Remember this name: William Fan. He’s the German fashion scene’s latest golden child, emerging to much fanfare out of Berlin Fashion Week, only to be picked up at warp-speed by e-tail hero Stylebop.com – incidentally, also of Bavarian origin. And if Stylebop knows one thing, it’s how to catch new talent on the rise.
New he certainly is, debuting his eponymous line on the catwalk less than a year ago. “I’m so happy that I’ve been able to win so many customers over in such a short time. It feels surreal. When I was little my idol was Michael Jackson. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite talented enough to follow in his footsteps but instead started sewing my own clothes with my mum. There was never really a Plan B,” Fan tells GRAZIA.
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This determination saw Fan land a six-month placement at Alexander McQueen, working under Lee McQueen himself, and then later Sarah Burton. “Those months were emotionally demanding for everyone,” Fan remembers. “It was very intense but also exciting and inspiring. For the first time in my life I experienced pure luxury.
“We were able to work with the most expensive fabrics and materials, and the most elaborate applications – there were no limits. It was all about the emotions and imagination we could spark in the people watching the show. The most memorable experience was not leaving the studio for two days, sleeping and eating there, working on a dress for Lady Gaga.”
Courtesy: William Fan
William Fan, Cotton Dress, $565. SHOP NOW
With this kind of background, you’d be forgiven for assuming Fan’s pieces would be ornate, otherworldly creations in keeping with the McQueen DNA. Not so. His designs are a love letter to the simple, the stripped-back and – crucially – the genderless.
“Classification by gender has never mattered to me. I think the concept of creating clothing without gender labels is very modern and attractive. My collections aren’t divided into men’s and womenswear, so the customer experiences a new way of finding what suits them best. It’s a new kind of freedom, and I feel truly vindicated when I see my customers being well dressed and not disguised.”
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William Fan, Printed Silk Blouse, $565. SHOP NOW
So what can this refreshingly contemporary philosophy be attributed to, exactly? As it turns out, a personal duality has been ironically transformed into a mono-message. “My brand is deeply connected to my personal biography. I was born in Germany but, because of my parents, Chinese culture was always present. I feel in between these two worlds but I don’t see myself as trapped in some kind of grey area. I feel very flexible and free.” In other words? Confidently at one with himself.