Fashion designer Alexander Wang has spoken out after being accused of sexual assault by several models, most of them anonymous, who shared their stories via ShitModelManagement and Diet Prada, two Instagram accounts whose mission it is to expose malpractice in the fashion industry.
The wave of new allegations began last month, when graphic designer and model Owen Mooney described an incident in 2017 when he and a group of friends went to see the rapper Cupcakke perform at a club in New York City.
"I was by myself at one point and this guy next to me obviously took advantage of the fact that no one could fucking move," Mooney alleged in a TikTok video. "And he just started touching me up. Fully up my leg, in my crotch. It made me freeze completely because I was in so much shock. Then I look to my left to see who it was and it was this really famous fashion designer and I just couldn't believe that he was doing that to me. It just made me go into even more shock. I just had to slowly move myself away.
He continued, "Now, any time I see his name mentioned or see him with celebrity best friends, it just reminds me of what he did, and it's a really fucked-up memory to have."
Though Mooney didn't name the designer, he later confirmed in a followup video that he was talking about Wang.
According to the Guardian, Wang's lawyer stated this particular incident "never happened" and that he "believes Mooney is mistaken about who allegedly groped him."
After Mooney's story was reposted by SMM and Diet Prada, several anonymous users messaged the accounts directly with additional accusations against Wang -- including claims of drugging, raping, and coercing models into sexual situations.
Out has been unable to verify the identities of these accusers to examine their claims but Wang has responded to them.
"Over the last few days, I have been on the receiving end of baseless and grotesquely false accusations," the designer said in a statement. "These claims have been wrongfully amplified by social media accounts infamous for posting defamatory material from undisclosed and/or anonymous sources with zero evidence or any fact-checking whatsoever."
"Seeing these lies about me being perpetuated as truths has been infuriating. I never engaged in the atrocious behavior described and would never conduct myself in the manner that's been alleged," he continued. "I intend to get to the bottom of this and hold accountable whoever is responsible for originating these claims and viciously spreading them online."
Wang's personal Instagram account, as well as that of his brand's, turned off the ability to leave comments on recent posts.
Another accuser was Gia Garison, a trans model and actor, who alleged that one night while at a club in 2017, Wang "tried to pull my panties down and expose my genitals in the VIP area," adding, "I just remember dancing around and he was chilling with his posse and then reached for my bikini bottoms I was wearing and tried to tug them downwards."
"I said: 'What are you doing, what the fuck,' and stepped away," Garison continued, according to reports. "I didn't make much of it in the moment because I was just in club mode and tried to let things brush off my shoulder and not ruin my night ... I've done many shoots where they've wanted to put me in his clothing since and I've just said no."
Wang's lawyer has since stated the designer "has never grabbed any woman" in the manner alleged by Garison.
The Guardian identified a male model named Nick who alleged that he "blacked out at one club and found [Wang] giving me a hand job," before explaining a second incident where he claims he "blacked out in our Uber and woke up to getting oral from [Wang] in the car. I honestly feel so embarrassed and manipulated."
Model Alliance, one of the few policy groups in the United States that has championed legislation to protect the safety of models, spoke out in support of the victims.
"We at the Model Alliance stand in solidarity with those who have shared accusations of sexual abuse by Alexander Wang," a post from Model Alliance reads. "Let's be clear: The fashion industry's lack of transparency and accountability leaves all models vulnerable to abuse, regardless of their sex and gender identity."
It added, "That's why we're championing for the RESPECT Program, which would provide a proper complain mechanism for models to safely report misconduct, professional investigations, and real consequences for those who abuse their power. Our goal is to work toward prevention. You can learn more about the program at programforrespect.org/learn."
Wang founded his brand in 2005. He was creative director at the Paris-based fashion house Balenciaga from 2012 to 2015. Over the course of his career, the designer helped usher streetwear and sportswear into the luxury markets but has also garnered widespread appeal as evicenced by his 2014 H&M collaboration.