24 HOURS WITH WANG CHEN TSAI-HSIA
The designer and founder of Shiatzy Chen on a day in her life in Taipei. As told to Cai Mei Khoo.
The designer and founder of Shiatzy Chen shares her daily schedule
6AM I usually get up at about this time every morning. After some stretching exercises, I have a light breakfast of bread and milk with coffee and a glass of freshly squeezed mixed fruit juice. Then, I get on with my English course, which lasts for an hour. I started learning English about five years ago and take every chance I get to practise with friends and colleagues. 8.30AM Time for a quick shower – I love products from L’Occitane and use its hair and body care as part of my morning ritual. Then it is time for a little makeup before hitting the office. How long it takes me to get ready in the mornings depends on whether I have special appointments or occasions to attend that day. Otherwise, I try to spend as little time as possible to get dressed. My signature style is usually jeans with a Shiatzy Chen top or jacket, or a simple shift dress. My favourite jeans are from my own label, of course, as they are so comfortable. 9AM The office is my first stop after I leave the house. I get driven to work so I have about half an hour of more English practice in the car. I always have my headphones on and listen to an English audio CD. 9.30AM A regular day at work for me involves leading my design and creative team members through the seasons and overseeing the work progress. We come up with new designs and ideas on a daily basis, which is how we put an entire collection together. Right now we are in the midst of working on the Spring/Summer ’ 14 collection. It is split into various groups by theme and colour, and we continue to work on drawings, patterns and fittings until we are satisfied that each piece complements the collection perfectly. I like to listen to music at work. Of course, music always depends on one’s mood but it is usually either jazz, classical or pop. 12PM Regular meals make a difference so lunch is at noon on the dot. I try to maintain a balanced diet and eat in the right proportions to keep healthy. 2PM It’s usually back-to-back meetings with my team post-lunch. Apart from Shiatzy Chen, I also run a lifestyle brand called Cha Cha The so I try to dedicate a fifth of my daily working hours to that. I’m either confirming fabrics with my Shiatzy Chen team or have a food tasting session with my Cha Cha The team. Work days usually last an average of 10 hours for me but of course it’s more hectic in the lead up to Paris Fashion Week. There are castings and fittings for nearly a hundred models and this process takes us at least three days. If I’m not at meetings with my people, I try to get some quiet time in and listen to music in privacy. 4PM Truth is, I am a total fan of the pastries and tea served at Cha Cha The so sometimes I allow myself a naughty snack for afternoon tea. 8PM Dinner is almost always at home or at Cha Cha The. I seldom cook now as I’m way too busy at work but if I do, I prefer cooking authentic Taiwanese cuisine, which my family is really into. I try to catch up with family and friends for dinner. Post-dinner, if my grandson is around, I free up some time to read him bedtime stories. If I’m by myself, I get on the treadmill or watch a good movie. 11PM My son and daughterin-law have been sweet enough to upload some music onto my iPhone so I usually either listen to music before going to bed, or practise English before bedtime. I’ve also learned to use WhatsApp and WeChat, which makes it so much easier to connect with my beloved family. 1AM My bed dressed in silk and cotton sheets of the highest quality. It’s only natural for me to be particular about the quality of fabrics I use.
Wang Chen Tsai-Hsia
Shiatzy Chen Autumn/ Winter ’13