Jackson Wang & Henry Cheung On The Past, Present And Future Of TEAM WANG design

Date:20 JUNE 2023
Reference: Harpers Bazaar Singapore

Jackson Wang, creative director and designer of TEAM WANG design. Photo: Courtesy

Jackson Wang is arguably the most famous male entertainer of our time. Originally part of South Korean boyband GOT7, which also includes the likes of Mark Tuan and BamBam, Wang kicked off his solo hip-hop career in 2017 by releasing a series of singles and founding his own record label, Team Wang. Following the global success of his solo music career as well as many luxury fashion partnerships, Wang co-founded his own fashion brand, TEAM WANG design, with Henry Cheung in 2020.

Fast forward three years later, and TEAM WANG design continues to deliver one covetable collection after another, often selling out thanks to Wang’s loyal fan base all over the world. Case in point: in 2022, a launch party hosted by Wang for his SPARKLES – MUDANCE summer collection at voco Orchard Singapore with Club21 saw fans crowding outside the hotel trying to catch a glimpse of the multi-hyphenate and shop the collection. Such is the appeal of Wang’s streetwear-focused label.

Henry Cheung, Co-founder and CEO of TEAM WANG design. Photo: Courtesy

Ahead, Wang (creative director and designer) and Cheung (Co-Founder and CEO) share their creative processes behind each collection, where they envision the brand going, and more.

What inspired you to create THE ORIGINAL 1 collection? 

Henry Cheung: The main concept and story behind this collection comes from Jackson’s desire to build a vibrant and inclusive community that welcomes individuals from all over the world, particularly those who share TEAM WANG design’s values and principles. 

Jackson Wang: This collection reflects TEAM WANG design’s core value of knowing yourself and making your own history. THE ORIGINAL 1 is a classic collection. Through this collection, we wanted to encourage everyone to find themselves, do what they want and discover their ‘magic’. It also aims to inspire and bring together like-minded individuals.

Tell us about your creative process. What comes first?

JW: When it comes to my creative process, I don’t follow any strict rules. I let my creativity flow in an organic and dynamic manner. There’s no predetermined order or sequence that dictates what comes first in my creative endeavours.

In that case, what is your design philosophy and in what ways do you incorporate it into each of your designs?

HC: I don’t handle the majority of the design aspects. Instead, I frequently collaborate with Jackson, our talented creative expert, who oversees all visual, creative and design elements. My role primarily revolves around finding innovative ways to bring our ideas to life. Ultimately, our objective is to communicate a specific message to our audience through visuals, storytelling and concepts. 

JW: My design philosophy revolves around two key aspects: Our brand DNA and personal expression. I focus on fabricating and shaping our brand identity as well as myself. At TEAM WANG design, fashion is important but not the main focus. We’re more focused on expressing the message that we want to share through videos, concept space, message board and more. And our main philosophy is “know yourself, make your own history,” which shines through our unrestrictive design approach.

What comes to mind when you are creating a new collection?

JW: Everything in our daily lives can be inspirational—even the smallest of things. That’s why I firmly believe that there are no limits. My ideas flow naturally, drawing from my experiences, work and environment. A really good example of this is our last Halloween collection, KNOCK KNOCK. Upon further inspection, you’ll discover that the Pumpkin Rocker conceals a ball inside which produces a satisfying sound when shaken. This particular design was inspired by the renowned Chinese liquor, Maotai. As you can see, inspiration can be found anywhere, making the creative process both effortless and enjoyable.

Another example would be the TEAM WANG design X WANT WANT collection, released to commemorate Chinese New Year (Year of the Tiger). Designs included classic objects such as special red envelopes and candy plates that kids would rush towards when visiting their grandparents.

Related article: Exclusive: Wordplay With GOT7’s Jackson Wang

How would you describe a classic TEAM WANG design outfit?

HC: A classic TEAM WANG design outfit would definitely be a combination of pieces from our COOKIES and THE ORIGINAL 1 collections. They’re timeless, minimalist designs that can be worn on a daily basis.

How do you spend your days off?

HC: I always spend time with my family and team. We grow up together and think together. Jackson and I always communicate and inspire one another; we regularly bounce ideas off each other. As Jackson said, our collection’s stories or designs always come from our life. For instance, the inspiration behind our Awwww collection for kids came from my lovely daughter Nora.

What’s next for TEAM WANG design?

HC: We’re planning on expanding our TEAM WANG design collections—including COOKIES and SPARKLES. Our primary objective is to foster a sense of unity among people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. We believe in the power of vision, that it can successfully bring people together transcending boundaries to create meaningful connections. Through our collections’ stories and concepts, we hope to create a global community that celebrates individuality while embracing the richness of our collective experiences. 

JW: There are no limits as to what we might do in the future, just as there are no limits to what you, an individual, can achieve. We have no fear of failure. For our upcoming collections, we aim to serve as a creative bridge between cultures. Through this approach, we share the richness and beauty of our East heritage with a global audience. 

*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

More On THE ORIGINAL 1 Collection

TEAM WANG design has launched its highly-anticipated THE ORIGINAL 1 collection. Creative director, brand designer and global superstar Jackson Wang advocates for a minimalist lifestyle through this collection, made up of T-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets (for both adults and kids) in oversized silhouettes and an all-black colour palette. The launch of THE ORIGINAL 1 collection also coincided with the label’s store debut on Tmall, a Chinese e-commerce platform. 

THE ORIGINAL 1 collection consists of three sub-categories: MEI Brainer, a line of basics; Time to Move, an athleisure line; and Awwww, a kidswear line.