We first discovered KUNMANMA during the previous Paris Fashion Week and were immediately drawn to the brand’s whimsical designs. Founded in 2013 by head designer Fiona Ma in collaboration with assistant designer Emi Cho, the label offers a fresh perspective on womenswear for the modern woman. We sat down with Fiona to learn more about the brand’s aesthetics and inspirations.

Can you tell us where the idea of creating KUNMANMA came from?

The idea of KUNMANMA began just after I finished studying architecture in Australia. I decided that I wanted a way to fuse my love of design with my love of fashion. After working at Diane Von Furstenberg in New York, I traveled to Paris to begin my journey. While in Paris, I met Emi Cho and we decided to team-up, fusing the chicness of Paris with the playfulness of Asia.

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Your designs are very playful yet inherently feminine. What draws you to this style for your collections? 

I consider playfulness as a distinctive character of the 21st century women. Playfulness is an expression of confidence and freedom. This is what distinguishes women of our time to the past. The sense of lighthearted, free and fresh summarizes this girl. I feel lucky to have been born in such a wonderful time for women and I wanted the collection to represent who I am and who we are in this moment.

We see many trends popping up in and out of seasons. What do you feel are some trends that are timeless? 

The styles that flatter the female body shape and enhance its beauty without exposing it. It’s not necessarily fitted. It’s when the material and shape are in perfect harmony. For example, the classic loose blouse, the oversize scarf, the boyfriend shirt and the voluminous tailored coat.

How do you think fashion and style will continue to evolve through the eyes of younger designers? 

With the abundant variety of material and techniques brought by the technology, I think fashion will become hybridized to be multi-functional and keep the aesthetic at the same time. The style of function, wear-ability and the aesthetic. And of course, expression!

What city would you say best represents your collection? 

I think it’s the two cities that we are based at—Paris and Shanghai.

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Can you tell us the inspiration behind your SS2017 collection? 

The inspiration comes from an ancient Chinese Folktale. It is a love story between a mortal and the daughter of a goddess. The love was a forbidden one, which angered the Goddess who kept them apart in Heaven and on Earth. Their love aroused the compassion of Nature, and countless sacred birds—magpies—came together to build a bridge between Heaven and Earth for the lovers to reunite once a year. Our collection is inspired by this love story, and pays homage to the sacred bird.

As we long for the summer and warmth, what are some of your tips to keeping warm/positive during the winter months?

Have a good coat, a good recipe of homemade soup and good friends that you can chat with under the heater of a nice bar, restaurant or your home.

KUNMANMA is now its own country! Describe to us what that country would be like.

It will be a combination of nature and the super modernity. For example, there will be streets looking like Petra but beautiful glass structures inside the caves and the interior are advanced with technology with beautiful hanging gardens.

And unicorns of course.

Where do you see KUNMANMA in 5 years? 

KUNMANMA will hopefully be a global fashion brand but we would like to delve into other areas of design. Including interior and industrial design and collaborating with artists from different industries and backgrounds.

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Photographer: Trevor S. Mansfield
Make-up & Hair: Kana Nagashima
Model: Emma Siaut