New York-based designer Sandy Liang isn't one to shy away from bold moves. She launched her eponymous line from her Parsons senior thesis collection, and now, at 24 years old and four seasons in, Liang is breaking more new ground for her young business. On Thursday, she launched e-commerce at the newly redesigned SandyLiang.info. (Dot com suddenly feels so lame, right?)
Since it's in between seasons, Liang is starting off with a special capsule collection of made-to-order jackets, three of which are brand new designs. "I was talking to buyers about doing pre-fall or resort... and I just don't feel like I'm ready to do that," said Liang at her studio on the Lower East Side last week. "This is sort of my version of a pre-fall collection."
Liang started working on the site in late September, and after struggling to meet the right developer, she finally found one through a friend's recommendation. "It's been a huge exercise in brand identity, which is weird because it's me, but how do I flesh it out into a site?" said Liang. "We're adding all of these cute little things just to make the site feel more fun and not like a typical e-commerce site... I love the site that I have now, but I feel like it's time for a fresh start."
The five jacket capsule collection is available to pre-order until Jan. 15, and Liang said she is expecting to ship out orders by March 1. "We are figuring out if we want it to be a small capsule collection and have these jackets be really special because you can only get it through us," said Liang, adding this may not be the first and last time they are available. After the capsule, Liang will sell future collections online, too. "We've already set aside some spring inventory to sell on the site, in stock."
Liang is known for her brightly colored, Chinatown-inspired outwear, but she's committed to designing a varied collection. "One of the complaints or remarks from the buyers [this season] was, 'You made a lot of outerwear but... it's weird just to have a rack of the outerwear,' so this fall/winter , I'm definitely trying to balance it out more with ready-to-wear," she said. "I feel different, too. I'm still attracted to the same things but I want to wear different things."
With Fashion Week rapidly approaching, Liang has a lot on her plate aside from creating the fall collection. For example, she and fellow designer Michelle Kim will fulfill and ship all the online orders themselves from the studio. "I used to feel more insecure when I was doing all this stuff because I thought, 'Oh, I'm such a small brand,' and [I am] competing with all these bigger brands that have more money and more people," she said. "And then I [decided to] embrace it as part of my brand identity. It's me and Michelle, interns and small network of people that we work with closely, and that's who we are."
But even as her business grows, Liang can't escape the problem facing everyone in the fashion industry right now, now matter how big or small the brand: "Why is the space between spring and fall so short?"