Ones to watch: Gilbert Chen, Barque

by Harry Sheff

By Harry Sheff and William Buckley

Gilbert ChenTaiwanese-born Gilbert Chen cut his teeth at a number of big-name businesses after graduating from Parsons. These include Cole Haan, Joseph Abboud, Rainforest and Arnold Palmer Taiwan. Much of his experience was in outerwear, a category that’s well represented in his two-year-old collection Barque.

“I launched Barque for guys who used to shop at the traditional stores and now are looking for something a bit more fresh, but not over the top in terms of fabrication and construction,“ Chen says.

“I specialize in sport shirts made of innovative fabrics, such as Japanese double-faced cotton, indigo dyed and jacquard shirting. I also do unconstructed vests and blazers made in luxurious wool-blend fabrics from Japan.”

The turning point for Chen and Barque was his third season, when he secured the help of the right factory partner. That and hearing from his best account—Stag in Austin, Texas—that Barque was doing well.

Next for Barque is new categories: bags and a capsule children’s wear collection.