Sandy Liang, Designer


“When I was little, I would take my brothers’ notebooks and draw all the time. I was always into drawing, but drawing fashion specifically. I was telling someone this the other day—I think the reason why I really enjoy clothes and all of that stuff is because I didn’t wear nice things when I was little. Everybody had the cool Gap jeans and stuff, and I had the Old Navy jeans that were on sale. I was very much like, ‘Oh my gosh… Those Sketchers are so special but I can’t have them.’ [Laughs] When I graduated from high school, I went to Parsons for Fashion Design. I interned, too, so that whole experience was really cool.

What really bothered me about school was how they taught you to design, like it was a formula. ‘Choose something to be inspired by and design around that.’ I was always like, how do you do that? How do you look at a painting, or how do you look at a building, and automatically feel something and design clothes from that? For me, it’s more about the girl. And it’s personal for me. I designed this puffer jacket because I used to hate puffer jackets when I was little, but I had to wear them, and the feathers would stick out! That’s funny to me, so I’d incorporate that into my clothes.

The Sandy Liang girl’s outfits are about her attitude—she has a day where she wants to wear a really big puffer jacket, and she also has a day where she really wants to wear a tweed dress with crystals on it. There has to be some sort of like weird balance, otherwise I don’t feel like myself. When I go out, it’s lipstick and a heel—with really big jeans. Or maybe a dress, but with flat sandals. You will never find me in a tight dress and heels.

I really enjoy the process of getting ready because I get to put music on and I get to just be home for awhile. You know FOMO, Fear Of Missing Out? I’m really into JOMO—the Joy Of Missing Out. I haven’t gone out in a really long time, I’ve just been staying in. So tonight I’m just like, ‘Let’s all go out!’

When I get ready, I start by cleansing with either Cerave or Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser, depending on how I’m feeling. I use the Foreo Luna to exfoliate. After that, I use Aesop’s Parsley Seed Toner, which smells really nice and kind of medicinal. And then I moisturize with Cerave Moisturizing Cream, which my dermatologist told me to use. I’ll also use the Skinceuticals Phloretin CF, which I actually read about on an Into The Gloss article. I would use it more often, but the smell is really strong.

Then I do RMS Buriti Bronzer. I’ve gone through so many pots of it. I fucking love it, and I just apply it to my cheeks. I can’t do blush or foundation or anything too makeup-y on my face, and when I have the bronzer on, because I know it’s natural, I don’t feel guilty wearing it. I can just smear it on, let it melt in, and not really have to think about it. I can’t use any other bronzer.

For my eyes, I’ll use Sephora’s Colorful Shadow and Liner Crayon in Brown. I like to put that at the very ends of my eyes. And I want to brag—I’ve sort of perfected the cat-eye. I love Stila Liquid Liner, it’s the only one I can really use. I can’t handle a pencil. And so many liquid liners are expensive, this is the most reasonable! For mascara, I’ll do that thing where my lashes are just chunky and kind of crazy. I use Diorshow because it’s very dramatic.

My going-out makeup is pretty similar to my day makeup, that never really changes. But then I’ll do a lipstick. I have this really, really good MAC Lipstick in Instigator. It’s a great plum color, and it’s really matte. I also have a similar Tom Ford one. The shade is called Jay, but we all know it’s Jay-Z. For Christmas, someone gave me this Christian Louboutin Lipstick, and I was like, ‘What is this like ornament-looking thing? I’m never going to use this, this is ridiculous.’ And then I put it on and it’s the perfect matte, normal lip color. It’s really good. But it’s really expensive. It’s so unlike me, but it’s just perfect.

Before I go out, I have to put on perfume, otherwise I feel really weird. I use Le Labo Gaiac 10. I used to do the Santal 33, and then I was in a coffee shop reading the New York Times and there was an article about it, and once I read that, I was like, ‘I can’t wear this anymore!’

How late I stay out depends on the night. I’ll usually head home a little earlier, because I need Seamless. And I have to shower every single night—for my hair! I get my hair cut at Shizen and I ask them to cut it choppy—that way I can go to bed with my hair looking fucked up, and then I wake up and it’s perfect. If I wash my hair during the day, it won’t look good when I go out. Asian hair is so coarse that nothing really gets it all texture-y, so I just have to sleep in it. I don’t do anything to it. I don’t even own a hairdryer.”

—as told to ITG

Sandy Liang photographed by Tom Newton at her home in New York on February 26, 2015.

More nights out: Maayan Zilermann chooses the mascara that makes her look most doll-like, Shiona Turini perfects the kitchen sink shampoo, and Karley Sciortino prefers two-dollar lipsticks to Dior in the Top Shelf After Dark.