Eva Chen’s sense of style has amassed her millions of followers. The former magazine editor and current author, mom, and fashion plate is well known for her enviable closet full of designer clothing, but now, she’s getting behind a more attainable brand: H&M.
After the birth of her third child, River, in 2021, Chen says the store became more than just a go-to. “I found myself popping over to H&M across the street from me all the time,” Chen tells InStyle. “I spent probably three months of my mat leave picking up tiny cute socks and little things like that.”
Fast forward two years, and Chen is teaming up with the retailer on a limited-edition, gender-neutral collection of children’s clothing launching Sept. 7. Inspired by classic Americana style with Japanese and Korean influences, the pieces are ideal for back-to-school and long after.
“I went through a phase fashion-wise where I was wearing more dresses, and I was less into denim,” recalls Chen. “Then I went deep into the Canadian tuxedo look with denim on denim, and just denim overload around the time of COVID.” That denim inspiration comes through in the collection’s soft, easy designs for your mini-me. “One of my favorite pieces is the jacket that has the fleece lining on the inside,” she says.
Chen’s background as an editor working on fashion editorials and photoshoots had a heavy influence on the collection. “For me, some of the biggest campaigns and fashion images that were really formative to me growing up as a fashion enthusiast were from the ’90s,” she explains. “The campaigns with a lot of denim, white T-shirts, a simplicity. But at the same time, [they were] approachable. We tried to hit all those buckets.”
Color plays a key role as well, including jade green, which is especially personal to her. “I’ve been wearing a jade bangle for probably 20 years at this point,” says Chen, who adds, “Right now, I’m in the process of renovating a new apartment. Jade green is featured throughout.”
If you’re one of Chen’s 2.4 million followers on Instagram, you may recognize her kids, Ren, 8, Tao, 6, and River, 2, modeling in the campaign. “Ren is a pro,” says the proud mom. “She loves fashion, and she’s been to a few fashion shows with me. She had her poses down.”
Then there’s Tao, who was the “ham” on set. “He has, I would say, the best facial expressions and very strong eyebrows that could give Cara Delevingne a run for her money.” As for the youngest, River? “Not going to lie, River, he was a little bit of a diva,” Chen admits. “But the miracle photographer that we had literally was able to capture one shot of all of us where everyone was more or less composed. I was amazed.”
The beauty of the collection, Chen says, is that it’s designed with longevity in mind — not only through the materials she chose, like recycled cotton, recycled polyester, and TENCEL Lyocell, but also the timeless design. “When I look at some of the pieces that Ren, Tao, and River have worn, they are hand-me-downs. That’s one of the messages and drum beats of this collection, as well — that I want these pieces to be passed on from friend to friend, from family to family.”
It’s a sentiment she has carried over from her own way of dressing. “I [still] have clothes from when I was in college. Well over a decade ago,” she says, adding, “I believe that if something is good, it’s good, and it should last.”
One of the pieces she raves about most is H&M’s silk-blend T-shirt. “I have posted extensively about this T-shirt to the point where I think it’s sold out,” she says. (As of August 21, a size medium in White is still in stock, as well as other colors.) “The structure and fit of this T-shirt is perfect. It’s this perfect boxy fit, slightly longer sleeve.”
Chen is largely disinterested in today’s trend-driven fashion cycle. “I think that the biggest trend in fashion just is no trend. It’s individuality and just being comfortable in your own style,” she says.
She stresses the importance of individuality to her kids, too. “The way I’m encouraging Ren, especially, to think about fashion is just [to wear] what makes her happy,” she says. “She’s very into mixed prints. She loves patterns and clashing in the clothes that she designed when she was in sewing camp.”
Chen adds that the joy Ren derives from wearing what she loves has influenced her own style. “I feel really lucky that my fashion muse is at home with me, Ren, and seeing the way she styles herself. I think bringing that joy to my fall dressing will certainly be my own goal.”
The Eva Chen x H&M Kids Collection will be available to shop in select H&M stores in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico and online at hm.com beginning Sept. 7th.