When Grace Chen, Fashion Design ’96, sees a woman, she thinks of her as being in a story. Through her designs, Chen tries to help that woman fit into her story or inspire her to play her role even better.
Chen, an FIT alumna who established her own brand in China in 2009, discussed her design journey with Cathleen Sheehan, chair of the Fashion Design MFA program, on Jan. 23 in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre. The evening comprised a meet and greet with the designer, a fashion show of Chen’s designs, and the one-on-one conversation.
Regarded as one of China’s most influential fashion innovators, Chen has been hailed as “the Power Dresser of China” by the South China Morning Post and “China’s Most Sought-After Couturier” by The Hollywood Reporter. FIT’s Hue did a profile of the designer in 2019.
FIT President Joyce F. Brown said, in introducing Chen, “Grace’s perseverance and success in establishing her own fashion house and brand really reflects a commitment to taste and excellence with which we all associate her. From her luxurious fabrics to her polished finishes to her sumptuous designs, she blends timeless luxury with modern sensibility and believes that every woman—and now men—can feel beautiful and stylish in a great design.”
“I wanted to tell the story about the Chinese woman because I don’t think anyone knows the charm of them, including ourselves,” Chen said.
Asked about the challenges she had to overcome, Chen said: “You have to be brave. When everyone is telling you it’s not working, you really have to insist. If you think something is right, just go ahead with it.”