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Web Summit 2018: Alexander Wang in search of a virtual muse

By Esmerij van Loon


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Lisbon - Alexander Wang is in search of a company that can build him a virtual muse, as the American designer dreams of having his own influencer who he can dress and have visit the various restaurants and shops he wants to promote to fans. That’s what Wang said on Wednesday at the world's largest internet technology congress Web Summit, which took place last week in Lisbon.

The Alexander Wang company regularly works with influencers to promote the brand, both human icons such as Kanye West, as well as virtual ones such as Miquela. The problem, according to Wang, is that these influencers still need to be shared with other competing brands. "When I go out to dinner with friends, I try to style them well," says Wang, who has around two hundred thousand followers on his personal Instagram account and another 4.5 million on the brand's official account. "But my friends have their own taste and they also want something different."

'Digital' is decisive for Alexander Wang’s collection composition

The American fashion designer was invited last week to speak at Web Summit about the impact the digital world has on his brand and business. It turns out that influence is big. Although Wang emphasized that in the development of collections the craftsmanship - how fabrics feel and how they fall - remains important, online marketability plays an increasingly important role in the collection composition. According to Wang, his brand is mainly about the "hardware” (bags,ed.), accessories and prints of products in the lower price categories, such as his second line T by Alexander Wang. "To that end, we first look at whether they are at their best in the webshop," Wang says. "For products in the higher price category and more elaborate garments, consumers do come to the store." In this way, the designer illustrates how the worlds of online and physical retail interlock at Alexander Wang.

Wang spoke twice in Lisbon. The second time he entered the stage of the Altice Arena right after Ben Goertzel of Hanson Robotics and SingularityNet had stolen the show with his cognitive robots Sophia and Han. Although Sophia and Han responded less flawlessly than Hopertzel had hoped, his presentation offered a glimpse into a future in which robots seamlessly mix with the daily lives of humans, and are capable of taking over simpler, menial tasks. The Hanson robots can respond comprehensively, show credible facial expressions, communicate, and even learn together. With that in mind, it’s not too hard to imagine that Wang will sooner or later stumble across his virtual muse.

This article was originally written for FashionUnited.NL by Esmerij van Loon. Translated and edited by Huw Hughes

Photo: Alexander Wang during Web Summit 2018.
Photography: David Fitzgerald/Web Summit

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