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Graduate Spotlight: MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear, Peng Chen

LCF_MA16_MWPengChen
LCF_MA16_MWPengChen

Written by
loukia
Published date
04 January 2016

MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear graduate Peng Chen, is next up in our Graduate Spotlight series. Peng’s final collection will feature alongside 9 other students at the MA Menswear catwalk show. The show will be live streamed from the LCF website on 8 January 2016. Here, Peng tells us about his inspiration, future plans and advice for new students.

LCF_MA16_MWPengChen

Photography by Felix Cooper and styling by Anders Sølvsten Thomsen.

Tell us about your final collection?

My final collection is called Normal-In-Normal.  I got my inspiration from engaging the larger size with the thinner size in my pattern cutting for the collection. My garments are one size – they can not only fit smaller, thin men but larger men too as my methodology focused on pattern cutting for both sizes. In the early stages I was struggling a bit with how to present a slim guy to be a larger size.

Where did you study prior to MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear at LCF?

Before LCF, I studied Fine Art at the Soochow University in China. My family influenced me a lot because they work in fashion and art – my parents are porcelain designers and my brother and sister are work in designer industry as well. My older sister is Fashion Director at one of the biggest fashion companies in China. When I was a child she would always bring fashionable clothes to me and wearing them made me feel what fashion is about – that’s why I chose to study menswear.

What would be your top tips for prospective students?

My top tips for prospective students would be:

  • Do as much work experience as you can.
  • Remember that the suggestions of your course director are really important.
  • Work hard as much as possible!

Why did you choose LCF and MA Fashion Menswear?

LCF is famous for menswear design and I always dreamed of learning in one of the most famous universities in the world – that’s why I came here. Another reason is because my best friend also studied at LCF three years ago and was also selected for the catwalk shows – he told me about the course. We discussed how the fashion industry in China can be weak in original design, and as the new generation we have a duty and responsibility to change this. His words inspired me a lot and confirmed that I wanted to study here.

What did you enjoy most about the course, and what did you find most challenging?

I really enjoyed the education format at LCF – students have a lot of freedom and open mindedness is encouraged. Because of this, nobody judges what you are doing, where are you from, or what your background is in. At the start I struggled on the course because I didn’t have a lot of experience in menswear. My tutor Darren Cabon gave me a lot of support and direction and I really enjoyed and appreciated that. The biggest challenge for me was the processing stage of the final collection.

What was your favourite thing about studying in London?

The atmosphere of London is my favourite thing – I’ve been here for three years and before my MA I did a lot of short courses at UAL like makeup and textiles. It’s really different to China – Britain has a lot of history and it’s a great place for designers to find inspiration and ideas.

Have you undertaken any work experience or placements whilst at LCF?

I did a lot of work experience placements while studying at LCF. I was a personal shopper in Harrods at Christian Dior last Christmas, which gave me the opportunity to be close to high-end customers – as a designer you have to know what your customer needs. I also did a 5 month internship with Gareth Pugh and I really enjoyed it. I think the most important experience I’ve had is working with Gareth Pugh – he’s an amazing guy. His talent is unique – he always has ideas that you can’t imagine. I found some information about internships on Gareth Pugh’s website and sent them an email. I had four interviews and they picked eight students out of hundreds – I was one of them! We did pattern cutting, simple making and supported Gareth with his final collection for Spring Summer 2015.

Describe your work in five words…

Social equality, one size, unisex, wearable, storytelling.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspiration is Alexander McQueen. I went to the Savage Beauty Exhibition at the V&A eight times. I was so moved the first time I went there – it felt like McQueen was still here. He inspires me because I feel like we both have experience in costume design.

What are your future plans and how do you think the course will help you to realise these plans?

I launched my brand six months ago which I will continue building up. My garments and hats already have a lot of orders. Liberty are going to buy some of my hats to sell in the store – I met the head of visual identity of Liberty at an LCF event, who told me to get in touch and they have offered me this amazing opportunity. I think my MA has played a big part in this – I’m so happy that I studied at LCF because it offers you so many opportunities and helps students to promote their work and it’s not like that back at home.