Designer Alexander Wang has had a big year. He unveiled a surprise Adidas collaboration. He threw a wild house party featuring Kylie Jenner, Metro Boomin', ASAP Ferg, and Tinashe. He staged a triumphant show for his fall collection, featuring one very covetable sweater with the silhouette of a stripper on a pole. He won a lawsuit against counterfeiters, put his New York City loft on the market, and became the first fashion designer to be named an Apple Music curator. And now, right at the buzzer, he's squeezed in one more piece of news before 2016 is through: today's reveal of the new Beats Studio Wireless—Alexander Wang Special Edition.
The dove grey headphones come with custom croc-embossed Italian leather accents, with a case to match, and mark the latest in a collaboration between the New York-based designer and the audio giant, three years after their first partnership. For Wang, it was a chance to incorporate some fashion-forward thinking into an item most of us use every day.
"I really wanted the second collaboration to stand out in the crowded arena of the premium headphone market," he says. "Typically, headphone design isn’t really known to incorporate innovative materials or graphic elements, so it was important for us to ensure that the end product felt luxurious without being pretentious, with a focus on textures and architectural lines."
Wang has collaborated with other companies aside from Beats before, too—in addition to the aforementioned Adidas co-branded collection, he also designed a capsule collection for H&M in 2014. But his connection to music is a core part of his brand identity, from his carefully-curated runway playlists to the musicians who take the stage at his Fashion Week afterparties; those events have become notorious for their unannounced performers like Fetty Wap, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, and Missy Elliott. "I think the secret to any successful event is always including some element of surprise and unpredictability," he says. "I love musicians because they personify their work."
Even though Wang keeps it quiet when he's getting down to business—"People are surprised to hear that in the studio, working on the collection, I don’t listen to music," he reports—you can rest assured he'll be making good use of the headphones of his own design. In his own words, "It’s the full package."