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Q&A: CSYH - Shenyao Chen

CSYH founder: Shenyao Chen

What does your label CSYH mean? What inspired you to establish this label?

The brand CSYH is an abbreviation of the 3 co-founder’s full names and the label was established in Hongkong in 2016. Coincidentally three of us resigned from our career jobs in different locations Shanghai, Hongkong and Madrid at the same time. One Co-founder had experience in an online concept store specialising in selling vintage pieces, and another Co-founder has digital marketing experience at Lane Crawford, one of the leading luxury fashion platforms based in Hongkong and China. Three of us combined our skill sets and established CSYH. 

Where did you study? What’s was the biggest lesson learnt during your study?

I studied bachelor of fashion design and co-founder MA studied a Master of Arts in Fashion and Textile Design at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Co-founder BA studied fashion design at Zhejiang University of Science and Technology. The most influential thing during my study was my teacher, and he told me: “To do fashion design, you must learn to adhere to your personal style while giving up your personal preferences; fashion is art and business, you must learn to balance”.

What was the reason for you to engage in the fashion industry?

I have completed internships in clothing-related companies since I graduated. Because I have loved fashion since I was a child, I didn’t think too much. When I was very young, I knew I wanted to do this when I grew up.

Where did the design inspiration for this season come from? What is the difference from the previous season?

The 2019SS design was inspired by the style of the 80s, and we named it ‘80’s Party’. The details of the clothing in the 1980s are exaggerated and are usually more suitable for the T-stage. This season, we moved the exaggerated silhouette of the 80s to the runway, removing the shimmering details of the imperfect wear, weakening the sharp edges and corners, adding soft fabric materials to create a vintage New Look. 2018AW - ‘Dress like a boy’ collection was inspired by men’s uniforms from the 1940s and 1950s, such as the Royal Navy uniforms and California jackets. The overall appearance of the retro boy looks like a free, fearless and romantic.

How did you apply the design concept to your work?

The design concept is also big and small, and the concept of the whole brand is big. The concepts of ‘young, innovative, environmentally friendly, interesting’ will run through all the work. In terms of environmental protection, we will try to reduce the use of plastic bags and encourage people to reuse.

Can you please describe CSYH with 3 words? Why?

“Innovative, vitality and rebellious”. This is a state we want to present, interesting and energetic but also have friction and collision.

How do you understand fast fashion and slow fashion? How do you position the CSYH brand?

I think that fast fashion refers to fashion, slow fashion refers to classics. And pop and classic do not conflict. CSYH is always looking for self in both.

What do you think about ethical fashion and sustainable fashion? Will your brand develop into sustainable fashion in the future?

In my opinion, it is not just fashion, everything needs sustainable development. But many things are often constrained by factors such as economic and social development. We have been doing our best to do our best. I believe that with the development of society and the decline in environmental protection costs, everything will get better and better.

The main market of your brand is now in China. Do you want to enter the overseas market in the future?

In recent years, our goal is still focusing on Chinese market. When the domestic market expands to a certain extent, we will consider wilder overseas markets. Collaborating with Fashion Boundary is a very good starting point for us to reach global customers to achieve our future bigger goal.

When designing, do you consider different market audience characteristics?

At present, our customer base is still relatively small, and the market we consider is more specific. After the market audience is done, we will also consider the needs of other customer groups. For example, our secondary fashion line CSYH YOUHN positioning is a young tide brand.

What are your thoughts of young brands only selling products online?

I think this model is very suitable for designers to start a business. It is easier to reach new customers in this model and the cost is lower.

What is the nest step for your brand?

We aim to do better on the e-commerce platform, step by step, and lay the foundation to go further.

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