By Ava Gilchrist

Artist’s Eye: Lu Chen

In an industry that is increasingly operating under a ‘high risk, high reward’ mentality, burgeoning fashion designers from all corners of the globe are adapting to our ostentatious desires with unanticipated reverence. GRAZIA commissions nine artists to chronicle fashion’s vanguard, those marking a ‘coup de théâtre’ for the Spring/Summer 2023 season

It’s a radical act to commodify your existence, especially one that is marred by global displacement. But for UK-based designer Feben, this belief isn’t inhibiting her saturated design practice, it’s only working to enable it.

Growing her roots in London by way of North Korea and Sweden, Feben is staunchly dedicated to dressing the Black female experience through her melange of high octane hues, surrealist prints and signature bobble twists. Feben is a designer in complete possession of her identity, creating a new narrative through clothing that challenges and eschews the one that’s so often pre-defined for women of colour.

In a world where differences are othered, Feben is proudly putting hers on display, and even goes one step further by designing them on a shirt. Her cross-cultural identity sees her tease globalisation by putting a world map onto a beaded tote bag. Or codify different cues from her past into a powerful 1990s style display of scintillating maximalism. Feben’s power lies in inventive performance art, a progressive approach to design that accesses all facets of the human experience and weaves them into a readily approachable visual language. Her pieces aren’t precariously pretentious in the way theatrical designers can so often be, instead readily sensual in their storytelling ability. Feben masterfully articulates the need for visibility through her colourful and textural vocabulary.

LU CHEN: Determined to preserve the feminine beauty of hand-drawn illustrations, artist Lu Chen’s rebellious act of creating with emotion, rather than logic, has resulted in the production of evocative worlds that often focus on rich liminal spaces and female perspectives. Drawing with strong rhythm and emotional fluctuations, Chen’s work is romantic, energetic and effervescent.

Follow Lu Chen @lu_chene1013