January 31, 2017

It was Angel Chen’s grandmother who first encouraged her to salvage and reconstruct vintage clothing. When she was just 17 years-old she moved from China to London to study at Central Saint Martins before interning for Vera Wang and Marchesa. In 2014, she had launched her eponymous line at Shanghai Fashion Week.

Influenced by movies, operas, music, travel experiences and even dreams, Angel Chen’s collections are bright and bold, exploring the space between East and West. She sees her pieces as not just items of clothing, but characters, born of certain spaces, born of herself.

Splitting her time between London and Shanghai, Angel is influenced by the diverse cultures in both cities. Having recently celebrated Chinese New Year in London with parades of dancing lions, giant floats and feasts in China Town, we caught up with Angel to find out a little more about the traditional aspects of Chinese New Year. She captures her experiences in pictures for us. Over to you, Angel…

“The Chinese tradition and customs are always fascinating and provide me with lots of inspiration. I love to observe the Chinese in different areas, blending their unique cultures to celebrate Chinese festivals.

Recently I visited Daishan, a small fishing port that is a fairyland according to ancient Chinese legends. Our first Emperor, Qin, built a fleet and sent his alchemist, Xu Fi, with thousands of virgin boys and girls on a voyage to search for the elixirs of life. Daishan was one of their destinations. The Daishan people are also good at making colourful weaved craft works and paintings.

I then went to Chaozhou and passed by a local temple, captured some photos inside and a lady couplets seller. The couples are only written on red paper and come in a pair; they are lines of poetry which bond to certain rules and have rhymes. Chinese people buy new couplets before or on Chinese New Year to put on their front doors.

Temple visit is also an essential activity for many Chinese nowadays to pray for a prosperous new year. The followers would burn the incense as sacrifices to the Gods.

The last photo shows a handcraft candy seller in Suzhou who I encountered on my way going to work. Nowadays there are fewer traditional handcraft candy sellers due to the shift of people’s preferences for snacks. We may lose this cultural heritage very soon.”

Read more from Angel Chen here