For the everyday fashionista, OR by Angela Chen is the collection to covet. The designer borrows from the aesthetics of three strikingly different cities - Vancouver, New York and Taiwan - each city she at one point called home. With influences drawn from Taiwan's Asian-styled street wear, Vancouver's laid back scene and New York's sophisticated society, she has created a line that transcends everything from cities to cultures to all the various style icons in between.
Out of the OR-dinary
by EMILY CHENG
Coming from a traditional Asian home, Chen had to deal with the pressures of following in her father's footsteps by working for the family business. Such expectations are the norm in Asian culture . So it comes as no surprise that her ambitions were initially met with obstacles.
The designer remembers, "Eventually they came around. They saw how hard I worked to get accepted into Parsons with a scholarship and finally realized this is something I wanted to do." With their blessing in hand, Chen embarked on a whirlwind journey which, along the way, saw the birth of her brand - ORange - now renamed OR by Angela Chen.
On any given day you can catch Chen pouring over vintage books or wandering the halls of museum exhibitions. Whether it is a new art piece her husband is working on or a smattering of color at an gallery, she is motivated visually. Fall/Winter 2010 was inspired by New York abstract painter Jonathan Lasker, as evidenced from the colors and textures. One priceless moment that stands out is when she received an email directly from Lasker praising her beautiful designs. Her Spring/Summer 2012 collection began with a visit to the Vancouver Art Gallery where she studied "The False Mirror" by the late Surrealist Ren Magritte. "I was really inspired by the pastel colors and the use of lines and circular shapes, how they affect each other," Chen explains. Those who know the painting will undoubtedly enjoy her fashion interpretation.
Always looking to push artistic boundaries, teaching has also made its way into her life in the past year. As a judge for Parson's National Portfolio day at Emily Carr, Chen quickly developed a keen eye for new talent and decided to open her very own teaching studio in partnership with her husband. This creative outlet allows for the exploration of new ideas. Chen explains, "Its a good way for me to give back and to teach others what I've learned." Coupled with her third season at Toronto Fashion Week, 2011 was filled with experiences that Chen exclaimed as, "Just something money can't buy."
With teaching and designing under her belt, one can only wonder what else this multi-talented designer will be adding to her empire next. The dream of becoming a regular designer at New York Fashion Week seems to be on the horizon. However for the time being, Chen is just where she wants to be and feels very blessed. "I get to do my own collection and the teaching studio where I am always learning and that is the fun part!"
For more information please visit the OR website at www.orangenyc.com