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Feng Chen Wang SS17 Pani Paul Vincent Levy Dazed
Feng Chen Wang SS17Photography Pani Paul

Feng Chen Wang explores connections in a digital age

Inspired by chance meetings, designer Feng Chen Wang talks us through her SS17 show – plus, see the collection brought to life in an exclusive shoot

Feng Chen Wang is a people person – that much is clear when you meet her. For her SS17 menswear collection, she explored the idea of meeting people and what that looks like in an age where we’re glued to our smartphone screens. It’s these chance encounters and how they contribute to the bigger picture that Wang is so interested in. “I love how people meet each other,” she explains. “You meet someone but you don’t know when you’re going to see them again.”

Originally from Fujian in China, her journey to London Collection: Men hasn’t been a direct one – like a fashion traveller, she’s lived in Shanghai, London (where she did her MA at the Royal College of Art) and New York (where she presented her AW16 collection at VFiles’ NYFW show).

“All my friends are connected so I expressed this is my collection: it is functional and everything is tied and connected” – Feng Chen Wang

Friday saw her London Collections: Men debut at MAN’s SS17 show, during which a cast of boyish models took to the catwalk clad in hi-tech fabrics crafted into experimental shapes. These garments were deconstructed and reconnected by a mishmash of cables weaving in and out of them, manipulating their shape and connecting them – illustrating the tangled web of chance meetings that build up our interconnecting social circles. At the same time, 3D fabric letters spelt out “YOU” and “WE” on the chest and down the arms throughout the collection, expressed something of aloneness and togetherness, according to Wang.

When it came to specific references, the designer said she didn’t have any, but instead designed by feeling. “I am an emotional designer,” she explained. “Real life and real things happening are more interesting to me. My feelings lead my ideas.” As for what she was feeling led by this season’s collection, it was “excited” – something that you can see in the slightly explosive silhouettes and the mess of tangled cables bursting from every seam.

The show notes described this tangled cables as a metaphor for the strange ways people meet in today’s digitalised world – “a poke, swipe or double tap.” “It’s about fate,” says Wang, whose name (in something of a coincidence) means fate, expanding on this idea. “I believe people meet for a reason, and this is so beautiful in life. It’s happened a lot in my journey, from Shanghai to New York to London. All my friends are connected so I expressed this is my collection: it is functional and everything is tied and connected.”

Photography Pani Paul; art direction Lola Paprocka; styling Vincent Levy; casting Shaun Beyen; model Jack Burke at Wilhelmina; hair Kota Suizu at Caren using Oribe; make-up Nobuko Maekawa using MAC