Do not be fooled by Alexander Wang. For a designer who basically predicted our current obsession with athleisure, he’s not friendly with the gym. “A lot of people find that surprising,” he told The Guardian, explaining that his love of fitness-leaning fashion is more than logging cardio hours. “Sportswear has a functionality to it. It’s what you see people wearing in the street, carrying in their bags. It has a very direct connection to our lives, and that’s what I love about it. It’s not so much about being sporty as about being active and functional and easy.”
Beyond the actual fitness stuff (jump ropes and boxing gloves, sports bras and leggings from his H&M collaboration), the vocabulary of what constitutes the current athlete-off-duty trend has always had a place in his world. Bomber jackets, mesh, and neoprene have been used, and his inspiration boards are familiar with sporty figures: NASCAR and BMX pros for spring 2012, mountaineer types for fall 2014. Heck, he made bags last season inspired by sneakers.
And while the designer’s open about his lack of a workout regime, you can make an argument for going-out as a sport that inspired his design.
“The first look book we shot was this girl in this raw SoHo loft, just hanging out, everything was wardrobe items reconfigured, everyday items reappropriated, because that was how I lived, how my friends lived,” he said. “We were going out a lot, and sleeping wherever, and wearing clothes for days and then throwing them in the wash and things were a bit destroyed.” The inspiration to make a career of dressing the crew around him was inspired by the way Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford did the same years earlier.
The partying has wound down some as he’s aged (um, likewise for every single friend I have), and he said it’s reflected in his work, with the 31-year-old him preferring different things to what he liked at 21. He cops to keeping late hours when at home in New York City, but when he’s overseas for Balenciaga, it’s a different existence. “In Paris it’s literally the office, a quiet dinner, home. On the weekend I maybe take a walk, and that’s it.”