Sandy Liang Fall/Winter 2020. New York, NY.
Who hasn’t wanted to talk to their teenage self? In a way, that’s what Sandy Liang did with her Fall/Winter 2020 collection, held at Stuyvesant High School, her alma mater. While looking at venues around New York’s ritzy TriBeCa neighborhood with her team, designer Sandy Liang had an epiphany: “Oh my gosh, my high school’s only a couple of blocks away. How funny would it be if we did it there?”
So she e-mailed her old English teacher Eric Grossman, also an assistant principal at the school, and plans were set in motion. Liang’s collection was presented in the school’s main hallway, soundtracked by a string quartet who played an arrangement of classical music, including a riff on Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” taking the Max Richter-recut version of “Winter” that Netflix foodies will instantly recognize from the opening of Chef’s Table.
“This collection is super special to me. I feel like it’s a graduation — it’s a little more mature, a little more me.”
Of course this isn’t the first time Liang’s life has inspired her show venue — her Spring/Summer 2015 show took place at her family’s venerable Chinese restaurant, LES mainstay Congee Village. But she credits Stuyvesant for galvanizing her choice to go into fashion, mainly because — like many kids of Asian descent who defy the stereotype (author included) — she sucked at math.
“This is obviously a very math and science specialized high school, and because I’m so bad at math, it pushed me towards what I’m really more confident in, and that was drawing in clothing,” she says. “One of the first things I did when I got here was go into my old math classroom, because it was the one classroom where I had so much stress.”
Indeed, her Instagram stories posted on the day of the show paint a picture of the designer as a young student, admitting that she couldn’t get over a 68 on her math tests. But this collection also feels like a graduation for Liang, who says it feels more mature and truer to herself. In that sense, it’s also one of those coming-of-age stories where a teenager starts to blossom into a young adult with a stronger sense of identity.
Known for her fleeces and knitwear that have garnered her a dedicated audience of menswear enthusiasts, Liang balances out those offerings with elevated womenswear pieces that retain a subtle edge, especially when sheer dresses are styled with cowboy boots.
“It’s very true to how I’m feeling right now. It’s super ‘90s, but how I saw the ‘90s,” she says.
Other standout pieces include an all-over print inspired by the emotive anime eyes of Sailor Moon, a reference that’s come up in some of Liang’s previous collections. “I started drawing because my grandpa bought me a Sailor Moon print when I was really young,” adds Liang.
She also took the opportunity to put her upcoming Vans collaboration on the runway, marking her first major collaboration. It started with a DM to the label, which turned into a proper email correspondence. She hopes to graduate to bigger projects in the future, and if this collection’s any indication, Liang is most likely to succeed.
Highsnobiety Shopping List
A Sandy Liang staple, this bright blue version is a welcome addition to any closet.
Faux Fur Coat
Upping the luxe factor in her outerwear, this cozy coat looks especially comfortable paired with relaxed sportswear.
Wide Leg Jeans
Done up in the perfect light wash, the bleached hems help draw attention to your kicks.
Eye Print Puffer Jacket
The Sailor Moon-inspired eye print ensures that you’ll have plenty of people eyeing your fit too.
Oversized Sparkly Sweater
Cozy knitwear with a bit of shine adds to the flex, but the dog on the runway is the icing on the cake.