Angel Chen’s designs are punchy and bold, full of broad paint strokes and printed characters that are at once playful yet powerful. The China-based designer creates staple pieces that are not only meant to be seen but heard. For behind her design ethos is a message communicating the creativity, strength, and innovative spirit of the Chinese culture. Since her graduation from Central Saint Martins in 2014 and subsequent launch of her eponymous label the following year, Chen has found herself amidst the growing wave of young Asian creatives creating fashion on their own terms and changing how the world dresses as a result.
Earlier this week, it was announced that Swedish retailer H&M had tapped Chen to design their upcoming capsule collection which is slated to drop in September 2019. This move marks the brand’s first ever collaboration with a Chinese designer and will be heavily influenced by Chen’s East meets West ethos. The collection will include lines for both men and women, featuring staple pieces such as a mesh suit covered in crane and dragon print and floor-length maxi sequin dress with a crane motif, which won’t run the risk of skimping on colour.
Since the launch of her label, Chen has been busy creating collections that have been shown in London, Shanghai and Milan fashion weeks. She has also worked with celebrities like Bella Hadid, Charli XCX and Fan Bingbing. Of the H&M collaboration, she excitedly shared what this new venture means for her growth as a designer: “given how close I am to my Chinese heritage (and to the Chinese culture in general) and, at the same time, how international my spirit feels, it definitely means a lot to partner up with such a key player in the western contemporary fashion system. Being approached by such a big company was also meaningful and a sign that, as a fashion brand, Angel Chen is moving to the next step.”
But it’s not just Angel Chen that will be receiving a long-awaited place on the global fashion platform. This collaboration is opportunity for the fashion enthusiasts around the world to learn more about the Chinese, and the broader Asian cultures which has been influencing European fashion for centuries. “Angel Chen x H&M is a capsule collection and the inspiration comes from a Chinese traditional martial art, commonly known as Kung Fu. Plenty of elements in it (pine tree, bamboo, dragon, etc) are typically associated to the Chinese culture but experimentation was permeating the entire design journey,” explained Chen. “I’ve combined, for example, very different types of embroidery and, for the silhouette, we’ve been pulling ideas from some of the iconic kimono elements. The line is mainly aiming at the Chinese and Asian Market. However, it’s also launching in North America which is a big achievement for me!”
Sustainability continues to be at the forefront of H&M’s agenda, and along with Chen, they are working to ensure that as new collections are released they continuously address the global pollution fashion has contributed to. “It was discussed to integrate sustainable practices into this project and therefore the design of some pieces was implemented with sustainable material, including the mesh top and tights with prints and all over logos which are made of 100% recycled nylon mesh fabric, just one example confirming both brands’ huge respect to the environmental cause,” shared Chen. Here’s to embracing a more inclusive fashion industry while working to protect the earth for future generations to come.
The Angel Chen x H&M collection will be available in selected stores and online in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Canada in September 2019, as well as online stores of Macau and Philippines.