eing a young designer can be daunting, especially when surrounded by legends who have been in the fashion scene for years. NYC native Sandy Liang started her eponymous ready-to-wear label after graduating out of Parsons School of Design. Now at 24 years old, she is known for her dreamy multi-colored fur coats and Lower East Side cool girl meets Chinatown grandmother aesthetic.
Starting off first studying architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, she took a leap and transferred to Parsons to commit to fashion. At Parsons, she learned more than how to design; Liang also learned how to run a business and how to communicate — two skills that were essential in starting her namesake line. After landing internships with designers from Opening Ceremony to Phillip Lim, Liang launched her first collection with funding from her family, to whom she still thanks for believing in her work. As Liang explained in an interview with Coveteur, none of this would be possible without her fresh-out-of-college naïveté: “I think I had this energy right after graduating, that I knew I was never going to feel again, especially not after working for someone else. I was scared that I might get tired or I might just get cynical about things. I think it was great that I had no idea what I was doing, just because you can’t really be scared if you don’t know what you are scared of!”
Because Liang draws inspiration from her personal experiences, she describes her style as “Chinatown grandmother aesthetic.” What comes naturally to this designer is how she grew up and the people she grew up with. To this day, she is influenced by her Chinese grandmother’s bold, carefree approach to clothes. Liang’s aesthetic is equal parts tough and soft, mixing carefully the masculine and feminine in order to create clothes for a “girl who is who she is and rides the subway to work.”
Her Spring/Summer ’16 highlights how Liang’s collections have a sophisticated and effortless factor that permeates every piece. Heavily focusing on shirting and denim, her line features an open backed button down with tiered ruffles, loose flowing dresses, and her staple fur coats. The star of Liang’s label is her outerwear. She has been making a move to expand her outerwear-heavy collections, but there is a reason why fashion critics are raving over her jackets and coats. Her SS ’16 is no different: one of the stand-out pieces that emphasizes her mastery of outerwear is a moto jacket with colorful floral embroidery. The moto jacket shows how Liang loves to take fun twists on a classic silhouette.
Liang’s most distinct characteristic — and perhaps the true key to her success— is her desire to stay true to why she first joined the fashion scene. ”Being at school and seeing how other people sketch out a thousand things to get that one thing. I’m like, ‘No, I like this one jacket and I’m just going to do this,” she said. Liang is definitely a designer who is unrestrained in her design, and her confidence is infectious. Furthermore, she emphasizes the importance of selling style and attitude over materialistic clothes. Currently, she is working on expanding her brand identity so that people can better understand the girls that Liang designs for.