Sandy Liang is one of the few young designers that has the ability to make you look twice. A recent graduate from Parsons School of Design, she's had buyers and style mavens sitting up and paying attention fresh out of the classroom. Offering up an aesthetic that's part Lolita-esque and part girl-meets-boy, it's ever the slightest bit dreamy, wearable in its entirety, and of course, a 100 percent oh-so-covetable.
It's that winning combination that has online e-tailers Stylebop and Moda Operandi stocking the array of frayed denim and embellished leathers, and brick-and-mortars Assembly New York and Kirna Zabete giving her a coveted rack. Speaking to Liang herself, we find out exactly what she's learnt from starting a label straight out of school, the occassions her clothing are perfect for, and why it's dangerous to design a collection with an end goal in mind.
How did you start designing and what lead up to the launch of your own label?
I started my label right after graduating from Parsons. I was feeding off this intense energy that I had from that, plus I was naive enough not to know or care about how hard starting my own label was going to be.
What do you hope to offer women with your designs, and what do you think they feel when wearing your clothing?
I look to offer something fun and easy, and I want them to feel happy.
What occasion is Sandy Liang clothing perfect for?
All occasions — whether it is grocery shopping, taking the subway or going out!
How do you think you've grown and progressed as a designer since you first began?
I've learnt a lot more about the sales and merchandising side of this industry, which I honestly had no idea of when I started. I'm also more confident in the pieces that I want to make. Sure, I make a lot of mistakes, but I've been learning from day one, so I'm grateful for that.
Do you have an end goal in mind when designing a collection?
I think it's dangerous to work with an end goal in mind in terms of the design of the collection — I realised that everything is a work in progress and that one collection is not separate from the past and future of the brand. I think every season tells a different story, but builds on the same girl.
What do you think are the three key pieces every woman should have in her wardrobe?
A good pair of heels that are probably uncomfortable, a good pair of flat shoes that are super comfortable, and an amazing jacket.
What do you think makes for an absolutely unforgettable piece of clothing?
Your personal connection to the piece of clothing.
What does making a style statement mean to you?
I think that style comes naturally to me, and that's really the only style I know. It's inherently New York. Downtown New York to be specific. It's a mix of dualities: Delicate and harsh, familiar and new.
Tell us about the best memory you've had while wearing an item from one of your collections.
I don't really have a best memory of myself wearing an item from the collection, but my absolute favourite thing is when I see a girl — whom I've never met — wear one of my pieces on the street. There is no higher compliment than that. I love that my creations are walking around the city and these women are adopting them into their very special closets.
Where do you see yourself and the label five years down the road? What are your plans to grow the brand?
I see myself still happy, and still creating. I see myself working with more people. I think my label is still finding stable footing in the industry, and I have no spectacular plans as of now, other than working on the next collection. We just started doing pre-collections in addition to the main ones, so we are very busy all the time now.