When Fashion Meets Art
with Zoe Chen

Illustration of Zoe Chen, the designer of Zoelle Bybs

“There is so much more to clothing design than just logo or label,” says Zoe Chen, a 20-year veteran in the fashion industry who has created iconic pieces for Issey Miyake, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Marc Jacobs. “My goal is to create a ready-to-wear brand that infuses art with fashion, and explore how clothes can communicate our personalities and inspire our lives. In other words: let’s bring back true design, and expressions of individuality.”

I’m not afraid to break the mold, and capture the essence of what makes luxury truly special—which is the power of individuality.

So it kicks off the story of Zoelle, a new fashion label launched by Chen—a Central Saint Martins alumna and a long-time New Yorker—which began in the wake of post-pandemic fashion conundrums faced by millions of people in the 21st century. The question remains: would women still need luxuriously designed apparel and accessories if the world resorted to wearing sweatpants every day? The answer, as evidenced by Chen’s debut womenswear collection, which expands upon her avant-garde graphics melded with thoughtful fabric choices and meticulous construction, is a resounding yes.

“With my passion for fashion, the desire to exude confidence, and a love for textiles, structural designs and experimental prints, Zoelle is a true reflection of me and my vision for the future of style,” says Chen.

“Our dresses are made to move,” Chen says of her womenswear collection. “Zoelle’s exclusive use of advanced fabric and inventive asymmetrical construction, combined with our signature curve-centric print placements, create beautifully sculpted cuts that are feminine and easy to wear.” The artistic details are bold and meticulous, and add an air of modern bourgeois-bohemian romance.

Zoelle designer Zoe Chen in her trench coat in ParisShe's Got The Look: Zoe Chen in her own Admiral Butterfly Mixed Media Trench Coat

As the former principal designer for ISSEY MIYAKE Pleats Please, artistry and innovation are in her DNA. Chen understands the craft of textiles, its history, and the intricate ways in which past sewing methods affect our garments today. She can read a fabric weave, identify fibers, appreciate weaving techniques over time, and treat fabrics with the respect they deserve. A highly skilled patternmaker, she is methodical in her approach to sewing. A perfectionist with exacting standards of fit, she prides herself on variations of the same garment that are meant to fit differently on individual bodies. And as a contemporary artist whose name is synonymous with vibrant colors, she utilizes her expertise to produce beautiful textile art. Chen is associated with bold prints and patterns for this reason—her chromatic sensibility is very much part of her creative identity.

Looking ahead, Chen is focused on taking Zoelle to the next level. She is preparing to launch new collections of flowy dresses, skirts, embroidered tops, and accessories such as pleated scarves and handbags.

“I wanted to make pieces that are truly versatile—almost like art you could wear,” says Chen. “I spend a lot of time studying fabrics, set trends with bold prints, color choices, and silhouettes that show off my range. I’m not afraid to break the mold, and capture the essence of what makes luxury truly special—which is the power of individuality.”