CCAD fashion designer profile: Sarah Wong

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From the May 8, 2014 edition
  • Photo by Meghan Ralston

Sarah Wong, who’d never sewn before attending CCAD, has come a long way. Her journey will culminate when her four-piece collection, “A Preppy State of Mind,” hits the runway this Friday. Wong should be proud of her hard work and determination, because it’s resulted in garments that are immediately accessible, yet artistically unique.

“It’s really about pattern-mixing and staying true to the preppy sense, but twisting it. I have a lot of chevrons and geo-prints where I’ve done some hand-made embellishments,” Wong said. “I like mixing different patterns together. A few of my pieces have [somewhat] random patterns, but it all works when it comes together.”

And how it all comes together is a charmingly organic process. Wong begins with a disorderly collage of patterns, colors and fabrics, and filters through the chaos to construct sophisticated, yet fun garments.

“I get swatches and lay everything out together, and get all my color chips. I then move everything back and forth to see what I could do, and what couldn’t go together. It’s a fun process, though,” Wong said.

Wong knew she wanted to study fashion immediately, and had no preconceived notions about what it would take to succeed; a prime example of her humble and hard-working nature.

“You know how you hear ‘fashion design’ and get this ideal situation of what it’s going to be? Glamorous. And then you get there and it’s not like that. That’s a good reality check [being at] CCAD,” Wong said. “I took these classes and [realized how] much I liked it; getting to be hands-on and seeing it’s not always this glamorous thing you see on TV, which I really liked.”

All of Wong’s effort — and level-headedness — resulted in a career opportunity right out of college. She’s currently interning at Tween Brands and will take a full-time position shortly after graduation. Wong even said she took a little inspiration from her internship, as well as designer Kate Spade, but not from her personal style (which has preppy elements, but “normally [with] a little more edge.”)

“I’m always around these bright colors and highly-embellished samples … so it definitely had an influence. But I knew I wanted to do something older,” Wong said. “That’s why I tried to keep classic pieces. I didn’t do any crazy silhouettes. I kept my pleated skirts and high-collar shirts.”

Wong describes the collection as individual, but also created with “a customer” in mind, which is imaginative and professional — a good way to describe Wong herself.