HK Milk magazine feature.jpg

interviews in English 

X : MILK X           C: Chaney Manshu Diao

X: Hello! Please introduce yourself to our readers. (Including school, major, fashion show)

C: My name is Chaney Manshu Diao, I am one of the 2019 graduates of central saint martins’s fashion design pathway, and I will continue a MA in womenswear in central saint martins this Oct. I design clothes for women.



X: You have a strong personal design style, can you tell us your design ideas? How would you describe your design? 


C: I suppose many people get to know me as a designer through my graduate collection: Pleasure 41. I believe my graduate collection has helped me to establish my unique style as a designer.


I think my practice as a designer should be considered as very much fine art based. I looked into the relationship between clothes and people, instead of just aiming on achieving aesthetic beautiness. I am trying to reveal a kinky relationship between people and dress. In which I see clothes as restrictions towards people both physically and mentally. I am also very much interested in using and experimenting with different materials and medias. Most of my sculpture “clothes” pieces are tailored and made first as real garments, and then I used casting techniques to transform them into sculpture pieces. 


haha, I found it hard to describe my own designs. I suppose my designs are just very personal. whether the concept, or the way of my development process. As a designer I think I am very brave, dedicated or even a bit persistent towards what I believed as a person in life. I suppose my work is a reflection on these qualities I have.



X: What do you usually get inspiration for your designs? (Would be happy if you can share some pictures, or anything that inspired you a lot)


C: My practice is very much based on my personal background, which is surrounded by issues, confusions and conflicts alongside my own growing-up journey. I am trying to reflect upon those problems. I always got inspired by topics related to youth, gendered issues, disciplines, sexuality… for instance, i found books about cultural studies on dress, women, gender are very inspiring to get information about.


I found my visual reference has always been a mixture of various formats of artworks ranging from different period of time, thus I found it is quite hard to conclude an answer. In my graduate collection, my audience might be able to see my quote from soviet constructivism, Germany Domestic Republics’ period of art as visual reference on uniformity. However, I also studied surrealism as reference for sexuality expression. Also if you can notice that there’s always a mild touch of religion within my work. 


X: What do you think fashion is? 


C: I don’t think I have the full knowledge to answer this question. i believe what people as consumers thinks about fashion must be polar-different to what designers thinks about it, also what I think about it. I think in general fashion is about style, topics and trend. whenever I consider myself as a consumer or worrying about what I should wear today according to different occasions. I found the clothes I wear turns out to be the first impression normally when strangers see me. In this case I completely understand the reason why there’s a need that people want to follow a trend, or being more precisely, the need to be fashionable. however, personally speaking, I don’t like the way how people link people’s “character” with their appearance. 


As a designer, I think fashion to me is just one language to express my statement and thinkings. I appreciate the very practical side of it, as it produce diversified style of clothes for people to buy and wear. which gives people in the world a freedom to dress as what they want. But my own practice as a designer is too fine art to be considered as “ready-to-wear” fashion objects. I believe I am trying my best to make people think about the artistic, political and sexual perspective of this commodity that everybody in possession of. 



X: Which of your designs do you like the best? Why? (Please share the fashion design images, can be on model, or garment shooting.)


C: I think this black piece is probably my favourite from my final year collection. I think it just turns out to be good as a fashion outfit also good as a fine art piece at the same time. I am very critical with my practice being too fine art as long as I see myself as a fashion designer. 



X. Your design is so interesting, and your personal life is also interesting? Would you like to share with us what you like to do in the daily?  (Would be happy if you can provide some funny images that related to your daily life)


C: To be honest, I think my life is like everyone’s else if we don’t count the times I spent at my work. Fashion has become the majority of my life, sadly, haha, but that might be the reason why my life seems to be different to others.  


luckily I still have my own time. I definitely invest my time on exhibitions. As I am based in London, there’s always something going on. For instance Tate Modern, national gallery, V&A… if I don’t want to go out, I enjoy watching films at home and reading. I spent so much time researching and viewing films from different period of time with different genres. Film is definitely another most important part of my life.




X: Please use 5 words to describe your ideas about future fashion.


C: Diversity, sustainability, ugliness, Idolization, E-commerence. 



X: What is your opinions about the current fashion culture?


C: as far as I know, I found the current fashion culture has been well associated with pop culture. To look at the leading fashion/style magazines in UK, for instance, Dazed, The Face, it is not hard to find evidence on that. To some extent I found this is bit irritating but also very inevitable. Though, for instance, if we look at the fashion trends and magazines in the 90s, we would find pop-culture scene at that time as well. However, in nowadays, as everyone and everything is online, even the ‘pop culture’ now is tied up with internet, say TikTok. The brands which are involved with pop culture are going to expand much faster than those from underground/subculture. Which makes me worry about the progression of these brand. And worried about the diversity of styles at the same time. I found it will be really hard for brands doing very unique style to be survived.