Grace Chen

Authenticity is the hallmark of Grace’s designs. She celebrates the complex modern woman by clothing her in minimalist forms, allowing her inherent beauty to shine. Grace’s creativity is largely influenced by both her culturally diverse background and the juxtaposition of growing up in a small Missouri town, while feeling drawn to the energy and eclecticism of big cities. Interning at Donna Karan International in New York City, Grace collaborated in the creative process, developed an appreciation for quality fabrics, and worked behind the scenes at the company’s Fashion Week show. As an independent contractor at Anywhere Apparel in Minneapolis, she helped launch a collection of culturally influenced, functional travel garments. While at the U of M, she has been awarded multiple design recognitions and scholarships. Her commitment to lifting up women continues as officer of the campus group “She’s the First,” which raises funds and awareness for girls’ education in third world countries.

MANTRA evokes the Zen qualities of quiet strength and tranquility, drawing inspiration from the components of Japanese Zen Gardens, specifically sand raking and stacking stones. These elements are explored through rich, textured fabrics and carefully considered embellishments. A color palette of stark whites, ivories, and crèmes transport the viewer to a place of purity. Asian influenced silhouettes fit comfortably on the body and allow the wearer freedom to express unique styling choices. MANTRA rejects the trend of over designing, and appeals to the fashion forward woman who understands that only through deliberate simplicity and ease of movement is she able to celebrate her originality.