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Haizhen Wang

The founder of the eponymous womenswear label and Fashion Fringe 2012 winner tells Graeme Moran how he will build on his success.

You recently won the Fashion Fringe 2012 award at London Fashion Week, which supports up-and-coming design talent. How did it feel?

I still can’t believe it happened but I see the media response and I’m reminded that it has. It has given me a huge lift in confidence and allowed me to well and truly visualise my label’s viability in moving forward. I’ve just received images taken at the event and seeing my own reaction is unbelievable as I was so lost in the moment.

How has Fashion Fringe helped you?

It has obviously opened so many opportunities for me. I have had such fantastic mentoring along the way, to see and learn from great professionals from all areas of the business, from shipping advice to marketing to business planning. The further programme includes continued mentoring, which will be really valuable in my establishing the business further.

What has the response been like?

It has been overwhelming. The media response has been massive. So far we’ve had a quite good response from some large American department stores.

What was it like working with Fashion Fringe founder Colin McDowell and judge Christopher Bailey?

To be mentored by two of the most admired veterans in the business who both have so much knowledge and experience has been so valuable. They have both been so generous with their time and offered all of the finalists constant support. They have taught me that success not only involves creative talent but that it is strengthened by humility, patience, dedication and great people.

What’s next for Haizhen Wang the brand? Menswear?

To do menswear has always been a dream for me, so let’s see what the future holds, but if that can be a reality I will definitely take it.

What is the most treasured item in your wardrobe?

A Dior Homme trench coat by Hedi Slimane. That has been with me since 2006.

What do you do or where do you go to get inspired?

I draw on inspiration from other creative sources such as fine art, philosophy and literature, both past and present. In the area I live [Portobello Market] there is always a lot of inspirational people and things going on.

What other designers do you admire?

Designers like Ann Demeulemeester, Rick Owens, Helmut Lang and Damir Doma all represent such great aesthetic and style visions presented through beautiful craftsmanship.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

To have a well-run and sustainable business that delivers my customers and team positive benefits and results. To carefully develop the brand identity internationally and create a name for superior quality and innovation.

What’s the best advice you have ever been given?

Work hard and just do it.

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