Angel Chen – a Chinese designer who fuses streetwear with demi-couture, and Eastern with Western aesthetics – has partnered with whisky luxuriate Johnnie Walker for Lunar New Year. Chen, now considered one of China’s brightest young talents, has illustrated the designs of two Johnnie Walker bottles to celebrate The Year Of The Rabbit; Johnnie Walker Blue Label and John Walker & Sons King George V.

Angel Chen x Johnnie Walker Blue Label Lunar New Year Limited Edition Design

An important festival on the cultural calendar, LNY is indeed the only holiday where those celebrating will almost move mountains to travel to their hometowns to meet with their family, friends and business partners and exchange gifts. And no matter your culture, the messaging behind LNY is one more people around the world should celebrate. For gifting a loved one a considered and inimitable item – one that can ideally be enjoyed together – makes for a really great moment. And, we need more them!

Angel Chen x John Walker & Sons King George V Lunar New Year Limited Edition Design

In Chinese culture, the rabbit is known to be the luckiest out of the twelve animals and symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty. Rabbits – especially those with white hair – are also a symbol of longevity. Chen has sketched a white rabbit onto Johnnie Walker’s special LNY edition Blue Label bottle, along with clouds (which depict the greater heights its recipient may reach in the birth of the New Year).

Since its inception in 1992, every drop of Johnnie Walker Blue Label has been crafted using some of the rarest handpicked whiskies from distilleries across the four corners of Scotland, including irreplaceable casks from long-closed ‘ghost’ distilleries. Known as one of the finest, most aspirational whiskies one can drink, it boasts an exceptional and distinct depth of flavour and character; fruit, spice and a lingering smokiness.

ICON sat down with Chen to discuss her deft and interesting collab with Johnnie Walker – and the specialness they created together, ready for you to gift to someone who deserves the luck of the world this Lunar New Year.

ICON: Hi Angel! You’ve said the illustrations on the Johnnie Walker bottles “symbolise how we need to keep moving forward, spreading goodness throughout the year to come.” How will you be spreading goodness this year?

ANGEL CHEN: I hope that everyone will have the same optimism and positivity symbolised by the rabbit design in the upcoming Lunar New Year. I will share my experience, harvest and joy from the past year with my family and friends, and embrace a better self in the New Year.

“I also wish to travel to more places in the New Year to get more inspirations from the world, and enjoy every wonderful moment of my life.”

ICON: You have worked with some really big brands. What did you love most about your collaboration with Johnnie Walker?

ANGEL CHEN: The brand philosophy really resonated with me, as Johnnie Walker value their heritage and the legacy they’ve created in the 200 years. I loved their defiant optimism, and it was a pleasure to work with a brand that’s looking towards a positive future for the next 200 years. My values align directly with those of Johnnie Walker and because my work is often inspired by different generations and cultures, collaborating with a brand that reflects these ideals in their craft was truly special.

ICON: How did you capture the spirit of Johnnie Walker in your LNY illustrations?

ANGEL CHEN: I got inspiration for my designs from the craft that Johnnie Walker Master Blender Dr. Emma Walker and her team bring to Johnnie Walker Blue Label – a whisky handcrafted from some of the rarest distilleries in the wonderful Johnnie Walker reserves. Just like the layers of incredible flavour crafted by Dr. Walker, I wanted to create similar layers of vibrancy and rich complexity in my designs. My approach to the design for LNY echoes the progressive values of Johnnie Walker and their slogan ‘Keep Walking’. I want to make things for people who are visionaries, people who see things creatively that others can’t. These limited-edition designs for LNY are no different. Johnnie Walker is an inspiring brand so it wasn’t difficult to create something interesting. I was also really inspired by the depth of blue and flavour from Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

ICON: Did you meet Dr. Walker? And if so, what were your first impressions of her and her team? What did you learn from her?

ANGEL CHEN: I was inspired by Dr. Walker. Her whisky creations and character share many similarities with my work on this collection. I blended my imagination of her and her craftsmanship with the love I have for Chinese culture and LNY. Dr. Walker is Johnnie Walker’s sixth master blender, meaning she’s a visionary in her own right. The way she pushes boundaries reminds me of how I like to do the same with my creations. Her small team of whisky makers create the layers of vibrancy and rich complexity I like to show in my designs.

ICON: What can we expect from your eponymous label this year? What’s next?

ANGEL CHEN: Expect boldness and boundary breaking styles. My collections always encourage people not to be bound by age and gender. I want people to show the multi-faceted nature of their characters through different ways of dressing. I want people to not be afraid of expressing their true selves and boldly attempting something new. I always try to make my collections feel like they have real meaning and can be worn in different ways, across different generations and genders, and this will continue throughout my upcoming work.

ICON: You have built a stable reputation as one of China’s most exciting young fashion talents. What is your advice for new designers trying to make a name for themselves?

ANGEL CHEN: The act of studying, absorbing, and transferring new skills to keep putting out things that excite people is really important. My philosophy is to learn, to share, and to exchange. Art is something that you can explore. In it, you can find who you are and what you really love.

ICON: As an independent designer, what changes would you like to see in the fashion world?

ANGEL CHEN: I would like to see more celebration of self-expression and individual creativity. I want to see people supported to express their own character, fired by the confidence to be brave, bold, and to explore new paths to drive culture forward. I want visionaries to be seen and catered for, people who see things creatively that others can’t.

ICON: Day-to-day, how do you stay motivated to do what you do and keep the creative side of your brain pumping?

ANGEL CHEN: My work is often inspired by different generations, different genders and cultures. To make this happen, I love to spend quality time embedding myself in the culture of different countries. I usually spend time somewhere, following guides at local museums to learn about how traditional art pieces are created and their cultural background.



Always drink Johnnie Walker responsibly.