Patrick Michael Hughes Men's Fashion Editor
What do we keep? What do we leave behind? These are conversations I have had on many occasions with aspiring and artist and designers in my travels in China and working with Chinese students and young Chinese Americans in New York. What parts of Chinese traditions migrate forward in the fast pace change of a growing global digital economy? A new generation of Chinese designers educated in fashion capitals of New York, London are moving forward with new entrepreneurial connections to their heritage in a more conceptual framework rather than design vocabulary. Could it be that conceptual idea based ‘design thinking’ is having an impact on a younger generation of Chinese? The classic ‘case study and make’ model may have to watch its back. The colliding worlds are in a way a reflection of today’s energetic youth and interested in China.
‘Hima Laya’ was the title of the exceedingly enterprising thirty-seven-look men’s and women’s collection created by CHENPENG for fall-winter 2019. ‘Hima Laya’ in Sanskrit means ‘snowy land the home of snow’. Throughout the collection bright hues, prints and color stacking are a connection to the three different views of the natural mountains in the East Asian Continent and the South Asian subcontinent. Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world was the inspiration for the polar colors. Elements of the starry universe, combined with the design of the ancient Chinese philosophy of ‘round sky square ground’ translate into creative weaving process of dreamy colors.
Chen Peng founded his company in 2015 in London and Shanghai. He is a graduate of the Masters in Menswear Fashion Design Technology. He defines his work as one size fashion, speaking for a wide range of bodies. Fall 2019 was his sixth collection with a shift toward technical upgrade. CHENPENG’s use of hybrid textiles such as composite TPU, wool knits, faux fur, the collection progresses into a visual evolution of the region’s flora and Fauna, as well as the spirit of the snowman a local legend the nomads living by the mountains and a tribute to the modern warriors who scale the regions peaks. His interest is in producing outerwear. He is right on target his outwear is highly desirable; water resistant, windproof, reflective and seamless materials are linked to functionality and the designer’s original concept of one size. Sporty is also a word that comes to mind when look at this collection, three were a number of ‘streetwise mountain range fusions’ in corduroy. The snowsuits also had a wonderful modern take ideal for the adventurer from Gstaad to Beaver Creek and Courchevel.
What is also new for the fall 2019 is the inclusion of a series of products and collaborations with Li Ning China’s sports giant known for its e-commerce ‘Tracing (SU)’ series, which is developed with the concept of ‘Transformation of Sky Eyes’ from the book of ‘Heavenly Creations’. The expression and fusion in this collection was stunning. It was a highly contemplative approach to outwear and a successful merging concept with approachable and glamorous garments. This was quite a NYFW show and one that also understood proudly the business of fashion through its significant marketing packet given to all those who attended.