CHIAHUNG SU Designer Interview
Source of Creation and Brand Philosophy
March 22, 2024

Designer interviews that focus on the philosophy of the makers and get behind the scenes of their creations.
This time, we took time to interview Mr. Chia-Hung Su, designer of the Taiwanese brand CHIAHUNG SU, which is handled by FASCINATE_THE R.
In the first part of this interview, we asked him about the background to the launch of the brand and the concept of the brand.

Chia Hung Su

After learning the basics of dressmaking in Taiwan, he worked for several years in custom-made men's suits before moving to England to study menswear design at the London College of Fashion, where he earned a master's degree in fashion design technology.
In 2020, he founded his own eponymous brand, which debuted at the London Collections.

Based in FASCINATE_THE R, he works in the store as a sales associate and as a media editor.

From Taiwan to London. Steps leading up to the launch of the brand.

--- When did you establish your brand?

We started in 2020, and it is our 4th year with the 2024 Spring-Summer collection.

--- What were you doing before starting your brand?

I spent about 6 years in Taiwan working on custom-made men's suits, learning the basics of clothing creation, and then I enrolled in the London College of Fashion (LCF).

--- Why did you choose London as your study abroad destination?

The UK is the country where the suit originated, and within it, London, with its Savile Row, is a famous place with history and tradition in the world of men's tailoring.

It was also a place I had admired since my time in Taiwan.

I chose LCF because I believed it would allow me to learn more practical techniques for making clothes.

--- Can you tell us what was your motivation to start your brand?

Custom suits are all about making something to fit the customer's body with a design that's already set in stone.

It was fun to tailor perfectly to what the customer needed, but what I really wanted to do was create something beyond my own imagination.

For that, I figured I'd need to start my own brand to really dive deep into what I wanted to express.

Lucky for me, I got picked to represent LCF at London Fashion Week, and from there, I even got to join a showroom in Paris.

That's pretty much how my brand got its real start.

--- Did you participate in the London Collection from your debut season?

When I started my brand, I began creating collections in a small atelier and made 42 pieces to participate in the London Collection.

Just as COVID-19 became a global pandemic...

I took that as an opportunity to return to Taiwan.

After that, for a while, I was making fabrics in Taiwan and sending them to London to be made into clothing.

--- Can you tell us about your brand's concept?

Our brand concept is encapsulated in the acronym CHS, which stands for Cultural Historical Sustainability.

This concept involves using traditional Taiwanese fabrics, vintage Japanese textiles, ancient natural dyeing techniques, and as much natural material as possible.

It's about looking back through history to the present, reviving the stories behind these practices in a modern form.

All these elements are interconnected and are crucial in my collection creation process.

Moreover, by adopting an organic and sustainable approach, we create a cycle where what we make eventually returns to the earth, and plants that grow from there are used to make something new again.

We emphasize environmental conservation throughout every stage of the production process, from the raw materials of the garments to the manufacturing process, using ancient production methods.

--- Your collection focuses on exploring history and the fusion of cultures. What sparked this direction?

This mainly stems from my own background and the history of Taiwan.

My grandfather was Japanese, and my interest in history began with the old photos and magazines he had.

This led me to explore the origins of Taiwanese culture, the era of immigration in Southeast Asian countries, and the integration of indigenous cultures before and after the Japanese colonial period.

The cultural development of Taiwan took place from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century.

I studied the history of how Taiwan's indigenous cultures and traditional Japanese cultures mixed, with the aim of introducing Taiwan's culture and traditional techniques.

I wanted to combine these into my unique brand.

--- What inspires your designs?

I often draw inspiration from studying old historical chronicles and records, developing my ideas from there.

For example, family albums or vintage fashion magazines from the 1910s to the 1940s are among my sources.

I express the mix of different cultures from that era through my designs, such as the clothing and culture of Taiwan's indigenous people and the style found in photos of Japanese people living in Taiwan at the time.

--- What aspects do you prioritize in your designs?

Ideologically speaking, the most important aspect for me is the story behind the work.

I aim to create pieces where the ideas and concepts are not just superficial but are filled with stories, where the background is visible through the work, and that can move people's hearts.

--- What about in terms of technical methods?

I've always liked things that show signs of handcrafting, so I prefer a blend of hand-weaving, hand-dyeing, hand-sewing, and tailor's techniques.

Our pattern maker also graduated from a bespoke tailoring course at LC, and for example, all the details on Chiahung SU jackets are tailored by hand.

--- You do most of the production in your own atelier. Why is that?

To achieve the quality I envision, it's crucial to oversee and complete everything within my reach, because it allows me to maintain control.

Also, the advantage of producing in-house is that the speed of everything from drafting designs to creating the final product, or even making adjustments, is completely different.

This is largely due to my experience working in a private order suit shop.

---In the next issue, we will delve more deeply into the stance of our clothing production.

Thank you for your continued support.