Foil insulation, herbal supplements, and tacky signage: these unlikely objects are all fertile ground for fashion inspiration in the eyes of Jeff Shen. The Guangzhou native has an affinity for incorporating outlandish and unexpected elements into his clothing and accessory designs. The pieces are often created as tongue-in-cheek experiments, but their playfulness is balanced with an aesthetic eye.
在 Jeff Shen 眼中，铝箔绝缘材质、草药补品还有又土又丑的广告标牌等等不太可能被利用的元素，都是他滋生时尚灵感的沃土。这位在广州长大的服装设计师，喜欢将一些意想不到的偏怪元素融入进服装与装饰品中。他的作品看上去就像是半玩笑性质的实验品，但玩笑又能和审美达到平衡。
In one piece, Shen repurposes the advertising stickers and storefront signage of China into an all-over pattern for a pair of sneakers. In another, he embeds price tags into a transparent choker. These pieces were school projects, but he’s since parlayed that work into an entry-level job at Puma.
在 Jeff 的一幅作品中，他尝试将中国广告贴纸和标牌融入在整双鞋子的图案设计里；还有一幅作品，他甚至将一些价格标牌嵌入在透明脖圈内。虽然这些都是 Jeff 在校期间完成的作品，但已经达到了彪马敲门砖的水准。
Shen has always been creative. “I liked to doodle on the wall at home as a little kid,” he recalls. “We moved out of that house when I was about five, but my parents really loved my doodles, which they never cleaned from the walls, so they didn’t rent it out until recently.”
Shen’s father is a poet and his mother was an illustrator and fashion designer, so they’ve always supported his creative pursuits. In middle school, he began designing T-shirts for events, and his grades were good enough to get into one of Guangzhou’s top high schools, though he admits to slacking off once he got in. “I kind of stopped paying attention in class and instead I was drawing logos, illustrations, and stuff.”
他的父亲是诗人，母亲是插画和服装设计师，双方一直非常支持 Jeff 所追求的创意。初中时期，他开始为活动设计体恤衫。尽管他的成绩可以考上广州顶尖高中，但他也承认了自己当时的懒惰。“我那时候整天做 Logo，插画之类的事情，已经没有心思上课了。”
That interest in illustration and graphic design was matched by a fondness for street fashion. “I love to dress fresh,” Shen says, “I’ve been a sneakerhead since high school. But I never considered becoming a shoe designer or apparel designer.” He didn’t work with fabrics until his junior year at RISD in the US, and he didn’t start making shoes until his senior year, which changed his whole career path.
这种对插画和平面设计浓厚的兴趣，与他对街头时尚的喜爱相吻合。Jeff 说：“我喜欢把新鲜感穿在身上。高中时期开始，我就是狂热的球鞋爱好者。但那时候我从来没想过自己会成为一名鞋样和服装设计师。” 在纽约罗德岛设计学院的头一年，Jeff 才开始接触各种面料材质。随后，在他高年级期间 Jeff 接触到了鞋样设计，也彻底改变了他的事业轨迹。
Although Shen has been inspired mainly by US and Japanese designers, he believes China is catching up: “China used to be a little behind, but brands are making lots of great moves in recent years. The innovation speed is incredible.” He cites designers like Su Wukou of Purlicue fame and kids on Instagram like @scccccry as people changing the game back home.
With a portfolio of work that ranges from avant-garde fashion to stress-relief toys, the young designer’s interests have been broad and varied over the years—but sneaker design seems to have finally captured his heart.
“What kind of designer is better, someone who does one thing for 30 years, or someone who designs all sorts of different things?” Shen asks. “My mother thinks there’s essentially no difference between the different types, as they both grow and develop in their own way. When a person does a thing for an extremely long time, the world doesn’t get smaller, instead it gets bigger and bigger as this person digs deeper. It’s an expanding universe in itself.”
“什么样的设计师更好，是拥有三十年经验的设计师？还是拥有与众不同风格的设计师？” Jeff 闻道，“我妈妈认为，不同事物之间并无比较可言，它们都在按照自己的方式成长与前进。当某人很长时间只做一件事，世界对他／她来说不会变小。要知道研究越深入，世界观就会越大。而我们所处的世界，也正不断延伸。”