Article By Wenqiang Zhou
Photo by Xue Liang
Alston Yang is a Taiwanese American fashion designer known for chic yet athletic clothing. After graduating from Parsons School of Design, Alston started his own fashion brand WEST 56 in New York City. His designs are futuristic and yet functional using high quality, new technology, and performance fabrics. The HEATIMPACT™ fabric used in Alston’s signature thermal collection is antibacterial, anti-odor, stretch comfort, and non-deforming.
Alston showed a great deal of interests and talents in designing clothing when he was young. “When I was little, I have always been very drawn to clothing. I remember the clothes my mom used to wear, the clothes my dad used to wear. I am just very drawn to fashion. I think when I was little, I used to dress up with my mom’s jackets, or dresses, and I just like to play with garments.” Said Alston.
Just like some of the new clothing brands, WEST 56 started out with an interesting and humble beginning. “When I started this brand, I used to live on West 56 St. between Eighth and Ninth Ave. I created everything from my apartment. I did my sketches. I did my development. I sourced the fabric in Asia,” Alston said. “Also I did all the fittings and all of the work in my apartment. And it’s where the brand came from.”
And now WEST 56 has grown to be a brand that has shown during New York Fashion Week and has attracted a lot of attention in the fitness industry. AsianInNY got to sit down with the creative director Alston Yang at his showroom to share with our readers West 56′s inspiration and Alston’s passion.
What’s special in your design?
I tend to like futuristic designs, and I like very minimum design and I like sharp lines, a lot of black and white, I don’t like graphic stuff and too busy things. I like to keep the design minimum and very clean and yet modern. I get my inspiration a lot from Calvin Klein or Jill Sander. Those designers are my biggest influences on my work.
Are you planning on adding some colors to your collection?
I actually have been thinking about trying more colors. I know that women dress in colors, not just black and white. To me, I would just wear black and white, and I will be fine. But I know that women in New York, or in the world, they love colors. Yeah, I am open to trying out new colors.
As a designer, how do you spend your day?
I really love going to museums. And I like reading fashion magazines a lot too. And I just like to watch people on the street. I like to see what people are wearing nowadays. If I have any chance, I can go to department stores like Barney’s or Bergdorf or any of small stores in SOHO, or in the city. I can just spend a whole day and just looking around clothes and I’ll get inspired. I’ll just come home and start sketching stuff.
Do you get some inspirations from your daily life and how?
I do. I really like fitness. So I work out almost every day. So my routine is I must go to the gym daily. And I always pay attention to what people are wearing at the gym nowadays. So I gain inspirations from fitness style and lifestyle. I just get inspiration from those kinds of elements.
How about your upcoming collection this year?
I am leaning towards more like workout wear, like yoga tops. I want to make it a little bit longer. So you will be able to wear that to gym and you can just wear the same outfits to walk out of the gym. You don’t have to change your clothes. So it’ll still look good on and the clothing will make you feel good and you still have that movement, that stretchiness in the clothes. It’s still comfortable to wear. Most of my clothes are not woven, so it gives a little stretch, it gets to balance your fitness lifestyle and is suitable for your daily wear.
Alston Yang, a very charming fashionista himself (definitely looks great in his own clothing), shares with us about his upcoming fall/winter collection. Alston will design a few bomber jackets for after-gym or off-duty style to provide excellent comfort that are needed for active lifestyle. He will also focus on infusing some stylish elements into the athletic needs. For more information about Alston Yang’s brand and his design, please visit www.WEST56clothing.com.