Avery by Wang favours understated chic
Saving a few bucks on cheap disposable clothing may feel good at the point of purchase, but seeing those duds unthread after the first wash can be a bit of a killjoy. As is thinking about the environmental footprint fast fashion purchases are leaving on the planet. That’s why Vancouver designer Annching Wang would like to see more people resist the lure of sale racks, bargain bins, and flash-in-the-pan trends.
Instead, she’d like to see more fashionistas mindfully invest in key wardrobe essentials that suit their personal style. But don’t worry—Wang’s not judging. She knows all too well what it’s like to shop impulsively and seek out marked-down quick fixes at large retailers.
“I was that girl,” admits Wang, who recently sat down with the Straight at a downtown café to talk about the motivation for launching Avery by Wang, a modest collection of luxury yet versatile and practical must-haves. “Last year, I was going through a transition period in my life—like getting rid of things I was holding onto, things from my past that didn’t quite fit me anymore. So I looked into my closet and I didn’t like a lot of the stuff in there. A lot of it was impulse purchases, things that were trendy, but that I just never really wore. So I cleaned out my closets and then asked myself, ‘What do I really want? If I was to start from square one, what would I want my style to be?’ ”
Shortly after she weeded through the clutter and determined her personal style is quite minimalist, she found herself in the market for the perfect white organic cotton shirt.
“I couldn’t find one that fit well and had long enough sleeves,” she says, “so I designed one.”
The result is the Richard Shirt ($185), a classic, fitted button-down that looks great tucked, untucked, and even tied up in the front. The well-executed basic led to a couple more pieces, and by March of this year, she had her first capsule collection, which included the Alexander Shirtdress ($215), a belt-optional mini with loose three-quarter cuffed sleeves. This understated chic design turned out to be a favourite among customers. So naturally when Wang launched her silk collection, she included the Parker Silk Shirtdress ($280), which is essentially the same design in a different fabric and comes in five colours: black, bone, petal, evergreen, and a gorgeous eye-popping fuchsia.
Another understated highlight from this collection—which she sells exclusively through her website—is her machine-washable, super-simple, slightly flared Templeton Silk Tank that skims the body in a loose, unassuming way—again, fresh and modern, but trend-proof. And no need to layer here: the top is lined and the neckline doesn’t plunge too low. This too, started with a fruitless search.
“I was looking for a silk tank and a lot of them were see-through—like you always have to wear something underneath it,” she says. “And that can be super-annoying, especially if you just want something super-light.”
As for resisting all the discounted temptations out there and only buying clothing she really loves, Wang is making significant progress.
“I’m getting so much better at it,” she says, before adding: “I know who I am, I guess, and once you become more clear on that, there’s less sense of desperation.”