Since he began his foundation course four years ago at Central Saint Martins, 22 year old Fashion Design and Marketing student Manyi Liu has been fascinated by traditional Chinese workwear. ‘I would get lots of magazines and books about vintage military wear and workwear and spend time visiting some really amazing vintage shops,’ explained Liu of his obsession.

Having grown up in Beijing, China, thousands of miles away from the college Liu frequents, he designs this collection as a ‘love letter’ home. Based on his own fictional story of a Chinese man who has left home to travel to America as a railway worker, Liu poetically communicates how the character struggles with his own identity, homesickness and loneliness, using wax resistant dye that causes the textiles to peel and crack. His inspiration combined the ‘old’ working uniforms that his grandparents had worn when they worked in a paper and timber mill in Beijing in the 1940s with photography of the time by Fan Ho, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Hedda Morris.

Influenced by his time spent working for John Alexander Skelton during his placement year, Liu plans to refine his craft next year on the MA.

Hannah Karpel, BA Fashion Journalism