Shanghai to NYC

How menswear designer Feng Chen Wang is building a nomadic global brand
By Alex Baker | Fashion | 11 July 2017

Feng Chen Wang SS17. Photography Harry Clark.

This article is part of Fashion Week – London, Milan, Paris, NYC

Top image: Feng Chen Wang SS17. Photo by Harry Clark

With so many budding talents out to make a name for themselves, the competition for emerging designers is tough. Which makes 2015 RCA Graduate Feng Chen Wang’s fast rise all the more impressive. After showing collections in New York, London and Shanghai and with fashion platforms V-Files, MAN and Fashion East, the designer today returns to the Big Apple for her SS18 show.

Feng Chen Wang’s designs draw a line between conceptualism and minimalism. Her main focus is on technical outerwear, manipulating such fabrics to drastically alter the male silhouette – a welcome shake up within the realm of menswear. Combined with sportswear fabrics and colour blocking, her aesthetic feels both bold and modern.

Though based between London and Shanghai, this season is somewhat of a homecoming for the designer, who showed her first ever collection in New York. Here, she reflects on the collection and the global nature of her burgeoning brand.

Feng Chen Wang SS17. Photo by Harry Clark

Alex Baker: What made you want to take the leap to NYFW:M after showing at MAN previously?
Feng Cheng Wang: My first collection was shown in New York so it was a little leap to somewhere I am so familiar with. It feels natural to move about between countries, as sometimes we are in Shanghai or London or New York.

What have you learnt about yourself and your aesthetic since graduating from the RCA in 2015?
For me it has been a strong experience as I have changed so quickly from a student to a designer and it’s sometimes hard to learn to change so fast. But also it’s good to feel change. I spent a lot of time working on my techniques and developing the technical design of my clothing through testing, to create something people connect to.

Even though you are London-base, your first collection was in New York as part of the V-Files Runway. Do you feel like coming back to New York to show this collection is a form of homecoming?
Yes exactly. There are so many things I relate to in NY, the people and the city. It’s really amazing to be back here and have the experience again. Also, to show what we have been working on in London and Shanghai in another city is a lot of fun.

“It feels natural to move about between countries, as sometimes we are in Shanghai or London or New York.”

Feng Chen Wang SS17. Photo by Harry Clark

What excites you about NYFW:M?
I really like that NYFW:M  is young and it’s the same age as us! It feels like a really good fit and I think we can bring something special to show.

Why do you think you have come so far so quickly? Have things grown quite organically?
For me, I always have focused firstly on my work and the design and everything from there followed. So I guess it has been organic, but I am so grateful to have the opportunities I have had and continue to have. I have been so lucky to have amazing support from organisations such as MAN, V Files and The CFDA as well as my immediate team, family, and friends.

Your work often focusses on technicality, balancing the conceptual and the minimal. Is this collection an extension of these qualities, or are you trying something completely different this season?
I still keep the direction and concepts you mention, I just try to develop further the technical aspects and keep the balance in the collection. This season I am trying something different in trying to reach the middle ground between conceptual design and the practicality of the clothing, which reflects the ‘Made in China’ inspiration for the collection.

What are you hoping to get out of the leap across the pond to NYFW:M?
For me it is a great opportunity to show in a new arena, I just want to display our work here and I hope people can connect to our ideas.

Feng Chen Wang shows at NYFWM on Tuesday 11th July. Stay tuned for our fashion week coverage. 

Gallery: Feng Chen Wang FW17


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