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A: It’s generally a juxtaposition of Old World preppy classics with whatever art historical reference I’ve fixated on.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.


  • argh

    Please require this student to take courses in colonialism and African Studies before he graduates, so he will know in the future how problematic and racist the premise of his collection is…

    Not that I blame him now because Yale hardly does a good job educating most of its students in any discipline about this stuff. But a fashion designer who is engaging in cultural appropriation should know better.