Sandy Liang’s SS19 presentation at New York Fashion Week was not about clothing. It was a nonfiction story about the experiences Liang encountered in her daily life, told through clothing. “There is never one new inspiration per season, it’s always just an ongoing influence of the neighborhood and my family, nostalgia and my childhood,” Liang said during the presentation.
The 27-year-old New York native pretty much showed her latest work in her own home. Guests walked into Congee Village, a Lower East Side Cantonese restaurant located directly under Liang’s apartment, and is owned and operated by Liang’s father, currently and throughout Liang’s childhood. “If you are coming to the show, you are literally walking through a day in my life,” Liang said. “These are all my friends and people I love collaborating with.”
While Liang’s kin don’t directly inspire her designs, they are an essential part of her process in carrying out a collection. “It’s enough pressure as it is to design a collection, but when I know that a photographer who is my friend is going to shoot the look book with me, I’ll have the same production people, and my friends are going to be in the show, it’s reassuring,” she said. “It’s become a part of the way I design and carry out what the lookbook shoots, which like really illustrates how things end up being.”
Joined by Liang’s friends and family, guests arrived to Congee Village, were handed drinks and take-out menus showing pictures of each of the show’s looks rather than edible dishes. Though food wasn’t actually served, the models stood around dishes of soup or noodles while showcasing the SS19 designs.
The collection was a tailored approach to streetwear, showcasing fan-favorite elements of track pants, t-shirt dresses, and hooded tops, paired with flat “dad” sandals and done with a widespread palette of pinks and leopard prints. The streetwear elements nicely juxtaposed against lace, slip dresses, and architectural shoulders.
“My presentations have always been, not like a party, but something along those lines,” Liang explained. “We come in and we always try to have drinks and people can hang out and be with the clothes and be with their friends. It’s a nice break from going to shows where you see a model and that’s it.”
Liang’s creation process is personable, collaborative, and intimate, and therefore, so was her presentation. “We’re a very small team and we operate in that way too. So I love doing things local and collaborating with my friends.” Liang’s mission is more about incorporating her work into her existing life, rather than building a new life around a career.