In the interview of Rei Kawakubo conducted by Paul Smith in Dazed Magazine, he asked her who her favorite artist was and why. Her reply was, “No one in particular. I am usually more attracted to the way they lived their lives rather than their actual works.” From now on when someone asks me the question, and they always do, “Who is your favorite fashion designer?”, I have a new answer. I am attracted to their story, Somehow for me the story makes me relate to the garment in a much more personal way and gives me ideas about how the “designer” and I might have a particular kind of relationship when I wear their clothes.

The highlight of my trip to China by far were the dinners, teas, coffees and studio visits had with designers where we talked about their lives and for me most especially, the journey they took between idea and final garment. Who they are and how they live are always somehow embedded in the best designs because for me there is a small animated part of that designer finding its way into their clothes. The designer I am pictured with here, Angel Chen, was playful, full of movement herself, sharply intelligent, layered,. research oriented and full of delight about many things and people. She is a both/and kind of person and her clothes play on the line between east and west as does her fashion experience. She told me her father owns a paint company and is an expert at mixing colors. She explained a complex process of shrinking that resulted in a particular texture of a textile. I cannot help but be struck by how these characteristics find their way into the designs I viewed in her studio and how they make me feel when I wear her clothes. When I wore some pants of her design in a recent post the caption was, “Keeping new friends close”. ¬†Those parts of a new friend that are present in their clothes allow me to have an ongoing relationship with the person whether I see them again or not.

So I have a new answer to what by now seems to be a question in every interview I do, “Who is your favorite designer and why?” Thanks again Rei.

How would you answer the question, “Who is your favorite designer and why?”