Zang Toi biking with Lance Armstrong
Zang Toi biking with Lance Armstrong

DALLAS, Aug 10, 2008 / FW/ — Catching New York-based designer Zang Toi for a chat is like netting a rare butterfly. Between his trunk shows and biking with Lance Armstrong to raise funds for cancer research, the only way to talk to Zang was either via mobile phone and/ or email.

“I was actually in Malaysia to attend my niece’s wedding the first time you called,” Zang Toi said, explaining to me that instead of designing the wedding gown, he actually designed the wedding cake!

And eureka, Zang Toi actually answered the second question of my interview, “if you were not a fashion designer, what would you be?” without even knowing it.

“I’ll probably be a restaurateur or decorator if I’m not a fashion designer. I truly enjoyed doing that part for my niece’s wedding.”

As it turned out, the whole interview would be backwards, with Zang Toi answering my questions even before I asked them as our conversation flowed naturally. Case in point, Zang was telling me that though it was tiring, he thoroughly enjoys having trunk shows because he gets to know his clientele better.

He then said, “Fashion for me is to help the ladies create their own signature, stylish & beautiful look,” which actually answered my question, “what is fashion for?”

“The ladies could not get enough of my signature cashmere/silk/wool cardigan wrap with mink border. All of them own it in multiple colors! If there was an accessory I’ll continue designing, it will be that one,” Zang said, as if on cue, he was answering, “if you were allowed to design ONLY ONE item of clothing and/or accessory, which would it be?”

And like true friends who are truly catching up, I told Zang that I quit smoking and as a result I gained 30 pounds that I’m having a hard time losing. He said, “Whatever you do, don’t wear Spandex! If I had my way, I’ll banish them forever!”

We both laughed because my next question was “if the fashion gods told you to banish ONE item of clothing and/or accessory forever, which would it be?” His answer was of course, “Spandex for middle-age men & women.”

Since fashion is very important to both of us, it was hard not to discuss the death of Yves Saint Laurent whom both of us admire. “YSL is a fashion god in my eyes,” Zang said, which of course made me almost fall off my chair because he just answered the last question of my interview, When someone says Aphrodite or Ares, everyone knows they are referring to the Goddess of Love and the God of War, respectively. If you were going to give the fashion god a name, what would it be? Will the fashion god be male or female or neither?

With the interview done (or did it even happen the way things turned out), it was time to talk about the upcoming New York Spring 2009 season.

“Last year, during the Spring 2008 season, I chose to hold a fund raising event to present my collection. It was so successful that all the members of ‘Team Toi for Livestrong’ suggested that we do an encore,” Zang related.

“I was at the tents last February, during the Fall 2008 season. So, I’m not really leaving Bryant Park. Maybe, this could be the start of a tradition. Spring for charity and Fall at the tents.”

Last year, Team Toi for Livestrong raised $267,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation for cancer research and survivorship. For 2008, Zang Toi and his whole team plans to break their own record.

“That’s the reason why I’ll be presenting my Spring 2009 collection at the 2008 Team Toi for Livestrong Charity Fashion Event on Sep 11 from 12:00 NN to 3:00 PM at Daniel located at Madison & Park,” Zang said.

“It’s for a good cause and I hope to see a lot of fashionistas there, including you of course,” Zang added. I promised I would and that I would not miss it for the world.

Zang Toi Spring 2009 Show
Sep 11, 2008, 12:00 NN to 3:00 PM
Daniel Restaurant
Madison and Park Avenues
New York, NY


[New York Fashion Week Spring 2009]