When he relocated to Canada from his native Taiwan in Summer 2010 menswear designer tailor Yenting (“Yen”) Chen knew no one in the fashion industry. Only weeks earlier, he had completed the fashion program at Taipei’s Shih-Chien University, where his graduate collection was named Best Menswear Collection.
Settling first in Vancouver and then Toronto, he set about creating a new collection that would more fully express his singular vision: the meticulous hand-tailoring and impeccable construction exemplified by London’s Savile Row, combined with his own modern sensibility and love for subtle, distinguishing details. Presented to the public in late 2012 under the brand name Duly Equipped, it won unanimous praise from those lucky enough to discover it — including Toronto urban weekly NOW, which devoted four pages (including the cover) of its Fall Fashion supplement to the collection, despite it not being available at retail.
Since then, Yen has quietly devoted himself to improving his design and tailoring skills, and raising awareness of his work. Shortly before returning to Vancouver in 2014, he made the acquaintance of Barbara Atkin, then-VP of Fashion Direction at Holt Renfrew, who has become a mentor to Yen, offering encouragement and helping to forge connections in the industry. In 2015, his most elaborate collection, named ‘The Four Gentlemen’, drew unprecedented acclaim, garnering awards for Yen in the fashion categories of Design Exchange’s Emerging Designer competition and Western Living magazine’s Designers of the Year awards.
But it was 2016 that brought the greatest personal gratification for Yen. Travelling to London with several of his pieces in tow, he walked through the door of Savile Row’s most prestigious tailoring houses — usually unannounced — to seek appraisal from the people whose work he admires most of all. The tailors and designers he met recognized a kindred spirit and offered generous appreciation. He remains in contact with them to this day.
In 2018, Yen is more productive than ever. In addition to returning to Toronto (where there is greater recognition for his work) and unveiling his most recent work, titled Finally, he has formed alliances for Duly Equipped with a respected Montreal-based manufacturer and some of the world’s best cloth merchants. From his atelier in downtown Toronto, he offers bespoke and made-to-measure services that are unlike any other. Every piece is made with obsessive care and consideration, Yen personally executing every stage of the bespoke process — including his unique finishing details — by hand.