Jason Wu was at Bellevue Square a few weeks ago to support the launch of Miss Wu, his diffusion (or secondary) line found exclusively at Nordstrom and on nordstrom.com. We caught up with the designer before the event and chatted about Seattle, designing dolls and the whimsy of Miss Wu.
Alison Brownrigg: You’re from Vancouver, BC. How has growing up on the west coast affect or inform your design esthetic?
Jason Wu: I was born in Taipei, and moved to Vancouver when I was 9, where I was first exposed to fashion. In fact, I picked up the English language through reading fashion magazines. I then moved to Connecticut for boarding school and also spent some time in France before moving to New York, where I am currently living. I have been very lucky to be able to travel and hone my craft in different countries around the world. I believe my background and culture has helped foster my design sensibility and work.
AB: Have you spent much time in Seattle?
JW: I have! I’ve become quite familiar through my many design trips in the making of Miss Wu. I love it so much and have found some of the most amazing restaurants here. (His faves include Spinasse, Anchovies & Olives and Din Tai Fung, btw.)
AB: How did you get into designing dolls?
JW: I have always wanted to become a fashion designer since I was very young and I fell into doll design as a happy accident when I was 16. Fortunately, designing dolls gave me a lot of business experience that I was then able to then apply to my fashion career. I’ve now found a great balance juggling my two jobs, as a creative person, it is important for me to keep busy all the time.
AB: Define Miss Wu
JW: I loved the idea of designing a collection that was whimsical, chic and yet still very feminine, which is very much in line with my aesthetic.
AB: Nordstrom is the exclusive retailer for this line. Did you develop the line with their input or the Nordstrom customer in mind?
JW: I definitely tapped into the knowledge of the Nordstrom team when I worked on this collection. I always think that the customers come first, and having the ability to get some insight into this new market was truly invaluable.
AB: What has been your biggest personal fashion faux pas or what trend did you fall victim to?
JW: Having bright red hair when I was 14!
AB: What would be the title of your autobiography?
JW: A Work in Progress.