Back to Basics with KENCHEN
Minimal, adaptable, with bold details. That is how Ken Chen is approaching his Fall/Winter collection this year from fashion capital, New York City. Coming to America to attend school in 2008 from Taiwan, Ken never imagined his life would lead him to become the fashion designer he is today.
Originally attending the University of San Francisco to pursue the preforming arts, Ken focused on opera, figure Skating, and violin. Eventually his passion for design would lead him to transfer to the Academy of Art in 2012 to study fashion. Although, it was a year prior to that the KENCHEN label came to be. In 2011, with his friend’s support, he started creating his first garments and making a name for himself in San Francisco. The one thing that Ken stood by from day one was the handcrafted quality of the clothes he made.
“I will not compromise the quality of my designs for quantity,” Ken said in our phone interview. “My designs are always about the quality.” A trait, instilled by his grandmother, that became a big part of the KENCHEN attitude towards design. “That is why we use hand crafted zippers from Switzerland and Italy” and “source our fabrics across Europe and America” said Chen. In the past he has also purchased overstock fabrics from high end designers, such as Armani, where he knows he can trust the standard of superior quality. “We also have been environmentally conscious since the beginning”. In an industry that was slow to follow the trend, Ken has always been paying attention to how his designs are made, where they are made and how they will make an effect, environmentally. He explained that this Is an important factor in the leather and dyes used and how much waste is produced from it.
His Fall/Winter 2016 collection is inspired by functionality and subtlety, while maintaining the urban chic style Ken is known for. He stated, “We are exploring new sizes” and “adding new colors”. He went on to explain that not all his customers fall within the small, medium, and large sizes most brands see as “standard”. So, he is also designing for both the smaller figure and the larger figures, to be tailored in a way where it’s both flattering and comfortable. However, this is not just with the women’s line, the men’s is also getting new sizes because not all men fit into the 6 foot 32 waist category like some brands tend to believe. And that’s not all that’s new. In previous collections, they were mostly geared towards urban populations and the high fashion conscious individual, but this year, he strives to make a collection that can be worn in both New York City and small towns alike, while still providing comfort and impeccable style. When I asked him what his favorite piece in the current collection was he quickly stated “the jeans!” A seemingly unlikely contender to other pieces he explains, “they are hard to fit really well, but these seem to flatter everyone!” And explains this is achieved by “contouring to the body without being tight.”
Looking toward the future, he wants KENCHEN to be the staple pieces in your closet. Go-to pieces you can’t live without, not just that one key fashion piece for certain occasions. With classic silhouettes, sharp lines, and signature details KENCHEN appeals to a large range of individuals. This year the brand is switching it up when it comes to models that lie outside the “standard”. He’s using different aged men and women from 16 to late 70s to show that more than a 25-year-old can wear his creations.
To add to Kens achievements, he has participated in New York’s fashion week, has designed pieces for feature-films, and had countless articles written about him and his work by various publications. You can visit his website and store at https://www.kenchensf.com or his social media @kenchensf to view and pre-order his F/W16 collection.
As a writer I say good luck to Kens future collections, as a good friend I say he doesn’t need it.