about maria chen
contact: mariachen@me.com

CREATIVE DESIGN LEADERSHIP
Maria Chen is an Award-winning entrepreneurial Global Fashion Design Leader who creates directional apparel and accessories for premium labels and acclaimed corporate brands. She is a progressive thinker and team player with proven record of success through innovation in contemporary modern design. An expert at overseeing all stages of creative development designing wearable aspirational lifestyle collections, Maria Chen clearly identifies a brand’s handwriting whilst collaborating closely with strategic partners. She trained in Britain at both Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art and currently spends time between London and New York. Maria Chen's work combines conceptual innovative approach with responsible design. Her original work, distinguished by overdyeing and laundering textiles, has inspired cutting edge design across multiple product categories in particular denim and outerwear.

EXPERIENCE
Maria Chen is currently Vice President of Global Design at Gap, working with Rebekka Bay, Global Creative Director. She returned to the brand after 4 years working for companies such as Calvin Klein Jeans where she was also Vice President of Global Design.

At Calvin Klein Jeans, Maria re-focused the brand vision, vastly improving overall design and quality while building a centralised global design team. Before this she served as Vice President of Womenswear at Armani Exchange for three years, raising product integrity and expanding sales globally on apparel – primarily denim, outerwear, and accessories. Prior to moving to NY in 2009, Maria Chen held design leadership positions in London at AllSaints (serving as Head of Womens) and the Gap (European division), as well as in Italy in the luxury sector. She also designed for brands such as Topshop and oki-ni (Japanese premium denim brand) among others, again overseeing multiple product categories. With extensive experience in vertically integrated retail, Maria Chen’s passion for working closely with factories drives a product-first strategy that pushes innovation, attracts and motivates top talent.

EXPERTISE
Maria Chen has the proven ability to design first-hand as well as predict emerging trends. She can oversee the entire design process or draft sketches through each step to final product. Her experiences in Italy honed her knowledge of construction, fit and quality, particularly in structured apparel and accessories. Maria Chen is equally skilled at designing more fluid shapes, draping jersey directly on the stand.

Maria Chen also has a unique eye for acknowledging and retaining top talent. Whilst a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art, she recognised London Fashion Week designer Eudon Choi’s potential and hired him upon graduation at AllSaints. Additionally she nurtured footwear designer Camilla Skovsgaard and apparel designer Christopher Raeburn during their final years of study.

ENTREPRENEURIAL
Although Maria Chen is a women’s-wear expert; she also designed menswear for her eponymous brand, receiving recognition in editorial pages such as L'Uomo Vogue and at London Fashion Week. The brand at its peak was stocked at over 100 department stores and specialty boutiques around the world, including London’s Selfridges, Liberty, Maria Luisa (Paris), Henri Bendel (New York), I.T (HK), D-Mop (HK), I'tm (Antwerp), Beams (Japan), American Rag (Japan), and Journal Standard (Japan). During this time Maria Chen’s contagious passion, her belief in teamwork and motivating talent across creative disciplines brought upon collaborations with renowned creatives such as designers Lara Bohinc and Beatrix Ong M.B.E, artist Andrew Logan, and photographer Jean-Francois Carly.


AWARDS
Hermes design scholarship for menswear
British Fashion Council New Generation
Jerwood Fashion Prize finalist
GenArt NY

BRANDS
Calvin Klein Jeans
Armani Exchange
AllSaints
Topshop
Gap - Europe
oki-ni
John Richmond
Rebecca Taylor
Eudon Choi

SPECIAL COMMISSIONS
Footwear:
Adidas Europe, Scholl, Hudson, Puma UK
Homeware:
Thomas Goode, Wedgewood china, Wilton Royal
Lifestyle:
Wagamama, WKD, the White House London

SPECIAL PROJECTS & COLLABORATIONS
Contributions to Nick Knight’s www.showstudio.com
.Cent magazine pilot issue with Saturday-London
Beatrix Ong
Lara Bohinc
Andrew Logan

CELEBRITY COMMISSIONS
David Bowie, Franz Ferdinand, Interpol, Placebo, Madonna, Kylie Minogue

GUEST SPEAKING/LECTURING
Institute of Contemporary Arts – London to China connection
Royal College of Art
Arnhem Institute, Holland
University of Westminster
Epsom College
Manchester Metropolitan University
Parsons School of Design
University of Arts Bournemouth (external panel advisor)

PUBLICATIONS
Visionaire
Vogue UK
Elle US
Elle UK
Harpers Bazaar UK
i-D
Dazed & Confused
Italian Vogue
Jalouse Paris
Crash Paris
Self-Service
The Face
Numero
Wallpaper
.Cent
WWD
Draper’s Record
The Guardian UK
The Observer UK
The Independent UK
The Times UK
International Herald Tribune
Financial Times