Taiwanese-American pianist Weiyin Chen has built her musical career around the world, from attending New York's Juilliard School to collaborating with the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Fashion is Chen's next endeavor. As a student in the Fashion Design certificate at CPE, she has already used her skills to design her own concert gown (pictured below). She shared with us how the certificate allowed her to combine her musical passion with a new creative outlet.
“As musicians, so much of our work is on the road,” said Chen. “I wasn’t sure if I would meet the attendance requirement.” Online courses, such as Design Sketching I, allowed Chen the flexibility to learn technical fashion skills while performing across Europe and in Taiwan.
“The pandemic was a blessing in disguise,” said Chen, who started the Fashion Design certificate in Fall 2019. “The time during lockdown gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in learning this new visual language. The classes gave me a sense of excitement and centered me.”
While developing her designs in CPE’s fashion classes, Chen took digital marketing and entrepreneurship as her certificate electives. She said these business-oriented classes pushed her to build her professional identity in both fashion and classical music. “It opened my mind to be able to gain that knowledge with a different perspective. In music, you’re hyper-focused on mastering an instrument, but sometimes you have to take a step back and gain a broader view. Parsons was able to give me that.”
She enjoyed the instant feedback from instructors in her sketching class, and the “beautiful” art of seeing her designs come to life on paper. “To absorb information is one thing; Parsons paves the way in seeing how to adapt it in reality.”
The classes also introduced Chen to sustainable fashion practices, which she hopes to pursue further in her future. “For every artist, what you wear to represent your music is quite personal,” she said. Chen enjoys the freedom of fashion where she is able to express herself and her ideas in another dimension.
“I’d love to see how music and fashion can jointly stimulate, collaborate and expand my creative world,” she said.
Chen is interested in creating innovative programming that integrates fashion into music. She recently announced an upcoming digital series on her Instagram, @weiyinchenpianist, which will also be shared on her YouTube channel.
“It’s a sense of balance. In music, things are becoming more visual. During the pandemic, the majority of performances were online. All creatives were searching for ways to tell their art more vividly. I think this visual communication will become an increasingly integral part of our lives.”
Chen was also inspired by the Fashion Styling class, which gave her another visual outlet. “Fashion styling resembles classical music in many ways. I didn’t know it was so artistic.” She began relating the sound and history of the composers with the colors of her gowns and accessories.
“For designers whose work I admired in the past, I ask myself what elements inspired me and invigorated my inner truth. Authenticity is so important – artists must understand who they are. Every time I create something, it gives me a piece of a puzzle of who I am.”
Chen was also featured in Tawain's April 2021 issue of Vogue. Her next concert will be with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. Read more on Chen's website.