FAMILY IN THE YEAR OF THE TIGER WITH EDISON CHEN
Following announcements of a CLOT x Levi's denim collaboration celebrating the upcoming Chinese New Year of the Tiger, we check in with CLOT Founder and Creative Director, Edison Chen, on his new perspective in life as a father, and the world he aspires for new generations as we anticipate the start of a brand-new lunar year.
It’s hard to believe that it's been over two decades since the multi-hyphenate Edison Chen first stepped into the public eye. And in all these years, Chen has evidently worked very hard to step up to his extensive calling: From bridging East and West cultures and being forerunner of the Chinese streetwear scene via his label CLOT, to fathering Alaia—four-year-old daughter he shares with supermodel wife, Qin Shupei.
Snow-gazing from inside a charming wooden cabin the family-of-three is residing during a low-key family vacation in Colorado, Chen reflects at all that he's hurdled through and achieved over the years. "Through everything I’ve done with CLOT, and all my creative endeavours, I’ve tried to enlighten people’s mind in ways to make them understand that, you know, I failed, I succeeded; I fell and I’ve risen," he says. "Through me, hopefully people can understand that following your dreams and being true to yourselves can actually spell success."
Just as how success translates differently to everybody, it also take on different meanings at different stages of life. While the 41-year-old's entrepreneurial accomplishment is apparent, he is also finding light in another area of life. Take one casual scroll down his Instagram feed, and you'll get a pretty accurate idea of what currently gravitates him: In-between posts of CLOT creations and basketball cards, you'll see post after post of Alaia’s cute smiles and adorable doodles. “Family is everything to me,” says Chen. “I’m trying to schedule my life in a way that I can spend time with my family and focus on work.”
Indeed. Being the brain behind CLOT, JUICE and 3125C, you’d expect his schedule to be a lot more jam-packed. And it was, until the pandemic hit, and travelling to most places became either too risky or unrealistic. But as a man who’s been through it all, he’s learnt to see and appreciate the silver-lining. “I’m trying to value every moment of life even more at work and with family. Being in the pandemic, I get to spend a lot more time with my family and see Alaia grow. I understand how lucky we are and I’m very thankful for that.”
All these quality time spent with Alaia has also influenced a change of perspective. “I think family inspires me in a different way than I’ve grown to find inspirations before," he says. "Sometimes, being an adult, you forget how innocent it is being a child. Building Legos with Alaia, listening to her sing songs and tell stories to me, watching silly movies and playing learning games on the iPad, give me a different approach to thinking. It’s refreshed me and allows me to not feel the confines of being a grown man in the middle of society, but see a real, kind of pure way of looking at the earth via Alaia.”
Though Chen has been initiating change for new generations in the front long before Alaia was born, the birth of his little muse has definitely added new meanings to his aspirations for the future. "I hope to create a more diverse and more open-minded world for the next generation via everything that I do, and obviously via Alaia.” As for learnings that he's taking with him into the Year of the Tiger? "To not take things for granted, to understand that every moment is precious, and that you can be better if you learn something every day," he concluded—a list everyone should take notes from.