“What I’ve felt is that if you’re a good designer you can design anything,” Wu said. “I’ve always felt like I wanted to create a lifestyle brand out of Jason Wu that goes beyond clothes. A woman can’t exist in a white box. She needs to exist in the world, and I want to design that world.”
In other words, he is clearly taking steps toward someday releasing a line of home goods that will appeal to the “Wu woman.”
But Wu has done all of this cautiously. He’s had no shortage of opportunities to lend his name to products or appear on fashion reality shows. But he has no interest in celebrity. He stays close to his studio and focuses on design.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he eventually winds up at the head of a major European design house,” says Nina Sterghiou, style and market editor of Marie Claire. “I can’t think of any of the young designers coming out of Europe that can match him.”
Louis Boston owner Debi Greenberg has no doubt in Wu’s abilities to conquer any area of design. She is responsible for his presence at the 2008 ICA fund-raiser, and helped bring him back to Boston for the Thursday ICA talk (Wu is also presenting a trunk show at Louis on Friday).
“When we first carried him, you could really see his technique and his creativity,” Greenberg said. “I thought to myself, ‘This kid is so young, and yet he’s fearless in exploring things that are technically difficult.’ At the time, it’s something that most American designers were not trying.”
Wu is quite self-assured and intense about his work. But he says the mistake some designers make is that they’re humorless and that attitude is reflected in their clothes.
“I always say that fashion takes itself too seriously,” Wu says. “But I suppose I’m flexible. I can do pop culture. I can do a little camp, but I can also make serious clothes. There needs to be joy in whatever kind of fashion that you do. There has to be joy because that’s the reason why you make beautiful clothes.”