Have you always been creative? “I grew up in Jieyang, Guangdong province, so I am a native of Teochew. I started designing clothes for mum [a dressmaker] and myself when I was around age 13. Mum helped me make those garments. I remember once I designed a style for her and it sold out in a week.”

Why Chinese designer Xander Zhou was destined for a career in fashion

Describe your fashion journey. “Ten years ago, when I had just come to Australia, most Chinese parents wanted their children to become a doctor or lawyer. I am influenced by my family – my mum was a dressmaker and my grandma worked in handi­crafts. I went to RMIT [the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology] to do my BA and MA in fashion design.

“In 2013, I started my label and in 2016/17 my brand was nominated for the International Woolmark Prize Australia and New Zealand for menswear. This year, it was a finalist for the National Designer Award during VAMFF [Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival].”

Shanghai Fashion Week better than Paris, say couple behind ‘stupid elegant’ label

How has Melbourne influenced your designs? “Melbourne is my favourite city in Australia. Culture, architec­ture and art inspire my designs, so I am lucky to live in a city that’s filled with those things. This is a gift from Melbourne.”

Your menswear is all about textures, tailoring and bold knits. Why is that? “I didn’t study knitwear at university. I am self-taught in knitwear, therefore I don’t have any limit to what I can and can’t do. I test out ideas and make mistakes, but what comes out is very me.”

What’s next for Chris Ran Lin? “Fashion retail is very difficult right now. We are still a young brand; I need to make sure it is steady. I would like to take the label onto a more international stage, be sold in more stores globally [it is now stocked at Lane Crawford], and my big wish: to have my
own boutique.”