the rise and fall of alexander wang


illustration: allison sewald

Whether you love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Alexander Wang was once the king of the fashion world. His stellar collections, inspiring background and vibrant personality all attributed to his thriving career in the fashion industry. The 35-year-old designer impressed society by rising to fame at such a young age, but how quickly he went from famous to infamous is just as astonishing.

early career

Alexander Wang was only 21 years old when he created his popular and distinguished brand in 2005 and his first collection launched in 2007. In 2012, he was named the Creative Director of Balenciaga but left his position at the company after only three years. Wang has always had a special connection to sportswear, so he teamed up with Adidas Originals in 2016 to produce the ultimate sportswear meets luxury collection. He had other major successful collaborations with Gap, Uniqlo, Bulgari and H&M. In June of 2016, Wang officially became the chairman and CEO of his own company.


According to Fashionista, the San Francisco native has made it his ultimate mission to give individuals confidence just by wearing his brand’s creations. His collections have always pushed the boundaries of activewear and sportswear while producing bold and fearless looks every season. Wang’s main goal as a designer is to make young men and women feel like they are buying a piece of his culture, not just a piece of fabric. Prior to 2020, he embodied what it truly meant to be a successful fashion icon living the American Dream and it was fully portrayed through his brand.


Wang received the most prestigious award from the CFDA Fashion Fund in 2008. In 2009, he was named the winner of the Swiss Textiles Award and the Swarovski Womenswear Designer of the Year. In 2011, GQ named him Best Menswear Designer and the CFDA also awarded him Best Accessory Designer that same year. Wang was also included in Hypebeast’s list of top 100 influencers in the fashion industry in 2017.


The fashion mogul’s image soon came crashing down when he was faced with sexual assault allegations. In 2020, a British model named Owen Mooney made a TikTok claiming that Wang had groped him in a New York City club back in 2017. Several other models came forward with accusations of the designer inappropriately touching them at lavish events and after-parties. In January of 2021, Wang denied all claims of assault in a statement on Instagram. However, only two months later he reversed his stance on the issue by stating that he regrets “acting in a way that caused [his accusers] pain.”

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A post shared by Alex Wang (@alexwangny)


Even though no legal action was taken against Wang, his legacy and brand reputation are seemingly tarnished. He lost over 100,000 followers on Instagram, and comments are limited on his posts to spare him from the death threats and hate comments. His company is privately held so there is no indication if sales have declined as a result of the allegations, but his brand’s presence is noticeably absent within celebrity culture. Celebrities who were once heavily associated with the designer are no longer in support of his brand. Wang’s once long list of A-list friends has diminished to just a few with Kaia Gerber, Nicki Minaj, Shanina Shaik and many more influential individuals unfollowing him on Instagram.


There is no doubt that Alexander Wang has left his mark on the fashion industry. The question is if the allegations have destroyed his name forever or if he will be able to make his way back to the top.


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Hi, I’m Grace Avery, the Editor In Chief of A Magazine. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.