fengchen wang: the london menswear designer with her sights on the lvmh prize
Meet the newest edition to MAN, who creates collections that draw on her personal past and envision a bold new future.
Fengchen Wang is the Chinese-born, London-based menswear designer you need to know about. Despite having only graduated last summer from an MA at The Royal College of Art, she's already been nominated for this year's LVMH Prize, and has just been announced as the latest edition to MAN, joining London's favorite loverboy, Charles Jeffrey, and fellow newcomer, Per Götesson.
With a keen emphasis on narrative, Fengchen turns the personal into the political and vice versa. Her first collection, Love & Life, was shown as part of VFILES during NYFW spring/summer 16, drew on her father's battle with cancer; while her second collection, I AM A MAN, presented as part of MADE Fashion Week at Milk Studios, explored notions of youth and inner freedom. Currently prepping for her next collection to be unveiled at MAN, we raise a glass to one of London's most exciting young designers and discover just why she caught the collective eye of Fashion East and TOPMAN. Here are 10 things you need to know about Fengchen.
1. She didn't always want to be a designer.
"I didn't think I would be a fashion designer when I was really young -- I wanted to be an artist."
2. She used to be a big fan of Sailor Moon.
"When I was around eight-years-old I really liked a Japanese cartoon named Sailor Moon. It was very interesting to me as a kid and I started drawing clothes on the body, like on the Sailor Moon body, just for fun."
3. She draws on her own personal experiences.
"I am driven by my experiences and collate my discoveries and personal narratives into my work. My inspiration consists of modern interpretation of my worldview and contemporary culture in their various forms. Each collection is a deeper examination of the body, silhouettes, and empowerment. I'm always inspired by the people around me and real life. My graduate collection Love & Life was an interpretation of my experience dealing with my father's cancer diagnosis and survival."
4. She's most excited by…
"This week's announcement that I'll be part of the MAN show line-up! And also being a part of the LVMH Prize Shortlist. It's a total honor. I couldn't have hoped for a better platform for my work."
5. If she could have designed any collection in the world it would be…
"The story of Adam and Eve. I would like to design the environment around the body."
6. Her dream collaboration is…
"Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat."
7. She thinks the best part of living in London is…
"The diversity of the city in terms of its varied cultures -- and its emphasis on the individual -- is always inspiring. There are support programs offered -- should you be lucky enough to obtain them, as I have been for my first season with MAN. And there's a long list of amazing London-based designers both past and present."
8. There's always music playing in her studio.
"It depends on what I'm working on and the mood. Sometimes Lana Del Rey or Serge Gainsbourg, or sometimes Akon!"
9. She has a couple of surprises in store for next season.
"It's very exciting, and more developed. We've improved technically and have made the body feel more free inside the garments."
10. She has big hopes and dreams.
"I hope that I can always create collections that I love and that other people love."
Text Tish Weinstock