Alexander Wang is planning his return to the fashion industry. The designer has prepped a runway show and subsequent party to present his pre-fall and fall 2022 collections. Both events mark his first since sexual assault allegations emerged in 2020. Named “Fortune City,” the event is open to the public as well as media, and will include a night market and live music within L.A.’s Chinatown on April 19.
The allegations — The “fortune” theme, meant to celebrate the history of Chinatown and the significance of Asian American cultures and communities, seems a bit ironic considering the allegations which kept Wang in the shadows for the past two years. The designer was the subject of sexual assault allegations by models Owen Mooney, Gia Garrison, and others who accused Wang of attempting to get them intoxicated before groping and assaulting them. Rumors of the designer’s behavior had already been circulating for years before Mooney shared his story on TikTok.
While he initially denied the claims in January 2021, Wang later released an apology-like statement, disputing “some of the details” levied against him. The designer said in March 2021 that he “regrets acting in a way that caused [his accusers] pain.” Moving forward, he said, “I will set a better example and use my visibility and influence to encourage others to recognize harmful behaviors. Life is about learning and growth, and now that I know better I will do better.”
Wang promised to remain “honest and transparent” throughout the investigation, which saw 11 accusers meet with the designer to discuss the allegations. Lisa Bloom, the attorney representing the accusers, said each would move forward after the investigation without further comment. Bloom did not mention whether a monetary settlement had been involved.
Moving forward? — Bella Hadid, Zoë Kravitz, and other famous friends of the designer have been criticized for not addressing the allegations, while celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Julia Fox have faced similar backlash for wearing Wang’s designs in spite of the accusations. In November, Lucy Liu also starred in a major advertising campaign for Wang.
Just last month, Rihanna wore a custom black leather jacket, matching leather shorts, and a crystal bra top by the designer, prompting critique: “I love Rihanna, but not her Alexander Wang maternity outfit,” wrote Highsnobiety writer Alexandra Pauly. “Neither Rihanna nor [stylist Jahleel] Weaver are responsible for Wang’s alleged abuse of power, but selecting him, out of all the designers Rih has access to, holds complicated implications.”
It’s evident celebrities are willing to overlook the allegations, but it’s unclear whether the same can be said for the public. Wang’s “Fortune City” event on April 19 may be considerably dampened by the fact that the party scene — notably, Wang’s own events — were where Wang initiated is alleged to have initiated his assaults.