Hey DAWANG Gang,
This is Daisy Jingwen Wang 王婧文, the founder and designer of DAWANG. I’m so excited to finally be chatting with you all!
I often get asked “Why DAWANG?”, “Why Modern Chinese?”, so I wanted to make some space to tell you all a little bit more about my journey, my brand, and where we see ourselves going in the future.
The name for my brand came from back when I was in high school and my friends started calling me DAWANG as an abbreviation for my english name. It also just so happens to mean 大王 (dàwáng) the big King in Chinese. Our tagline, Modern Chinese, comes from a class I took on subcultures at Parsons School of Design, where I learned the importance of how subculture is related to fashion and how the two support each other. But it also comes more specifically from my Qipao class where we learned about the history and transition of modern Chinese fashion. As someone who was born and raised in China, it was eye-opening to understand how our Qipao transitioned from a Men’s Cheongsam (long robe) to what we see now, accepting influences and adapting from Western values and aesthetics in the late 19th-20th century. The transition from traditional Chinese conservative fashion to Qipao as a proof of the mixing of cultures and the aesthetics behind them is what inspired me to create our own 21st century mix of both.
I wanted to start a brand to bring my culture not only to center stage, but also to the streets, demonstrating the beauty of East Asian culture while also moving away from the one-dimensional view western society puts on East Asians. I wanted to marry traditional chinoiserie apparel and Chinese fabrics with Western tailoring techniques and trends to make something that represented a journey that ties together so many of us: the journey of coming to America and making space for ourselves. But I also wanted it to be something that people of all backgrounds and identities could relate to and appreciate. That’s why I made DAWANG to showcase the art, beauty and culture of my community, and to make it fresh and relatable to our modern times.
DAWANG began in 2010 in my apartment in midtown Manhattan. Since then, with all your support, I’ve gotten to achieve step by step what we dreamed of when starting up DAWANG. This is a startup I began with just myself and my dream, and we are still a small team working to meet the demands of a fast-paced industry, a constantly-changing world and a moment where anti-Asian racism is at an all-time high.
My goal has always been to make DAWANG a space where Asian culture can shine. But my goal is also to make DAWANG for you. We’re a startup, we’re solo-founded, and, really, we’re just doing our best. So that means we’re still working on things like budgets, expanding to make more inclusive sizing, and being as sustainable as possible. But we are listening, and new stuff is coming!
I would like to give a special shout out to those who have been with us since the beginning, our first launch in March 2019 Spring/Summer collection. This month marks our third anniversary! Also thank you for those who have just joined us, we hope you stay a while.
Here's a recent interview I had end of last year with Mingxuan Shen, if you want to take a sneak peek into our studio!
Director Mingxuan Shen
Producer Mingxuan Shen
Editor Mingxuan Shen, Devin Powell, Jingwen Wang
Assistant Joyce Huo
Music 'Reunion' by S N U G