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Helen J. Chen

I was raised by immigrant parents and my mother’s first job in America was working at a Tommy Hilfiger sweatshop when she was pregnant with me. My parents always joke about how that is why I love clothes so much because I was constantly listening to sewing machine noises while I was in her belly. Growing up, I would always make clothes for my Barbie dolls. I guess I always knew the fashion industry was my destiny. 

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My Story

My favorite class at SFSU would have to be DES 220 - Introduction to Drawing for Designers with Paul Nowicki. I came into the class not knowing anything about art but Paul made us believe that everyone can be an artist. His stories and lessons were inspiring and heartening. 

Someone in the industry I look up to is Virgil Abloh. As an outspoken advocate for diversity and inclusion, Abloh paved the way for emerging creatives and fought for marginalized voices to be heard. Abloh helped bring together the worlds of luxury and street fashion, which is a defining feature of modern fashion. He expanded the realm of possibilities for designers and changed the shape of the luxury fashion industry.

The only plan I have after graduation is becoming more rich, more successful and more fabulous!