In 2008 Shangguan Zhe founded his brand, Sankuanz. Based in Xiamen, China, the designer explores a range of inspirations – from youth culture to military attire – constantly re-combining elements to arrive at clothes that pulse with excitement. From one season to the next, the collections transmit emotions through art and music, giving the brand an aura of next-level coolness.
Are you a dreamer?
Yes, I like dreaming. In dreams, I often get to meet people whom I am no longer able to see in reality. Dreams bring me back in time and give me experiences of things that I haven’t experienced, enabling me to understand my choices. Dreams make me understand myself better.
Had you dreamed of becoming a designer?
When I was very young, I dreamed of becoming an architect or a video game producer. Then I dreamed of becoming a graphic designer when I was in college.
Why do you think people dream of working in fashion?
For me, fashion is how I explain this world. I work in the fashion industry because it provides me with a steady flow of energy and the motivation to continue to create.
Do you try to interpret your sleeping dreams?
I often interpret my dreams, trying to pair every detail of the dreams with my memory of real life. I believe that memory is parallel to dreams without a linear order. Dreams will reorganize fragments of memory of our consciousness.
Do you get creative ideas from your sleeping dreams?
Yes. Before the release of a new collection, I often stay up late to work on the collection. During that time, I often dream about details of the designs or looks with the products. If I can recall it when I awake, I’d follow the dream. I have already had several such experiences.
To what extent do you think fashion is about proposing/selling dreams?
I think fashion is all about manufacturing dreams, just like novels, poetry or cinema. These can be good dreams, or nightmares.
Do dreams help us make sense of reality or do they help us escape?
For me, dreams help me make sense of reality. They can present a different side of emotions and memory, which may be hidden in real life.
What is your wildest dream for the state of the world?
The world becomes free of poverty and hunger, discrimination, hatred, war and disaster. All human beings become a community of peace.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.