Lost and found in creativity - Wanny Tang
By Alicia-Rae Light
Photography by Fred Fraser - www.fredfraser.com
Makeup/hair - Liz Dungate - Judy Inc.
Model - Grace - Liz Bell Agency - www.lizbellagency.com
Vancouver-based designer, Wanny Tang, says she's never been one to follow the rules. Tang began her career at the University of Saskatchewan, where she originally studied architecture. After a year she changed her focus to clothing and textiles. Upon graduation, she landed her first job at a clothing manufacturing company. Quickly after, she moved on to work for Sergio Valente in Hong Kong, with frequent travel to New York City, doing everything from graphic design to licensing, to heading the entire design department.
She opened up her boutique in Kerrisdale in Nov. 2008. Her architectural influence is clearly noted inside of her boutique - the layout is very geometrical and the colours contrast perfectly, creating a very open spaced, minimalist feel. Her self-titled store, 'Wanny Tang,' is complete with everything from hats, scarves, shoes and handbags to dresses, jackets and sweaters. Tang's collections to date cater to an eclectic mix of people. "I never really considered [having a specific audience] would be an issue," she said. "I've never restricted my work to a specific group of people. My clothing doesn't have any boundaries like profession or age, it's subject to the person herself and is all about how it looks on her and if she feels good." Tang's goal is to make people feel young and be themselves.
Her current fall line all about simplicity, playing with draping fabrics. It's much smaller than her upcoming spring line, which will debut at British Columbia Fashion Week (BCFW). This year's involvement in BCFW has pushed her to create a much larger collection for spring 2010 than she has for any other year. "Whatever you see here in this look book today, I hope it shows up at BCFW just the way I see it in my head." She has showcased her garments in three previous BCFW shows but has never attempted to do so many things at once such as introducing prints inspired by nature and hand embroidery into her garments. "Everyone says I work better under pressure, I'm famous for waiting until the last minute to do things." said Tang.
The spring line has a lot of shoes, skirts, jackets, wrap around sweaters, playsuits, flowy low rise pants, a corsette-type dress with intricate leather detail and an extraordinary 10-way dress called, "The Blair," fittingly named after the Gossip Girl character. "It's all in my head; I'm the kind of person who doesn't just look at what is happening in fashion. I look at everything because music, fashion, architecture, everything is related and society grows together." Vancouver, Florence and Paris all influence her designs. When she's being creative she says she looses herself in it. "I drown myself in it and I don't sleep and I don't eat. When I come up with an idea I get so excited and I'm jumping all over the place because I can see the design in my head and I have to start right away."
She plans to take her career global, but says that the process is going to be a long one. Starting in Canada and the USA, she then plans to take the next step of getting it to Europe, and then finally to China. "China is a very big market from a business perspective," explains Tang. "This is my home and I want to establish myself here before I go anywhere else, so far the local people have been very supportive to me and I owe it to them."
Currently, Tang's designs are only available at her personal boutique, and a selection can be found two blocks down the road at the Velvet Room. "Some people would say that they consider my designs as becoming more mature," said Tang. "We all learn."