Every season, Fashion Scout – the UK’s largest independent showcase for emerging and established design talent, select a winner of their renowned Merit Award. The Merit Award is a new talent initiative which provides mentoring, support, and business development over three seasons, and also gives the winner a spot to show at London Fashion Week, with full support, PR, and and show production provided by Fashion Scout.
Previous winners of this prestigious award include i-am-chen, Phoebe English, Roberts|Wood, Eudon Choi and many more. Last seasons winner Tolu Coker, received a huge response to her show which captured juvenile consciousness, and really made audiences consider the voices and parts the future generations have on our society.
This years winner of the award is London based brand WEN PAN who focus on a beautiful fusion of oriental spirit and romantic grunge aesthetics. Pan who lives in Dalston but originally hails from China, proudly told us that their inspiration is deeply founded within the city and their experiences coming from China. WEN PAN describes their aesthetic as an alternative option lying between grunge and oriental aesthetics, using semi-deconstructed pieces that allow the wearer to infuse garments with their own movements and experiences.
We had the opportunity to chat with designer Wen Pan ahead of their upcoming show at Fashion Week next month:
You explore themes of 90’s grunge, utilising deconstructed shapes, patterns, and textures, but blending them all beautifully into simple silhouettes, what is it about this contrasting design aesthetic that drew you to it initially?
I grew up in the 1990s in China which was filled with so many contrasting elements. The starting point of this label is a ‘Poetic Resistance’, which I felt in the society I grew up in. I was in Shanghai seeing an old ‘nail house’ standing in pink and blue dust, with busy roads surrounding it. It looked so isolated. I could feel a resistance through that scene, pretty and rough, quiet but strong. That aesthetic and spirit is what I want to harness through my garments.
Winning the Merit Award at Fashion Scout is extremely validating, and we know you must be thrilled, what is it that you hope to achieve by winning the title and being given the platform and resources that will now be available to you?
I am very grateful of being the Fashion Scout Merit Award Winner. I am happy to have the chance to show the SS20 collection during LFW and I am looking forward to it! I look forward to continually share my point of view about femininity: a delicate balance between prettiness and roughness.
The fashion landscape is very different now to what it used to be, with a lot more focus on transparency with customers and being aware of environmental impacts etc – how do you see the brand exploring this landscape and what are you doing to ensure that WEN PAN stands out from the crowd?
We will keep our own pace, and take this journey in a relaxed way. In the near future, we hope to begin to produce products in wider categories, especially interiors, in order to build an overall aesthetic system.
What can we expect from your show at Fashion Scout in September?
A delicate and poetically balanced collection between prettiness and roughness.
WEN PAN will be showing at Fashion Scouts new home at Victoria House on Saturday 14th September during London Fashion Week.
Stay tuned here for all the latest from the shows and events.