Ten collections in and promising young designer Sandy Liang is going strong. She debuted straight out of college with a distinct aesthetic steeped in elevated downtown subversion that hasn’t shifted over the years. Her collections have a nostalgic narrative focused on her New York roots that often reference her grandma, Chinatown, friends and fashion influences growing up. It’s never been about one inspiration, one theme. As Liang gets older and her personal needs change, so too have her designs, evolving into more lifestyle and ready-to-wear pieces with the same quirky, edgy spirit inherent in her signature oversized outerwear.
That’s all to say that her latest collection brought together some of the best elements of her archive into new contexts. Pretty lace dresses adorned with plastic floral decals had a subtle, wry humor, as did those that looked like lace undergarments. She worked a garter-belt theme onto a floral jacquard skirt — one of the new fabrics for spring — and introduced an actual leather garter belt that balanced toughness, sex and utility. Outerwear remains at the core of the brand and takes on some of the most off-kilter elements. A cropped leather jacket was a great way to play on proportions, as was a camo jacket with detachable sleeves and bottoms that could be worn different ways. Liang’s dynamic mix of fabrics is off-beat and playful, yet relaxed and cool — which resonates with girls who aren’t looking to try too hard.
Her hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed, either, as she’s one of this year’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists. “The coolest thing about it is meeting the other designers,” Liang said at her presentation. “We’re all going through the same thing. It’s a really great community.”