"Crystals are magical and beautiful" – Jason Wu on Swarovski, social media and shopping
A decade dedicated to design
I n Paris to launch his second collection in collaboration with Atelier Swarovski, Jason Wu sits down with Buro 24/7 Middle East's Editor-in-Chief, Shannon Wylie, to discuss the current fashion climate, the decoration of social media and his love of all things shiny (including his birthday)...
Happy birthday! How did you celebrate during Paris Fashion Week?
Thank you. I celebrated my collaboration with Atelier Swarovski and Nadja. She also threw me a little birthday dinner. I got to catch up with friends...
Congratulations on your new collection in collaboration with Atelier Swarovski. Tell us about the pieces...
Last Spring, I was with Nadja in Seoul, Korea at a luxury conference and we were having a chat. She asked me if I wanted to do a second collection and I said: "Absolutely! It would be fun." It also coincided with the 10th anniversary of my company this year.
I was just reading about your decade in design. What will you be implementing to see Jason Wu, the brand, through the next few years?
Thank you! I think as a designer you just have to be quick, quick on our feet, and also be very nimble. There are certain things that will never change like craftsmanship and beautiful materials and beauty. Those things will forever remain. Especially quality! What changes is what we think: Our perception of what luxury is and how to approach the guidelines of luxury. Luxury is more than a feeling; it's just a price tag. Does that make sense? I think we have to be a lot more open-minded as designers because even when I started 10 years ago, it was implied that if you do this... then you can't do that. There were a lot of rules. Now I don't think those rules apply anymore.
Do you prefer less restrictive guidelines in fashion?
I definitely prefer that. I never thought that if an item is less expensive, it cannot feel luxurious and vice versa, if something is inexpensive that's not to say that it cannot be a luxury.
What's your opinion about the industry right now?
Everybody is talking about fashion at the moment. Some people are saying it's going back to basics and some people are reanalysing what fashion means and the fact that it's still supposed to be fun. Everyone has been taking it a little bit too seriously.
I also think the industry is at a crossroads right now; it's a funny time in fashion. Between the way people shop, the way people want things, how they buy, how they consume, it's all changed. There only used to be a few channels to access fashion. Now, fashion touches everything.
In every Instagram post, in every social media post, there's a sense of decoration
That's such a great point and it definitely cuts through all of the information that consumers are being fed today. What are you hearing from your consumers about what they want from your designs?
Well, I think customers want more interaction than before. They also want us to design what is not there already.
I would imagine, much like your pieces for Atelier Swarovski. What was your vision for the second collection?
I wanted it to be really colourful. I wanted it to be really decadent and modern at the same time. So, the collection we call the Mosaic collection, because it's inspired by stained glass.
You've also been to the Middle East before. Tell us about your time there...
About eight years ago I went to Abu Dhabi. My friend was doing a film festival there so we went. I really just wanted to see the city. We stayed at this palace, it was humongous.
Swarovski have just opened their first creative space in Dubai, where they encourage designers to work with crystals. What is that process like for you because they have so many different cuts and colours, shapes and sizes...
Since I was little I was always attracted to shiny things, like very shiny things (laughs). I just love shiny things! I can't help it. Crystals are magical and beautiful. I use a lot of stones in most of my products.
Yes. You've been using Swarovski on creations for quite a while. Which came first, the collaboration with Swarovski or crafting crystals onto your own designs?
I started using Swarovski crystals as a raw material for embroidery. It was for the Fall 2007 collection, which was my second season. Swarovski gave a tutorial, which was really helpful because it kind of opens up the imagination.
Now, discover Jason Wu's Spring/Summer '18 collection from New York Fashion Week.