Meet Michael Huang ’09: Designer, Stylist, Man about town

Hometown: Columbia, S.C.

Residential College: Silliman

Michael Huang '09
Michael Huang '09

Ivy Noodle or Yorkside: Neither — my recent acquisition of a fully functioning kitchen provides a delicious alternative to walking to Yorkside at 2 a.m. and getting mugged

Superpower of Choice: Pausing time (I am a particularly bad procrastinator)

Q: How did you discover your interest in creating fashion?

A: Disney movies at age three. I used to design dresses for the Disney princesses. My parents still have my old drawings. They’re pretty bad. Also, around age 10 or 11, I stole my mother’s sewing machine and started sewing my own pajamas — I took issue with the fit of the ones my mom had purchased, so I made my own patterns and churned out two or three made out of scrap fabric. Things quickly escalated …

Q: Do you have a particular design aesthetic that you ascribe to?

A: It’s generally a juxtaposition of Old World preppy classics with whatever art historical reference I’ve fixated on. With my latest collection, it’s a bit rococo meets Africa, with a 1950s Givenchy/Balenciaga subtext — an attempt, if you will, at finding connections between the colors and prints and embellishments of sub-Saharan culture and the world of Louis XIV, but distilled through the construction techniques of French ateliers into items of clothing that I feel are relevant today.

Q: Do you think there are enough outlets on campus for designers to showcase their work?

A: I think that is a difficult question to answer. It’s hard to mount a fashion show, because it requires all the same components of a theatre production, but the duration is significantly shorter, so often it is harder to get people to work on the shows. However, I feel that YCouture does a pretty good job of backing student designers.

Q: Are you currently working on a project?

A: Yep. It’s coming along, but slowly.

Q: Do you consider fashion to be an art? How does it compare with other forms of art?

A: Fashion is art just as architecture is art. I feel that it is more disposable than architecture, but nevertheless it can influence its inhabitant just as intensely.

Q: In an industry filled with celebrity designers and reality shows, how can a designer stand out from the crowd?

A: I wish I knew. I’m just doing what I like and hoping other people like it too.

Q: In what direction are you headed with your work? Do you hope to be a part of the fashion industry post-Yale?

A: Hopefully one day. For now, though, my post-graduation plans include getting a job ­— any job, really — paying off my student loans and designing in my spare time. Gotta think pragmatically.

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