Fashion Modern Minimalist - i-am- chen


Chinese brand i-am-Chen is celebrating its fifth season continues to bring the fun and light-hearted spirit to the audience.  The brand constantly challenges and exploits the capabilities of various knitting machines. Whilst working with some of the world-class technicians, Chen reinterprets the definition of knitting by pushing of advanced machinery, applying state of the art techniques and experimenting with a diversity of yarns in bold and eye-catching garments.

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As a designer, Chen’s origins lie on engineering, she always felt like a creative outside, uninterested in the strong conceptual ideas that many of her peers encourage.  Instead, her alternative perspective has afforded her vision free of fashion norms and is instead, often inspired by 20th Century Artists.

She has successfully blurred the lines between fashion, art and technology.

Chen’s AW19 collection Unclassifiable, she has focused on classic elements such as grid, line and point. During her researching phase,  Chen took inspiration from the American abstract painter Agnes Martin, she has discovered the ingenious painting approach to bring classic shapes to life.

Through this collection, Chen hopes to recreate these traditional shapes employing her literacy in the newest, most innovative knitting language.

The new collection shares the intrinsic dichotomy of Martin’s work, who had been widely regarded as a minimalist for her generic, reception but has always self- identified as abstract expressionists for her vibrant details. On the other hand, Chen appears to be an abstract expressionist in her use of colour but is extraordinary minimalistic in her approach to the actual making of the garments.

She loves the juxtaposition of simplicity and richness as well as the subtle but solid release of energy in Martin’s paintings, whilst Martin expresses her emotion in a hidden manner through traditional shapes and lines, Chen hints her minimalistic design under the intricate yarn swatches in explosive colours.  Exploiting the advanced knitting machines and pushing these machines to perform totally new and pioneering techniques thus composing new fabrics with yarns of distinctive characters and colours.  

Since the inception back in 2017,  i-am-chen has received significant international recognition and was commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art to create a pencil skirt for its exhibition Items: Is Fashion Modern:  and was the recipient of the SS19 Fashion Scout Merit Award.

Words:  Ash Allibhai

Image Credits: Fashion Scout


james may