You launched your brand late in life - how come? “I studied fashion design but I became a university lecturer [in textile design] and worked in corporate manage­ment. Then, when I turned 40, in 2010, I had an idea to create my own collection. With the encouragement of friends and family, I started designing in 2011. At the beginning, it felt like a game, if not a hobby. By the time I started working on my spring-summer 2013 collection, I was taking it more seriously.”

How has menswear evolved since you started your label? “The biggest change is the development and evolution of the internet – this has led to online selling and social media, which has impacted our industry in so many ways.”

How Mongolian cashmere is helping sustainable fashion

You recently unveiled a capsule collection made using environmentally friendly cashmere. Is sustainability important to you? “When Lane Crawford and [luxury brand] Maiyet approached me for this collaboration, I was excited to experiment. I was required to create only two designs and I didn’t have to consider if they were appropriate for mass production. This made the possibilities endless.”

How do you view the Chinese fashion industry? “A growing number of Chinese are paying more attention to craftsmanship – it’s a natural outcome since our social and economic development has reached a certain level. This gives us a good opportunity to launch more ‘Made in China’ brands and products, especially those by young designers who are keen to create good stuff. They have passion, but the key is to have good taste.”

Ziggy Chen's old-and-new China look for the modern-day dandy

What’s it like being a Chinese designer today? “As a designer, I express my views and thoughts through my collection, which is very personal. As a Chinese, it’s only natural that I interpret fashion through the lens of my own cultural background. The fact that China is a huge market is without doubt one of the biggest advantages of being a Chinese designer. Proximity to a great manufacturing supply chain means that more and more emerging designers can grow.”

What would your advice be for aspiring designers? “It’s important to be passionate about your job, never give up and continue to learn.”