When Wendy Wong decided to trade in her lab coat and test tubes for a sewing machine and thread, she still managed to concoct a winning formula with her spot on clothing line, House of Spy. One part lady-like vintage mixed with a dash of whimsy and an astute eye for detail, the Spring collection is definitely “One to watch” worthy. The designer explains that the name House of Spy was inspired by fashion institutions like the Houses of Chanel and Dior. Well, we have a feeling that Ms. Wong is on her way to creating her own place in fashion history.
Q: Your slogan reads “Streetwear designed for the new millennium.” Can you elaborate on what that idea means?
Actually that was the slogan years ago when the line was much more “streety.” It was very much inspired by the whole electronic music scene, and I haven’t been able to figure out how to change that slogan on the web search engine!
Q: Your bio shares a rather interesting story. You were studying biology, and then you took a part-time job as a receptionist at a design school, began taking classes and then started your own line. What made you decide to make the transition and commit to fashion full-time? Did you have any interest in fashion prior to working at the design college?
Coming from a Chinese background, going to school for anything artsy was definitely not going to happen. If it weren’t for the part-time job, I never would’ve even considered fashion school. Yes, I was always into fashion from a young age and had just learned to sew and was making my own clothes right before I got the job, but I always thought science was my career path. I don’t always believe in “fate”, but if there was ever a time where the stars aligned, it was the free fashion tuition at that point in my life
At one point I was going to two schools, working two part-time jobs and throwing myself into every fashion event I could.
I finally decided to make the transition to full time fashion after taking part in several local fashion shows and actually having stores come up and ask where they could buy my designs. I realized that there was a market for what I was doing and just went for it.
Q: Is there any special significance behind the name House of Spy?
Back when I started the line, during the whole electronic music rage, I had wanted to call it Spy clothing, but after a search I realized that there were TONS of lines called Spy. Calling it House of Spy was a bit of a play on words, it was obviously a small, indie line catering to a niche market, but named after the big Houses like House of Chanel and House of Dior.
Q: Who’s the ideal House of Spy woman? Or what kind of woman do you imagine wearing your clothes?
The ideal woman is a stylish and hip young or young at heart woman. She effortlessly mixes new with old, high and low and isn’t afraid to make a statement.
Q: We love your quirky aesthetic. What are you currently inspired by?
Oh geez, inspiration always changes but like most designers, I’ve got a thing for vintage and that has always inspired me. The ladylike details of the 20s, the wild colors and patterns of the 60s and 70s and just the general attention to detail and construction from the past.
I’m currently heading to Buenos Aires, where I’ll be working on my new spring 09 collection, I have a feeling it could have a latin flavor to it.
Q: Your clothes have names like “Butter Biscuit” and “Ms. Pacman.” What’s the story behind the names?
Every season I usually work with a theme. Last fall’s theme was “English Tea Party” hence all the names had references to that, like Butter Biscuit. I like to have fun when I do things so you’ll also see coats from that season named Posh and Becks!
Q: How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is hard to pin down. I obviously wear a ton of my own designs, mixed in with a liberal amount of vintage and a little bit of new. I like to switch it up but if I have to be pegged down it would be a hybrid of edgy/sexy/feminine/playful, just like House of Spy!
Q: Tell us about a few of your favorite items from your spring/summer collection?
Some of my faves are the Gabby, strapless bubble dress in purple, the Sateen jumpsuit and the Cadet bomber. I’ve been rocking them all already!
Q: Can you share any future plans for House of Spy? Is there anything you’d like our readers to know about yourself or the line?
Well, House of Spy just recently started a secondary knitwear line called Beatrice Holloway by House of Spy. It’s a really sweet and feminine tops and dresses line offered at a bit of a lower price point. I’ve also been thinking about moving into the accessories market but no immediate future plans as yet. Expansion into Asia and Europe are top on our list for target markets, probably next season I’m sure!