Xian on Canadian Fashion, Experimenting, and Hobbies

Bold Attitude With Innovative Silhouettes – this is what fashion-forward menswear brand is all about. Xian Wang, Montreal-based designer behind XIAN brand, has shared with Beyond Fashion Magazine his thoughts on fashion, inspiration, and much more!

Photo by Che Rosales/ LARAWAN
  • How did you get into fashion?

It started with my childhood interests. I was always into arts and crafts since my early age. The time I finally decided to get into Fashion was at the end of my high school. I found it’s a combination of designing “art” and creating actual objects. Things kind of started to take place from there.

  • Did you always want to be a designer or you had any alternative career options?

I did have some other careers options in mind before I figured out what I want to do in my life, but now I have to say that I don’t see myself working outside of fashion anymore, and being a designer in this industry is definitely a satisfaction.

  • Are you planning on starting womenswear line?

I honestly do have this plan, but I guess it will depend on the favourable circumstances. However, the existing labels that I have are unisex. 🙂

  • What’s your goal for the next 10 years?

I definitely want to grow the brand and create the brand recognition on a bigger scale. Not only among the people from the fashion industry, but also among the public as well. Hopefully till then I would have stores covering all the major cities across the globe, and see people wear XIAN on the streets.

  • Where does your inspiration come from?

Nothing and Everything.

Nothing as when I sketch, I let my mind go loose, focus on where I place the cuts and balance the look to make it visually pleasant. It seems like they come naturally.

Everything as I found everything could be inspiring. Shapes of shadows, silhouettes of cars,  close-up pictures,  construction sites, something people wearing on the another side of the street, etc. Just something that gives enough information, yet leaves enough room for imagination.

  • What do you usually do in your free time?

Watching digital art channels and animal channels on YouTube.

  • Do you ever go back to China?

Yes, last year I spent almost 5 months in Asia, 4 months in China. Doing sourcing and checking out what’s going on over there.

  • How many languages do you speak?

Mainly English and Mandarin, and some other languages. French, Russian and Korean, but they are getting very rusty.

  • What are your hobbies besides men’s fashion?

I love doodling and making fantasy sketches. Other people love dogs and cats, but I love reptiles and I used to breed snakes to create new mutation combinations, like an amateur biologist. I also started to practise more airbrushing and snowboarding skills.

  • Who are your style icons?

Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Jean Paul Gautier, Machine Gun Kelly

  • Do you still feel nervous when your collection is presented on a catwalk?

I would say it’s more like a mixture of adrenaline rush, excitement, appreciation to all my team members, a sense of achievement and huge exhaustion all together.

  • Would you change anything about Canadian fashion?

I know it might sound cliché, but I think we do need to create an awareness of Canadian fashion domestically and internationally by supporting local designs.

Unfortunately, Canada is not well-known for fashion around the world, so either we let it be or change it. Though recently, Canadian designers are getting more and more attention by returning back to the country from the US or Europe. It seems like that’s the way to grow the business in Canada. Some well-known Canada-based retailers (online and offline) would close the door right after acknowledging that the brand is based in Canada. I do understand some of their concerns, but it should be analyzed case by case. On the other hand, Harry Rosen and The Bay carry their selective Canadian Brands in their stores. I really respect that.

At the same time, there should also be a rational expectation from the public. What makes the Canadian Fashion is the talents, not the labor. Pushing all local designers to break their banks just to get a “made in Canada” label kills. Manufacturing capabilities shift, that’s a natural movement from my opinion.

  • Do you think Canadians should be more open to experiment with their style?

I think we all have our comfort zone to a certain degree. Experiments should make us feel fresh, but anxious. I think this totally depends on the person, and also how much they want to change something and experiment. “The only thing doesn’t change, is change itself.”

  • How is social media affecting your business?

I get to discover more interesting and talented people for brand collaborations, as well as potential costumers and retailers around the world. I also use it as a real-time market reach tool to see what people are looking for nowadays. It was actually through social media that I got the chances to show my collection during New York Fashion Week last year.

  • Do you target mostly Canadian market or the US as well?

My first order was actually placed by this high-end boutique in L.A. While I am  focusing on getting into more stores in Canada, I am also targeting the US market from the existing. PS: I will also be selling in China and Japan soon.

  • If you won a million dollars in lottery, how would you spend it?

I would:

– Pay my team

– Pay my debt

–  Get the best financial consultant to see how to make more

–  Reinvest into the brand’s PR, Marketing, and product development

To learn more about the brand, go to xian.zone
Follow @xian.zone and @beyondfashionmagazine