75-foot runway, over a thousand guests from across the Bay Area, and clothes from 37 designers.
Surprisingly, the center of all this madness wasn’t the big labels — Oscar de la Renta, Betsey Johnson, Andrew Christian — but an up and coming designer. A man who found his footing modeling in New York for DKNY. A man who, as the Executive Director, used brass and brains to turn Stanford’s Charity Fashion Show into the Largest Fashion Show on the West Coast.
Now a graduate, the kingpin of fashion is going rogue and taking his national following with him.
Wayne Hwang is his name, and WDesigns is his game.
PHOTO SERIES: Object In Motion
Helium Magazine: What does fashion mean to you?
Wayne Hwang: Fashion is more than clothing. Fashion is about me as a person, and society as an experience–as art. Having worked in the fashion industry, I think that is my most immediate answer: it is an industry. Deep down though, it is far more than an industry: it is the furthest reaching form of art, and a genuine replication of an attitude. Your style is who you are. WDesigns is how I see the world.
HM: How did WDesigns get started? How long has WDesigns been established?
WH: WDesigns started as a hobby years ago; initially focused on jewelry, then on costume design, at one point even swimwear—WDesigns has really been through the ringer. These days, my line focuses more on ready-to-wear with a couture bend. I used to just call everything I did WDesigns, so in that form it has been around for 5 or 6 years, but in its current form it has only been around 2 or 3. It only recently started getting big though; following Charity Fashion Show 2009 and San Francisco Fashion Awards I have started really focusing on the line.
HM: Who do you imagine wearing WDesigns?
WH: WDesigns is about rediscovering beauty. Discovering WDesigns is discovering elegance and femininity, while also experimenting with edginess and intrigue. The wearer isn’t categorical, she is herself. WDesigns allows her to be herself. Whatever the age, whatever the race, whatever the location—WDesigns isn’t just me, its whoever is in clothes.
HM: How does WDesigns represent the Bay Area?
WH: WDesigns got its first real start in the Bay. Focusing on Charity Fashion Show, and eventually San Francisco Fashion Awards, our most dedicated clientele lie in the area. WDesigns is a representation of the world around it, so it certainly is a representation of the Bay. The underground arts scene is reflected in this new collection more than ever, and as I familiarize myself with the scene even more that connection can only grow.
HM: What is your new line called, how does it differ from your previous lines, and what was your inspiration?
WH: The new line is called Venus. It is drastically different, and a huge departure from my previous looks. Don’t get me wrong—the line still has semblances in places of my previous collections (Water, Fantasy, and SwimHood). I haven’t abandoned the gown-based collection, but Venus certainly has more than just that. Venus was about expanding my horizons, and expanding WDesigns. The collection is meant to combine love and technology; this synergy is done by contrasting silver colors with reds and blues, and by combining flow with structure. The result is something new, and something I am really proud to showcase.
HM: Where can people purchase your clothing?
WH: Clothing can be purchased online at wdesignsfashion.com. This new collection will be available shortly after the premiere for special order. Hopefully the collection will be carried at boutiques around the Bay following the show as well. This is my first real collection that has a ready-to-wear component, so I hope to have it more readily available for purchase.
HM: What is your ultimate goal for WDesigns?
WH: WDesigns has huge potential for growth. I would love to extend beyond the Bay, and really succeed as a designer. Right now, I want to continue production of this line, and see where it takes me. Venus is something new, and I don’t want to set goals quite yet. Right now my focus is this show, and some shoots that I have on the schedule. After the Venus Premiere my goals my change, but lets get to Friday first.
Wayne’s line officially launches on Friday, January 22st at a private fashion show in San Francisco.
Jack Husting | Photographer
Brittany Villarreal | Makeup
Wayne Hwang | Hair Styling
Matthew Mountford | Shoot Manager
Jennifer Giles | Fashion Director
Brian Agee | Videographer