Sue Wong: The Artist

Interview with Sue Wong

by James MacLean

Her designs are as timeless as they are romantic. Flattering, lyrical and poetic, LA-based designer Sue Wong’s fashions create a kind of magic.

Q: When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?

I was born an artist, and merely use fashion as my creative medium for my creative and artistic modality of expression. I really wanted to study fine art and become a painter, but instead became a fashion designer because my parents did not want to support a creative vocation. They wanted me to play it safe by being a bookkeeper or teacher. One does not simply ‘become’ or learn to be an artist – one is born that way! You can learn to be technically proficient or competent, but it will not qualify you as an artist. Creativity is something that emanates deeply from within the soul – either you have it or you don’t!

[quote]I was born an artist, and merely use fashion as my creative medium.[/quote]

sue wong portrait 2I started at 16 when I was chosen from over three hundred female classmates to be a member of the May Company Teen Board, and landed the opportunity to work in various capacities including modeling, assisting in window display and merchandising. This experience in fashion is what propelled me into the business. It was a good thing that I channeled my creativity into one venue which allowed me to prove excellence in that specific niche.

Being an artist means that I was born slightly different than most people. I am also well-versed in any visual language, so that I can easily use the same creative force to design environments, interiors, furniture, gardens, jewelry, shoes, handbags, bedding, etc. – all of which I have done. I’ve always been self-expressive even at a young age and wanted to have my own look and how I wanted to dress … so that was my calling.

Q: What’s it like being in the fashion industry?

It’s very competitive and you have to be very good and on top of your game so you can persevere and survive. Be prepared to work hard. Those who are afraid to work should go and seek other, more safe, 9-to-5 work. I always tell my assistants that this is not a typical eight-hour work day. The business of fashion is in fact a lot of busy work. It is creative, it is fun, but 90% of the time, it is non-glamorous.

[quote]Those who are afraid to work should go and seek other, more safe, 9-to-5 work.[/quote]

As in any art, one must be prepared to sacrifice and give of oneself at the altar of their Art … it is one hundred percent commitment, dedication and requires singular ambition, focus and the discipline to follow through. Of course, the talent must overwhelmingly be there. Many people want to be designers, or want to be one, but the majority will either fall-out because either the talent is not there, or else the ability to be disciplined or to be fully present for the task at hand will weed them out. Only the best, most dedicated and the most focused will survive and make it. Look at artists such as David Bowie, Bob Dylan – the bottom-line is that excellence survives the test of time.

sue wong pirtrait 3Q: How would you describe your brand?

The SUE WONG look exemplifies glamour, beauty, romance, style, femininity, and is an homage to the Eternal Goddess that resides in every woman. My mantra is: Beauty. Magic. Transformation.

[quote]My mantra is: Beauty. Magic. Transformation.[/quote]

I employ revered age-old couture techniques implemented by the finest couture houses in Europe, and evoke the allure and glamour of various eras such as Weimar Berlin, 1930s Shanghai, Precode Hollywood and Manhattan’s gilded Jazz Age. While often adopting vintage style, every design belongs in the now and is decidedly very SUE WONG; exquisite fabrics shimmering with incandescent beads, unique embroideries and layered textures embellished with passementerie and soutache combine to create works of art that are graceful, elegant, unique and timelessly beautiful.

Q: If Sue Wong could have any celebrity spokesmodel, who would it be?

Angelina Jolie. She’s mysterious, young, provocative, piercingly insightful, consciously aware and intelligent – and has a strong personality / a strong point of view. All of these are elements that are synonymous with the SUE WONG signature look.

[quote]Angelina Jolie embodies the SUE WONG signature look.[/quote]

Q: What inspires you and do you get to spend a lot of time designing?

Life in its totality inspires me.

Nature, colors, art, modern art, life … it all inspires my 1,500 designs per year. The elements of surprise and serendipity. Creativity flows out of the ether and organically comes together in astonishing, unexpected acts of creation, which even often surprises me. … It sometimes feels like I channel the information given to me from a higher source; or that I am a conduit for higher creativity to flow through me. Good design and good art always has great intelligence behind it. The higher the degree and level of the art/design, the higher level the energy and intelligence that informs it. It all goes hand in hand. The creativity never leaves me, and it is a veritable fountain from which flows a constant stream of new ideas, new ways of looking at things. I am truly prolifically blessed, as I’ve always had a huge energy, which has only collected force and momentum as time goes by. The well always overfloweth – it has never run dry nor short of ideas. To be a productive, inspired artist is truly the most precious gift that the universe can bless upon anyone.

[quote]Nature, colors, art, modern art, life … it all inspires my 1,500 designs per year.[/quote]

Sue Wong's home The Cedars

Sue Wong’s home The Cedars

Q: Do you scope out the competition, or are you so tailored in your aesthetic that it isn’t necessary?

People constantly ask me which designers do I follow / am inspired by and I don’t follow anyone. I follow the beat of my own drum. This is why I’ve created a unique look and niche for myself – designs that stand the test of time.

[quote]I follow the beat of my own drum.[/quote]

Q: What store would you love to have your clothes in?

I sell at all the best stores: Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor (to mention but a few) and in specialty boutique stores across 27 countries globally.

Q: If you could talk to your ten year-old self, what would you like her to know?

Be a courageous Warrior Goddess! Live and love without fear – embrace it all – the agony and the ecstasy! Without pain, there is no wisdom nor growth. Follow your dreams with courage and conviction.

Q: What is your favorite city, color and accessory?

1) Paris. 2) I never met a color that I did not like! All colors of the rainbow reflect the many dimensions of human life, and are colors of the universe. 3) My favorite spiritual accessory would be my own built-in guru, Master Romio Shrestha.

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Sue Wong Website | Facebook

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