Maria Chen was born in 1975. She was raised in St. Louis, USA. From 1992 to 1994 she studied fashion at the Parsons School of Design, in New York, where she secured a menswear design scholarship. After she graduated, Maria spent 4 years working in New York for designers like Anne Klein. She was shortlisted for the Jerwood Prize for Fashion in 1998. She then went to London, and took her M.A. in Fashion Design at Central St. Martins. She followed that up by a Doctorate from the Royal College of Art. She is probably the most academic fashion designer on the planet.
She launched her own label in London in 1998. Even before her debut at London Fashion Week during the Spring 2001 session, Maria Chen was already an established commercial success.
Maria was Head of Design for All Saints Retail Brand, London, for two years leading up to her appointment as Womenswear Director for John Richmond in early 2007. Prior to these appointments, between 1998-2004, Maria was consulting for British brands such as oki-ni and Topshop in conjunction with working on her own label which was distributed to 100 retailers across the world, including Henri Bendel (New York), Naked (LA), Bus Stop Kashiyama (Tokyo), Baycrews (Osaka / Tokyo), IT (Hong Kong), Browns (London).
She is known as the feminine face of conceptual design. Her printing and texturing techniques on fabric and leather are legendary. A technical master, she likes to experiment with cutting and construction of garments. Combine that with textile development, you get a result which is a highly individualized design and style. Her aged, hand-printed, bleached or shredded fabrics produce very feminine looks that are both directional and historical.