Chinese fashion designer Feng Chen Wang closed London Fashion Week Men’s with a poetic and culturally rich collection that pays tribute to her grandma and gives diminishing Chinese traditional techniques a modern update.
Bits and bites of Chinese elements are cleverly weaved and placed into the collection. The use of “Lanyinhuabu,” or roughly translated into blue tie-dyed fabric, is a great example. The making of the fabric employs a form of starch-resisting dyeing, using soybean mixed with lime chalk, manufactured by the few remaining artisans.
“I visited five villages in my hometown and found two workshops that still produce them,” said Wang, who rediscovered the fabric her grandmother always wore when she visited her hometown in China’s Fujian province early this year. She fuses the centuries-old technique into her sporty and energetic design language. For example, the natural lines formed in the making process on the back of an oversize shirt make each piece unique and somewhat resemble Wolfgang Tillmans’ Freischwimmer series.
Chinese bamboo art is another key element that shines across the collection, from a decorative bamboo hat paired with a bright orange trenchcoat with raw fringes, to artisanal pieces where bamboo weaving, a technique that is usually used in making homeware or furniture, is utilized to created the beautiful body armor seen in the closing look.
Her collection also carries a sense of tranquil beauty, which is highly appreciated in Chinese traditional art and has never been seen in her previous works. Acid washed green and lilac denim items are matched with transparent mesh jackets and trenchcoats and a pair of Converse x Feng Chen Wang Chuck Taylor All Star.
“Traditions and family values have been passed down from generations. When I moved to London, I thought I finally got to escape the old and dusty traditions, but now, as I grow wiser, I begin to see these are my cornerstone that makes who Feng Chen Wang is today. China is a country with 5,000 years of civilization and it’s up to people like me to write the next chapter of its story,” she said.