Alexander Wang takes investment to fuel return and expansion
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Alexander Wang has secured his first-ever outside investment, a milestone for his hitherto family-owned brand as it attempts to recover from sexual assault allegations made against the designer in 2020.
The deal has been in the works since just before the pandemic and is now coming to fruition despite the impact of the allegations. Wang confirmed the undisclosed minority investment by two China-based entities: venture capital fund Challenjers Capital and Youngor Group, an institutional investor whose main businesses are apparel manufacturing and property development.
Once the hottest ticket to New York Fashion Week, whose edgy, androgynous designs landed him the coveted role of creative director at Balenciaga in 2012, Wang has been plagued with controversy. He hopes the new influx of resources freed up by the deal, along with a matured design aesthetic that draws more on his cultural heritage, will propel the brand he launched in 2005 to new global heights.
The investment will be used to support brand rehabilitation efforts, which began with a throwback show in Los Angeles in April. Wang predicts that the funding, along with the external expertise that comes with it, will help double the company’s revenue within five years — it currently generates more than $200 million a year, he says.
After initially dismissing the multiple allegations made against him in 2020 and 2021 as “false, fabricated and mostly anonymous”, Wang later met with his accusers and issued a statement saying, “I regret that I acted in such a way which caused them pain”. He vowed to “do better”. The accusers’ attorney, Lisa Bloom, later posted a statement on Twitter to say she acknowledged Wang’s apology and was “moving on.”
Talk with Business in vogue via Zoom, Wang concedes, “When this happened, I was very confused by the whole thing… I was angry… and answered wrong.” Reflecting, he adds: “What I learned is how much responsibility I have. It was a great learning experience, to have greater sensitivity and greater awareness.
Almost 18 months later, can this new investment help push Wang’s brand past this darkest moment in its history?