NYU lotd: Teresa Wang
‘I want to be someone who can wear anything without looking forced. I don’t think I’m there yet though.’
Name Teresa Wang
Major Visual Arts and Business
Hometown Cleveland, OH
Tell me about when you first started getting into fashion.
I suppose I’ve always been conscious of what I wear. I lived in China for a brief period when I was very young, and I remember I had a train of obsessions with different shoes. I still can conjure the image of these iridescent-sparkly wooden clogs I had wanted. I was only 5 or 6 years old at the time, but the desperation I felt to have them is pretty similar to how I feel today when I see a “must-have” piece.
However, it was really during my preteen years that I actively developed my love for fashion. Everyone in my school was going through the Abercrombie and Fitch era, so after already standing out as one of the few minority students, I was distanced further because I didn’t find interest in what everyone else wore. I decided to take advantage of my position and become as different as possible.
So, I came into fashion, a form of expression that I love so much, partly due to the rejection I had received from others, which is a little disconcerting to me. On one hand, fashion gave me confidence. Yet on the other, I had turned to fashion because I felt so insecure about trying to fit in. In a way, that desire to be among beautifully dressed and creative people is what drove me to New York City.
It was also during this time that I voraciously sought out fashion magazines and followed blogs. I don’t really do that anymore.
How has your style evolved since being in college and moving to New York?
No heels. Heels have always been the linchpin of my outfits and learning to move beyond that was annoying but also rewarding. I had to change my entire approach to dressing because I was faced with a whole new set of constraints and inspirations. Keeping warm in the winter was such a struggle. I remember attending a spring fashion week event with three layers of pants on, the outer layer was this silky wide-leg style, so it hid everything. It was a strangely triumphant moment.
Also, I’ve really played with structure and silhouette. I love interesting designs and I’ve been introduced to hundreds of designers that I’d never heard of before. Accessibility to fashion has completely changed my style from something that was rather static and stable to always craving new inspirations.
Have you worked with anything fashion related recently?
I did an internship with Ji Oh this summer. She is a Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist so that was pretty exciting. I helped shoot a lot of product shots, like a lot, which was a part of fashion I’d never even thought about. I guess I learned that there’s a huge business aspect that’s easy to ignore when you romanticize the notion of working “in fashion.”
What inspires your style? Do you follow any particular designers or artists?
I’m not sure if this makes sense, but I’m inspired by how outfits make me feel. To me, fashion is all about emotion and art. Pieces of clothing that I would never wear on their own can look so good together, and ultimately convey a different idea than if they were separate.
Also, the way certain people wear clothes is a huge inspiration to me. Two people can wear the exact same outfit, but create completely different styles based on what they bring from their own experiences and how they carry themselves. I want to be someone who can wear anything without looking forced. I don’t think I’m there yet though.
And I really love Garrett Borns (BØRNS) style. He’s angelic.
How would you describe your personal style?
Wannabe fashion blogger. I guess I can make myself feel better by saying I’m too lazy to enter into the politics of being a real fashion blogger.
Do you have a favorite piece in your current clothes collection, or a special wish-list item?
There’s this crazy Gucci bag I saw on Kylie Jenner’s Instagram, black with reddish flames on it, that I want desperately. It’s singular enough to be notable but definitely still wearable for everyday.
Do you plan to work with fashion the future?
The reality of working in fashion takes away some of the magic that initially drew me in. I’ve always thought of fashion as something ephemeral and ideal, so I’m pretty unwilling to face the industry side of it. I don’t think I want to compromise something that is so personal to me and so quotidian, but we’ll see.
Any fashion advice you would give someone trying to develop their sense of style?
This seems really simply: buy what you like. It is your personal style, after all. It doesn’t matter who likes it or not, only you have to. And buy different pieces. Buying the same thing over and over again might foil the development of style, no?
Photography by @matthew.babcox