“The season is about balance,” says Feng Chen Wang. “I’m trying to find that line of balance between the show pieces and my more wearable pieces, I think it is really important for any new brand.”
Wang is nothing if not pragmatic. A clear-thinker, she is well aware of the tightrope walking required to survive in the fashion industry. Her concept-driven outerwear is breaking new ground globally and has resulted in a number of high profile collaborations.
“After graduating (from the Royal College of Art in London), New York was the very first fashion week where I showed. So it has a special place in my heart. Plus we’ve had a lot of interest over here,” the designer explains, fresh from her third runway outing, which this season was at Manhattan’s Industria Studios. She is in a upbeat mood, and rightfully so, given her collaborations with two iconic American brands, Converse and Levi’s, both incorporated into the SS’19 collection.
“I want to create a new shape for the male body”
What or who is your other half? — a question Wang is currently pondering. The word ‘half’ runs though the collection, with items of clothing merging together on the runway. Shirts are draped on top of one another and jackets, a brand staple, are layered. Sections of fabric appear carved out: as seen in a shiny PVC chest-piece that hugs the body. “I want to create a new shape for the male body,” says Wang, who was inspired by diagrams mapping body temperatures.
The word "half" also appears emblazoned on baseball hats, and the concept is teased out in the Chuck T’s All Stars, that appear cut-up and spliced together, some with lacing details on the back. Denim coats are dishevelled, and appear haphazardly pieced together.
Wang’s iconic trench opened proceedings, this time in startling white cut through in splashes of cool blue, while new additions included suits and shirting alongside an expansion into bags and jewellery. Created in the from of hands, bags dangled from waistbands and shoulders, and over-sized shapes were carried. The Feng Chen Wang woman was also present, appearing on the runway for the first time with swimwear, alongside cropped jackets and an oversized outerwear, all in luminous wet-look materials.
Of the category expansion, Wang explains: “I think people say I see different things for men as a female, but it is just two halves, and we have our commonality,” she says. “That’s why this season, I decided to experiment and design a few pieces for women. They buy my products anyway, so it was just logical.” Based between London and Shanghai, the Feng Chen Wang brand is itself a story of two halves and now, with the introduction of womenswear, perhaps Wang has found her other half.