Haizhen Wang: Feminine Fashion with Masculine Attitude

Designer Haizhen Wang’s Line Draws Inspiration from International Sources

Take a stroll down London’s famous Portobello Road, and you will likely come across Haizhen Wang, a fashion-forward women’s clothing boutique, which was created by the Fashion Fringe award-winning designer of the same name. Haizhen presents his collection twice a year at London Fashion Week and describes his aesthetic as feminine, with a masculine attitude.

Hailing from China, Haizen came to London to study fashion at Central Saint Martins and stayed in the capital to build what can only be described as an increasingly successful career. More than ten years have passed, and Haizhen still draws inspiration for his designs from his new home city, “You can go anywhere: North, West, East, South; libraries, galleries. Sometimes things come into my head, things that I see on the street, or in the market, or an image from a shop that could be a story. What I like the most about London is the freedom.’

We caught up with Haizhen just before Men’s Collection Week.

The Plus: What are the most important elements for having a fashion career here in Europe for foreign designers?
Haizhen Wang:
In general I don’t think there is much difference between the nationalities. It’s about mixing ideas and cultures–I think during my studies, it was all mixed internationally. You can’t only consider the UK, you should let yourself go to a wider platform–Europe, other countries, America, China, Japan, Asia–you know, different places. The majority of industry people are quite impressed by British Education. British trained designers and students have a good reputation around the world.

TP: Did you always know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
I wasn’t meant to study fashion while I was in China. At that time, I was intending to be an interior designer, but somehow there was a mistake. I came to this area while I was in the second year of studying fashion in China and I loved it straightaway.
The resources were really limited so I just wanted to come out to study more about real fashion. I didn’t think I could one day be what I am now.

TP: What advice would you give to foreign students trying to make it in the UK/European fashion industry?
All I can say is, you have to know what you really want to do. There are many students who don’t know what they really want to do. Secondly, you need to stick with it, and study hard. There are no short cuts, no other way. It involves lots of different elements, and you need a bit of luck as well.