Passionate about fashion design, Chang Shanghai tried to find a school that taught the subject after graduating from high school.
Recalling this time four years ago, Mr Shanghai, 22, a recent graduate in fashion design and business innovation from Limkokwing University, said he had to overcome objections on the part of his family to his choice of major.
“I didn’t know much about fashion after graduating from high school; I just knew that I loved it. At first I didn’t know which university taught it. Later I found Limkokwing University. However, my mum wanted me to study at medical school, but I didn’t agree because it wasn’t what I loved,” Mr Shanghai said.
He added that the reason his mother wanted him to study medicine was that she wanted him to have a permanent job with a regular income, unlike a fashion designer. To win his mum’s trust, Mr Shanghai promised her that he would be able to survive and could earn an income after graduating in this major.
Unlike many other students, Mr Shanghai wasn’t so interested in commercial design. He takes a more artistic and architectural view of design. He admitted that this approach to design isn’t necessarily the best way to secure a good income because there isn’t a huge market for it.
“Mostly, these designs appear in exhibition; we held one recently, the Creative Generation exhibition. Some people who appreciate the fine arts visited and bought some photos of my designs. At the same time, it helped me to build my reputation,” Mr Shanghai said.
After a few exhibitions and two years of an internship, Mr Shanghai said that three of his collections have been shown, and he has established a name for himself. He has been asked to do some interior design projects.
“I like creating conceptual fashion. It isn’t easy at all. I spend a month just developing the concept for a design. I get inspiration from nature and architecture. Then I start to draw, creating more than 100 patterns, but eventually I select only one,” Mr Shanghai continued.
He stated that not many people understand his pictures, adding that understanding them requires curiosity and a willingness to learn.
Mr Shanghai recalled, “Most of [my fellow] students in this major gave up, as there were so many assignments. I used to feel that way too, wondering what I would do after graduation. Some of my seniors failed and I have a clear sense of direction. However, at the same time I accepted internships with various companies because my world revolves around fashion design, nothing else.”
Even when he was on vacation, Mr Shanghai never stopped working. He pushed himself to work and learn new things despite not being paid. Mr Shanghai wants to pursue a master’s degree in traditional textiles, but plans to use this knowledge to make something contemporary. He recommends studying and working at the same time, as having a job brings extra lessons that can be beneficial in life.