Why specialise in menswear? “It came from deep within. I tried both, and womenswear felt difficult. Menswear came naturally and easily. Back then [five years ago], there were strict rules for menswear and womenswear but now those lines are blurring. The new generation wants something new – they don’t need another piece of clothing, they are looking for a new shape, technique or story. That’s why I am moving towards fluid and gender-free collections.” How would you describe your style? “I love using bright colours, which is unusual in the men’s market and has helped us stand out. Menswear designers tend to stick to classic shapes and play with materials and textiles, but I am changing silhouettes constantly. Styling plays a big role, too – when I started, I was known for sporty yet luxurious pieces. It wasn’t as common back then.” How does your Chinese heritage play into your collections? “It’s not about my nationality but more about my personal story. Having said that, I am Chinese, so my culture is part of my story. It comes from my personal experiences or memories, such as my grandmother’s clothes or a trip to my hometown. “My collection for Woolmark is inspired by Chinese medicine. I collaborated with a Chinese doctor and used plants from the world of traditional Chinese medicine to create dyes that work well on wool. The garments themselves highlight the natural meridians and acupoints used in TCM.” How has being nominated for the Woolmark Prize changed your life? “This one comes when the brand is ready to take the next step. This year’s focus was sustainability, which is something we have always touched on. We have used deadstock fabrics since day one but as a smaller brand we didn’t have time to promote this. Woolmark is a way to give us a louder voice, while supporting us behind the scenes with production.” What’s your advice for designers starting out? “Stop comparing yourself to other brands. Find out who you are, what you want to do and don’t think too much. When I was a student many of my peers looked at what other designers were doing and how successful they were – it becomes never-ending. Distance yourself from others and focus on yourself.” Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.