Fashion is constantly evolving, and trends come and go. Typically, if a brand does not evolve with these changes, it fades out. There is an exception to this rule, and that exception is the brand and force that is Sue Wong. Sue marches to the beat of her own drum, or rather, designs to the beat of her own heart. Her designs are timeless, classic, a form of art. She does not design pieces that are “trendy” but pieces that are beautiful and covetable, regardless of the latest fad. When I heard that Sue Wong was going to be having a once-in-a-lifetime studio sale at unheard of give-away prices, I jumped at the opportunity to attend.
I walked up the polished wooden stairs to the studio to find rows and rows of color-coordinated Sue Wong masterpieces. It was like walking into a period-esque closet meant for royalty. She had gone through her extensive archive to pull about 6,000 pieces and sell them at the most generous prices. I am talking about rare pieces that you cannot even find in stores or online at about 70 percent off.
Sue was busy making sure that every last detail was in order and that everything looked perfect (which she makes look effortless, by the way). As busy as she was, I was lucky enough to steal some of her time for a quick interview about the sale and about the fashion matriarch’s next moves.
Why did you decide to be generous with the pricing for the sale?
I am moving to smaller headquarters. For over thirty years, I was in the business of designing, manufacturing, and distribution. I decided there should be an easier way to do business, and that is by licensing. Between the show rooms and offices spread throughout the globe, it’s becoming too much to handle on my own, sometimes working until two or three in the morning. I decided I wanted to reclaim my life. The reason I am having the sample sale is because I sold my building and I have all these archived samples. I am still keeping and archiving around 10,000 of my favorite pieces.
Which collection is your favorite, and why?
That’s like asking which child is your favorite! I guess it would be the ‘Best of Sue Wong’ pieces which are the 10,000 pieces I kept archived that are Sue Wong treasures – pieces that I would never let go of until maybe one day will it to a museum or fashion library. My pieces are highly collectable. That is why this sale is a great chance to own a piece of the Sue Wong collection. I am selling these pieces at a fifth of what they should be.
Which collection are you working on now, and what is your inspiration?
I just got back from India and I am working on the Spring 17 collection. My inspiration is exoticism. I put a lot of caftans and tunics into work. There is also my core collection, which will be hotter and sexier with a lot of see-through detail.
How do you like to spend your time when you are not working?
My work is very consuming but I am not really relegated to fashion these days. My goal is to build a global licensing empire, which would encompass fashion, home, lifestyle, and architecture. When people think of Sue Wong, I want ‘global’ and ‘lifestyle’ to come to mind. It’s a certain way of life, a certain philosophy.
How do you feel about being such an icon in fashion?
I just feel like I’m at the top of my game. All of the upstarts that are trendy and hot do not have my experience or knowledge. I’m very proud of my work and my accomplishments. Everything I do is off intuition – it’s not something that can be learned in an institution, but something that comes from within.