Date:9 JANUARY 2023
Jackson Wang has been on an odyssey of self-exploration. This much we know. Through his latest album MAGIC MAN, the multi-hyphenate unveiled what felt like his true self to the world. And it’s clear that this journey of introspection and self-actualisation has blurred into his other identities as well. Namely, TEAM WANG design, the 28-year-old’s own fashion brand where he sits as the designer and creative director.
The latest collection sees an extension of the past seasons, COOKIES – BE BALLOON, takes its inspiration from the imagery of balloons rising towards the boundless sky. Like the metaphor, Wang hopes that this expression of individuality and creativity would encourage others to brave the wind to fly beyond limits. Co-founder and CEO Henry Cheung also champions this belief, sharing “As we ascend and break through the thresholds of different life stages, we’ll gain a more comprehensive and transparent vision that allows us no longer drift with the crowd nor be affected by the surroundings, thus enabling us to explore the possibilities with a firm belief in ourselves.”
BE BALLOON manifests itself in the brand’s iconic black colour and minimalism with 13 new pieces including classic T-shirts, oversized hoodies, sweaters, knitted suits, and fitted down jackets.
Here, as told exclusively to ELLE Singapore, Wang and Cheung talk about the collection’s inspirations, personal favourites from BE BALLOON, and lessons they learned from 2022.
In this collection, there’s this association of freedom and limitless possibilities tied to the invisible man. How much of that do you feel is represented in your own journey?
Jackson Wang: It’s all about being me. I always say to do the things you want to do, it’s your own decision. Follow yourself, break boundaries, and you can see the possibilities — this is what I’m pursuing. The invisible man is not only representing my journey but everyone’s journey.
Henry Cheung: The freedom and possibilities beneath the invisible man concept are not meant to be defined. To challenge the old way of thinking, live undefined. This is the attitude the invisible man represents. As we ascend and break through the thresholds of different life stages, we’ll gain a more comprehensive and transparent vision that allows us no longer drift with the crowd nor be affected by the surroundings, thus enabling us to explore the possibilities with a firm belief in ourselves. This is also what we want to communicate with the concept of Be Balloon, Be Untouchable.
The collection touches on the idea of self-exploration. What were some new things you learned about yourself in 2022?
Jackson Wang: To look within me, and to bravely face and embrace every side of me. In this magical journey of 2022, I finally showed my truest sense of self, becoming my own MAGIC MAN.
Henry Cheung: Confidence, determination, and belief.
The balloon also symbolises a purposeful journey. Why is this a significant theme for you to associate with the collection?
Jackson Wang: The balloon itself is a unique symbol of the way we live our life. The balloon is rising up all the way toward the boundless sky, the higher you fly, the clearer vision you get upon everything, and the less limit you get when you do anything. The better you know yourself, the clearer you can see how to make your own history. It’s the upgrade of our own self-exploration.
Henry Cheung: As Jackson said, the balloon is the perfect carrier to represent the upgrade of our idea of self-exploration. From Cookies – The Original to Cookies – Standard, we are evolving in the story of Be Balloon, Be Untouchable. It gives us a more comprehensive vision and for everyone to make their own breakthroughs.
Were there any challenges that came with the creation of this collection?
Jackson Wang: In this new collection, we have added a lot of balloon elements and details to our products, with techniques like splicing and dividing. In order to present them well, we have made many attempts and spent a lot of time to make them into how you see them now.
Henry Cheung: We have also made new attempts at products, such as knitting pieces and girls’ tops and shorts set, which we have not tried before. And also, certain innovations in fabrics and cutting are also applied in design and production. Those are all really challenging.
What are some of your personal favourites from this collection and why? Jackson Wang: I think it’s the balloon element. It is a big challenge to embody the balloon concept in all styles, but the team has done a good job. I’m very proud of it!
Henry Cheung: All styles from this collection are my favourites. With the balloon element as details, it’s a good showcase of our vision embodied in the products.
What are the concepts that you wish to explore with TEAM WANG design next?
Jackson Wang: Next time, maybe we can try more new and exciting concepts and make everyone more surprised! I already have an idea.
Henry Cheung: And also, maybe new fields. Who knows! Let’s stay tuned!