Last night the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund welcomed Chinese designer Uma Wang to New York with a fancy cocktail party at the W New York Downtown–which will be Wang’s home for the duration of her six week stay. She is in town as a guest of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund’s Chinese Exchange Program, which aims to engage key designers in a cultural exchange including industry events and introductions to key people within the U.S. market.
The event was hosted by Vogue’s Meredith Melling Burke along with CFDA’s Steven Kolb and W Hotels Global Fashion Director Jenné Lombardo. We also spotted Peter Som, Jenna Lyons and Opening Ceremony’s Kate Foley (who showed us some of her super cool tattoos).
Wang represents the exciting wave of innovative, high-quality designers putting the Chinese fashion industry on the map for all the right reasons. The Central Saint Martins alum has caught the eye of many an international fashion ed (not the least of which include Anna Wintour) with her collections of often oversized, highly textured designs.
We caught up with the guest of honor, whose gracious and laidback attitude was utterly refreshing compared to so many fashion personalities. Dressed in one of her own black, loose-fitting designs with a bare face save a tiny nose stud, Wang embodies the essence of her collections: understated elegance. We immediately wanted to learn more.
Fashionista: Tell us how you got involved CFDA China Exchange Program?
Uma Wang: We have been talking for a while, and I am so excited to finally be here. It is a great opportunity to share, to learn and to see differences in the industry between China and America. I am so lucky.
How are you spending your time in New York?
I am enjoying everything! It is a busy schedule, but not only about fashion. There are so many sites to see and museums to visit.
Any highlights so far?
Well, everything. But I’ve been to the Met Ball, and that was the best night. I saw the most amazing people at the party. My eyes could not move – so many fantastic dresses!
How would you describe the fashion industry in China right now?
They are having a special moment. It’s time for people to start changing how they think about China. It isn’t only a factory. It is a young generation with young blood full of energy. The world needs to pay attention. It’s time to see what is happening in China. It isn’t all about the business part; it’s about what is behind: the culture and the philosophy.
For me, I reflect my culture and tradition through my collections. Not only the Chinese tradition, but how they fit into the world. You cannot only remind yourself of the tradition, you must think about the future too. The East and West is more about the idea of balance, a yin and yang.
Your designs are very fluid and relaxed, how does this reflect your attitude toward fashion?
I feel that clothes and body have to have a distance between them. When you move there must be motion. Look at me today, when I move there are changing shapes in my dress. My philosophy is that there must be a conversation between the body and the clothes. I love when things are oversized and people can imagine how the woman’s body is under the clothes without seeing everything.
Do you have any exciting future plans or goals?
I want to have a fashion show in New York at Fashion Week! I want to learn and see everything and enjoy this opportunity. I want to enjoy every single day. I am meeting the most amazing people and am so inspired.
Are there any silly New York activities you want to do while you’re here?
I want to go drinking and dancing and discover the city. I don’t want any plans, but just to go walking and discovering and meet interesting people. What an amazing city.
We’ll go drinking and dancing with you, Uma! Welcome to New York.