i-am-chen, a Hong Kong based brand founded by Zhi Chen is the SS19 Fashion Scout Merit Award champion, and rightly so. Her beautifully coloured garments are youthful and fresh, comfortably fitted and totally lust-worthy.
The Merit Award talent initiative was founded in 2009 to support new and upcoming designers. Previous winners are now some of fashion’s most exciting labels, such as Eudon Choi, Pheobe English and David Koma.
i-am-chen caught the judge’s attention through its vibrant take on knitwear which is achieved through applying state-of-the-art techniques onto knitting machines. World class technicians push the limits of knitwear by experimenting with a mixture of different yarns, achieving ensembles which feel effortlessly cool, fun and breathable for Spring Summer 2019.
The designer – an Engineering student drop-out – sees herself more as a technician, spending most of her time in the factory experimenting with the capabilities of textile machinery. As a result, Chen has developed her sturdy Lycra knit so it remains tactile and flattering, and has incorporated a new fine silk knit into this collection. The designer has hit the nail on the head by combining the smooth fluidity of silk knits with chunky yarns to balance proportion and add texture.
For this amazing collection, the designer found inspiration from the beauty of her natural surroundings and the film “The Scent of Green Papaya”. She also turned to artists such as Alexander Calder and David Hockney for their unapologetic usages of colour which immediately evoke a cheerful atmosphere.
“Chen strives to combine aesthetics and technology to deliver immaculate chic pieces comprised of stunningly intricate fabrics”
Commissioned by New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to create a pencil skirt for the recent exhibition entitled Is Fashion Modern?, i-am-chen is also currently in the running for the coveted International Woolmark Prize. Despite only being born in 2017, the brand is certainly making moves in the Fashion world with an ever-growing trophy collection, and it is certainly well deserved.
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Text: Natalie Zannikos
Images: Emily Pringle