Internship in Paris Leads to Full-time Work for Fashion Design Graduate


Zhangchi Wang. Courtesy of Zhangchi Wang.

Zhangchi Wang, Academy of Art University alumna (fashion design, B.F.A. ’12) recently received a full-time position at Saint Laurent Paris after being awarded a French exchange opportunity to study in Paris. Wang began as an intern at Saint Laurent and is now working as a 3-D design assistant. Wang catches us up on everything she’s been doing since graduation.

What did you study at the School of Fashion?

I studied womenswear design and also took applied textile classes until level 4.

Tell us about what you have been doing since graduation and about your internship experience in Paris.

After graduating, I left San Francisco for Paris and spent a year at Studio Bercot. Right after that, I started my internship at Saint Laurent, which lasted for a year.

What was an average day for you at Saint Laurent? Any mistakes you learned from during your experience as an intern?

My responsibilities include researching volume, silhouette and design details through cutting, draping and pattern making. In short, I proposed designs in 3-D manner. Everyday, every project could be a challenge. It involves problem solving and there’s always techniques that I need to learn.

Do you have any role models within the company?

There are a lot of role models. I respect our team leader who is never impatient under intense pressure and manages to stay energetic.

Funny stories?

My manager who has worked for Yohji, Christian Lacroix, Jean Paul Gaultier told me she had to Google who Lady Gaga was when Lady Gaga had an interview with Gaultier.

What do you love about Saint Laurent?

The quality and the extremely high standard of their products, as well as the amount of work and attention they devote to their creative process.

Where do you find inspiration?  

The city itself brings around endless inspiration. As well as countless exhibitions and performances.

Any fashion icons?

Yohji Yamamoto, Madame Grès, Alaia [and] Viktor & Rolf.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Something I have recently realized is that I can hardly foresee anything. There could be changes the following moment. It is difficult to say, but I shall always keep my hands busy either handling fabric, a pencil or maybe, at some point, I will be playing around with plaster, wood or paper. There are lots of possibilities.

What advice would you give to current students?

Please never use “I want to sew” as a reason to abandon your CDFP classes, because one day you will find that the lack of technique is what stops you from being creative.

Anything else you would like to share?

I miss being a student at the Academy of Art University because France fashion schools are very independent. It is such a precious opportunity to have a lot of different majors within one school. I have learned quite a bit from my friends in industrial design, photography, etc. Furthermore, Academy of Art University has the best teachers in the School of Fashion.