Central Saint Martins graduate Angel Chen talks about how her dream "to be John Galliano" led her from Shenzhen to London and into the world of fashion.
Where did you look for inspiration for your autumn-winter 2016 collection? "I was inspired by the character Marla in the 1999 movie Fight Club. Also, one of my standout pieces is inspired by 1980s and 90s Japanese biker gangsters. They used to come out in the night and wear these super-cool suits. I have incorporated gang culture with traditional kendo, kyudo and Japanese tattoos to create a daring contemporary look with bold colours and mixed textures, adding oriental patterns and punk elements."
Tell us about your career highlights. "My graduation show, 'Les Noces' [The Wedding], at Central Saint Martins [in 2014], attracted really good press from the international media. Collaborating with artists and brands has also been very rewarding for me."
What do you feel about the development of your brand? "I feel really positive. Currently, we're stocked in Opening Ceremony, Lane Crawford, Joyce and H Lorenzo. Also, we've done collaborations with Sony - I created electronic accessories; bags and cases for cellphones and cameras - and with Airbnb and Uber. We specialise in colour, textile and fabric manipulation."
How did you get into fashion? "I come from Shenzhen. As a little girl my grandmother taught me to sew. While I was still at school I was flicking through magazines and saw John Galliano's work. I thought, 'He's what I want to be in the future.' I went to the UK when I was 17 and did the womenswear BA course at Central Saint Martins. During my placement year I did internships in New York with Marchesa, Alexander Wang and Vera Wang. I presented my first ready-to-wear collection, "The Rite of Spring", sponsored by Sony, at Shanghai International Fashion Week, in October 2014."
When did you last visit Hong Kong? "Last November. I helped with the staging and designed a special collection for singer Ivana Wong, when she celebrated her decade-long collaboration with musician, producer and composer Alex Fung."