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  • Region Asia
  • Country Hong Kong
  • Participation 2018/19

A former engineering student, ZHI Chen dropped out of university to pursue her dream in design. She finished her BA in Fashion Design from Donghua University in China, and then received a national scholarship to further her study at Parsons School of Design; however, she left a year later and instead completed her MA at the London College of Fashion (LCF) where she fell in love with knitting.

Chen founded knitwear label i-am-chen immediately after LCF. She is much inspired by the gaiety imbedded in David Hockney’s paintings as well as the smart making manifested by Alexander Calder’s sculptures.

As a knitwear brand, i-am-chen develops all of its own fabrics through yarn selection, swatch testing and lastly designing based on testing results. Chen challenges the definition of knitting by pushing the limits of knitting machines, creating unexpected knitted structures to demonstrate that knitwear is much more than just “fluffy cloths”.

 i-am-chen’s first patron was the Museum of Modern Art which commissioned a knitted skirt for exhibition Items: Is Fashion Modern? The brand has since been recognized by Lodz Young Fashion Award, Lane Crawford Creative Callout, Business Potential Award by Shanghai Fashion Week and both Ones to Watch and the Merit Award by Fashion Scout which sponsors the brand for runway show during London Fashion Week for four seasons.

In just under two years, i-am-chen has been stocked in over 70 stores in the UK, the US, Japan and China such as Machine-A, Browns, Lane Crawford, Shopbop (online), Restir and Cachet. The brand has been featured by major press including Dezeen, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, L’officiel, Elle, Marie Claire, Grazia and Modern Weekly.