Everything’s a little brighter in Sandy Liang’s universe. Her designs reflect this, along with the inspiration she draws from her roots, the women in her family, and even down to the hand-me-downs she received as a child. There’s a certain attraction about all of this, as her outerwear pieces originally for women have found themselves on the backs of everyone they were intended for and more. Sandy drops into ‘The Dropcast’ studio to talk her latest Vans collaboration and of course, the hottest drops of the week. Stick to the end to read a Q&A with Sandy in celebration of Women’s History Month.
Hosts Jian DeLeon and Noah Thomas shower the fleece queen with all the titles she deserves: Queen of the LES, One Who Goes Ham on the Lamb, Best Fleece in the East, you name it. To start off, the quick hits take the cast into a new upcycling initiative for bedding and sleepwear brought to you by Our Legacy (3:41). The project is a continuation of the brand’s WORK SHOP, an exclusive store located in Stockholm dedicated to sustainable fashion retail.
At this time, Our Legacy’s new products aren’t the only reason to stay in bed. The NBA reportedly advised teams to plan for playing games in empty arenas due to coronavirus concerns, but LeBron James isn’t having it (4:54). The virus is affecting all aspects of life and the fashion industry is no exception. Sandy speaks directly to its impact on her business and how it’s led to an unusual shift in her approach. On a lighter note, the launch of a website generating handwashing infographics based on your favorite song lyrics has been popping off (6:05). Jian’s song of choice is The Killer’s “Mr. Brightside,” and its drawn out lyrics is the perfect reminder to wash under those fingernails. Sandy has handwashing mastered and nailed down to the slathering and use of warm water.
Even in light of the coronavirus outbreak, fashion proves that nothing can really slow it down (7:44). Jian has submitted his nominations for the CFDA Awards, and the 2020 LVMH Prize Finalists have also been announced. Noah runs off on the list which boasts a strong class including Ahluwalia, Casablanca, and Peter Do. As a past CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist, Sandy views fashion awards as a great way for emerging designers to network and really zero down on what makes their brands unique (9:05).
Highsnobiety’s own identity has been reiterated through our new magazine, HIGHStyle, which is out now on newsstands (10:48). The pages are packed with Migos, Chrome Hearts, and Louis Vuitton, which recently revealed its new collaboration with Nigo inspired by Shibuya and London’s dandy culture (11:19). Jian drops background knowledge on the collab and hints of an upcoming related internal project he’s been working on. Virgil’s upcoming work with Nigo also proved to be good timing for him to clear up his “Streetwear is gonna die” comment, and the hosts give their takes on the update (13:06).
Sandy’s own cross-generational and cross-cultural appeal most recently came to form through her last NYFW show, which notably took place at her alma mater, Stuyvesant High School (14:13). Sandy talks about her developing interest in fashion during that time along with her go to stores as a New York native, which included Vans. Now, she’s a collaborator with the brand, releasing her own limited edition collection of Classic apparel and footwear (15:41). If you’re in NYC, be sure to stop by the pop-up taking place until the end of this weekend at The General by Vans store in Williamsburg. As a self-identifying Chinatown grandpa in dress and behavior, Jian is curious to hear Sandy’s inspiration for the collection (16:35).
Earlier this week, we asked listeners (now officially known as Dropouts) the Question of the Week (QOTW): “What is the hardest collab of the year so far?” (20:15). The cast (on completely objective terms) agree that Sandy’s Vans collab has been the best yet — along with the Mule Boyz x Diemme release. No promises, but maybe keep your eyes out for a Sandy Liang x Mule Boyz collab down the line.
The title of “Mule of the Week” is given to a pair by TAKAHIROMIYASHITA TheSoloist. (24:30). Their multi-seasonal rubber slide-on loafers remind Sandy of shock-proof Birkenstocks that electricians wear (along with Noah and Sandy, apparently).
A second guest makes his appearance to weigh in on the QOTW, and he hands it to the KITH x Air Force collab (26:43). He also steps in right in time for “What’d You Cop?” with his first cop being this Dropcast promo (28:47). Sandy bought herself a Contax T3 point-and-shoot which she’ll be using to shoot her e-commerce.
After the recording wrapped up, I sat down with Sandy to pick her brain with Women’s History Month-themed questions that dug deep into her psyche.
What is your idea of perfect happiness for women universally?
I guess just to be equals, right? With everybody else, with men… I don’t know, I feel like everybody’s definition of happiness is so different, and I don’t know if I can generalize women as a group like that.
What is your greatest extravagance for self-care? I love getting a facial, and even though that’s extravagant, I don’t do it enough because I hate spending money on myself. But I guess I spend money, or I’m extravagant when it comes to buying beauty products. I love doing a good mask and just doing my routine. But maybe the most extravagant thing is just not going out and then going to sleep early.
What’s your go to face mask?
I love Biologique Recherche, it’s called Masque Vivant. It’s the best. It smells like yeasty marmite.
That’s when you know it’s working.
Yes, it smells bad. The worse it smells, the better your skin will be.
What is the quality you most admire in a woman?
I have a print out in my office of photos of women who I just feel like are my role models. One of them is Ina Garten who has her own show on Food Network and she’s just like, a goddess. There’s that girl who was the insane climber, Eleanor Roosevelt was on that, Claire Underwood from that show on Netflix that I’m not remembering the name. Personally, I guess being a bad, strong, woman who nobody messes with. I think just also really hardworking. All that stuff.
Which words/phrases do you most overuse with your closest friends?
I’ve been using the word “literally” a lot and I don’t like it. I need to stop. I’m trying to stop.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My dog, Tim Tam. He’s a mini Australian shepherd.
If you were to die and come back as a female hero of fiction, who would it be?
That’s a good question. I don’t know, some like, Pixar character?
What is your most treasured possession?
My dog… although he’s not my possession! So that’s not the answer. My most treasured possession… I’m thinking about something sentimental. One of them is maybe my first watch that my dad gave me. It’s this old stainless steel Rolex that my dad gave me and it’s ‘cause I was begging for it. It’s just one of his hand-me-downs and it’s super special to me.
Are you going to pass it down?
Yeah, I don’t even wear it anymore because I’m afraid I’ll scratch it, and I will, so I keep it in its box, always.
Who are your favorite female writers?
I just read a book by Susan Choi, and I really enjoyed it. So maybe right now it’s her. My favorite writer of all time is not a woman, actually. J.D. Salinger. But I think right now I love Susan Choi. I think she’s Korean American and half Jewish? She writes fiction.
Which female historical figure do you most identify with?
These are some good questions but I just like, cannot right now. Let me see. She’s not a historical person ‘cause she’s alive right now, but I guess Ina Garten. I really identify with her because I’ve always loved her show and she just has a house in the Hamptons and she’s cooking all day. But I’ve also, ‘cause I’m obsessed with her, I know people who’ve been to her house, who’ve worked with her. And the things that they tell me about her like how she gets her way but is very polite about it. She has a style and she sticks to it, and she’s not afraid of getting what she wants. She’s also Ina Garten, the biggest sweetheart but most badass business woman in the world. All of those things. I feel like I wanna be like her.
Do you have a getaway that you go to? Something like what Ina Garten has?
My getaway is maybe… my boyfriend’s from Maine so we go to Maine whenever we can. That’s really, really nice.
What is your motto for fellow women?
I don’t know if I have one. I’m a Gemini, my mood’s always changing. I really believe strongly in different things all the time. I designed a pair of jeans and on the carpenter strap it said “No guts no glory.” So maybe that.
Next episode’s QOTW will be a special treat so be sure to keep your eyes on Highsnobiety’s Instagram. As per usual, make sure to leave a voicemail on The Dropcast hotline at 833-HIGHSNOB (833-444-4766) for a chance to be featured in a future episode.