In this issue, we welcome CHENPENG. First being recognized after the 2014 London Fashion Week, CHENPENG has become a brand loved by many around the world and famous for its “down jackets”.
Nana : Can you give us a brief introduction to CHENPENG?
CHENPENG : CHENPENG was established in 2015 by designer Chen Peng after his graduation show. The brand first set up its studio in London and was later relocated to Shanghai. The brand first gained attraction among the international street style contingent for its bold, one-size for all quilted puffer jackets, and was soon picked up by stores around the world.
CHENPENG puts forward the fashion equalitarianism(one-size fashion). By wearing the same dress, people of different body shapes will be able to show different beauty. Everyone is their own decision maker. CHENPENG encourages people to blur the limitations of size, gender, skin color, race etc., and thrives for equality.
Nana : Why was the brand initially created?
CHENPENG : My graduation collection was chosen and brought to London Fashion week by Paul Smiths in 2014. The show was unexpectedly successful and I gained quite a lot attention from the press. I think that experience gave me the confidence and the courage to start my own career. It just came to my mind that I want to change the public’s stereotyped image of down jackets and I want to express “down jackets” in a different way, wishing more people could feel my design philosophy by experiencing my products. Also, my tutor encouraged and suggested to use my name as brand name like a lot of individual designers.
Nana : What are some of the things that have influenced the brand up until now?
CHEPENG : I come from Jingdezhen, China, also known as “China town”, an ancient town rich in blue and white porcelain. It’s said that Chinese porcelain takes the fetus as the bone and the glaze as the meat. In my eyes, my works are made of “down jackets” as the bone and materials as the meat. I joined s drama club in University. At first, I was attracted to make-up, and then I became interested in the design of drama costume. I found that fashion design and make-up have something in common, which requires designers to think creatively about the use of color and the contour modification of dark side, and so I chose to apply that to my menswear design after my graduation from London College of Fashion.
Nana : What is your opinion of the current Asian fashion market?
CHENPENG : Asian culture is playing a more and more important role in fashion industry nowadays. With globalization, people have grown to know more about the amazing culture of Asia and more and more people are attracted by the ancient intelligence and lifestyle of eastern spirits. Young designers learned professional skills from western fashion and combined it with their own cultures as they have created a lot of excellent fashion brand and formed the now known Asian fashion map. The internet has speeded the spread of the art and social media and asian artists have helped the promotion of Asian fashion. As designers, we are trying to present the lifestyle of Asian countries and communicate with the rest of the world to seek the possibilities of future fashion.
Nana : We see that your directions for each collection are very well structured and thought out in complex ways. What do you most value when deciding on a theme for each collection?
CHENPENG : I think excellent design and works must have thought and vitality. I wish to tell different stories through my collections, to inspire the public and to make some efforts for the development of fashion. Based on equalitarianism, I will try to find interesting and easy-understanding viewpoints to deliver my feelings.
Nana : The silhouette of the pieces of your brand are very unique. When do you come up with ideas for these designs?
CHENPENG : During my study, I met a good friend and we were always looking around for some fashion pieces on weekends. His body is pretty big while mine is quite slim and so we found it difficult for both of us to get something fit and fashion. So I decided to design something which can go past the limitation of body size. And I also found that the goose down jacket is the perfect material to express the distribution of fat on human body, after having done lots of experiments. The symbolic silhouette of my designs formed as the result of my research.
Nana : What are some of the challenges you’ve faced during the process of creating your brand?
CHENPENG : Everything came was sudden for me at first. I received quite a lot of orders after my graduation show. Runways looks are quite different from wholesale products. Products for sale requires more detailed thinking of technology. I was lucky to find a factory to support my career in such a short time and I lived in that factory for a whole month to develop my products and gradually learned the process of the wholesale production.
Another example was when I was invited to New York Fashion Week in 2019 and was given only 40 days to finish the whole collection.
Time is the most precious thing is the fashion industry. The fast pace of fashion always pushes me to move forward which is also the biggest challenge to me.
Nana : What has inspired the theme and the pieces for 21AW?
CHENPENG : CHENPENG 21F/W collection is inspired by the ‘The Trash Land’ formed by Pacific circulation. The Plastic Oceans Foundation, a non-profit organization in the United States, pointed out in 2017 that since the birth of plastics, 90% of plastic products have not been recycled and have entered the natural environment directly, which has led to the 8 million tons of plastics are poured into the ocean annually.
Human beings have been pursuing the issue of protecting life, but we have also accelerated the disappearance of the life cycle by ourselves.
CHENPENG 21F/W, in the name of “The New Land”, is intended to express that once we have caused irreparable damage to the earth’s environment, human beings shall adapt to this new environment. After the marine plastic particles enter the human body, human genes will start a new round of biological evolution.
Elements from marine microbial cells, oil floats, seaweed and waves are extracted and used in the pieces. In terms of materials, a large number of PET （eco-friendly yarns made from plastic particles ）are used, as well as recycled goose down and eco-friendly washing denims in order to reduce the excessive consumption of water and energy resources.
‘The New Land’ collection continues CHENPENG’s ‘fashion equalitarianism’（One-size Fashion）, calling for the coexistence of human and nature, achieving ecological balance, and explaining the understanding of fashion and sustainable development with design language and products.
Nana : What do you look forward to seeing in the Asian fashion scene after the pandemic?
CHENPENG : I hope we all can overcome the economic impact of the epidemic and create more meaningful designs and spread more excellent design ideas and culture with asian fashion products. I am also looking forward to attending the coming Asian Fashion Weeks and communicate with my amazing Asian designer friends.
Nana : Do you have any advice for our readers who are seeking to find a way to build a brand and pursue a career in fashion?
CHENPENG : Fashion is not as gorgeous as it looks like as it requires a long time of precipitation and patience. Designers should look for the retained meaning of life from the classics of the past, and put forward the possibility of the future in combination with the contemporary lifestyle. I suggest new designers to get preparation as much as possible, to read and experience as much as possible before you start if you have the time. Be sure to have a clear career plan for the future and minimize waste of time. Be ready to face loneliness and failure at the beginning.
Be sure to have a clear career plan for the future and minimize waste of time.by CHENPENG