Model, artist, and photographer Jing Wen became the first Chinese woman to appear in a Chanel campaign in the high fashion house’s 109-year-history.
The long-overdue rise of Asian models in Western high fashion houses can be traced to various pressure points: the increasing purchasing power of Asian markets; heightened calls for diversity in casting and curation; the success of pioneering supermodels like Liu Wen, the first spokesmodel and supermodel of East Asian descent among a portfolio of prestigious brands. Korean models Yoon Young Bae, Hoyeon Jung, and Hyun Ji Shin also found favor with Karl Lagerfeld, who promptly cast them in his fashion shows. It wasn’t until 2019, though, that a Chinese model, Jing Wen, was chosen for Chanel’s fashion line.
By then, Jing Wen had already made a name for herself. After her international catwalk debut in 2013 for Emporio Armani, Jing graced a dazzling repertoire of shows: Marc Jacobs, Sonia Rykiel, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, DKNY, Hugo Boss, Missoni, Roberto Cavalli, Acne Studios, Kenzos, Hermes. In SS15, she made a total of 36 runway appearances.
Her ambition is multifaceted and complex: in 2018, the 25-year-old launched her personal website, revealing a sharp and edgy artistry. Using a film camera, Jing dissects glamorous facades to expose raw, authentic truths. One of her most famous works features her cutting her long hair, which many have interpreted as a provocative statement about bodily autonomy and free will.
Jing’s artistic pursuits are varied and provocative. On her website, she asks: “what do I know?”
The response: a series of black-and-white photographs, a poem about an unreadable girl on the other side of a window, oil paintings on canvas. A locked landing page.
What does Jing know?
More than we ever will, it seems.