Runway Radar: Chelsea Manansala's MISARANA blurs line between traditional and modern South Asian dress

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      By Hannah Pascual

      Chelsea Manansala views fashion as a way to connect with people from all walks of life. Her collection is a fusion of two cultures in which both are celebrated equally. It allows the wearer to maintain tradition at the same time as expressing their individuality.

      MISARANA, Chelsea Manansala’s thesis collection, is a contemporary and transitional label that deviates from traditional South Asian dress while celebrating its origins. Midnight Romance, MISARANA’s spring 2019 collection, suggests a sensual mood of deep hues with the delicacy of soft florals.

      MISARANA will be unveiled at 2018 The Show presented by Tamoda Apparel Inc., on April 19 and 20 at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) new purpose-built Wilson School of Design building. The beautiful and innovative $36-million building houses a range of design programs including the fashion-design-and-technology program. Thirty-one other lines by KPU fashion design and technology students will also be showcased.

      For event details, visit or follow @wilsondesignkpu on Instagram.

      Hannah Pascual: Describe your collection.

      Chelsea Manansala: MISARANA is a label designed for women who want to blur the lines between tradition and modernism.

      HP: Who or what was the inspiration behind your line?

      CM: I grew up in a multicultural world and appreciate other cultural traditions and clothing. I’m fascinated in particular by South Asian food, music, and dress. I observed how the younger generation dressed in comparison to older generations, and realized that young South Asian women were searching for a more contemporary twist on their traditional dress.

      These women are either purchasing custom-made pieces or are incorporating their Western clothing with their traditional items. Some South Asian women might find this too costly or too difficult to find a complete outfit. MISARANA is meant to be a one-stop shop where these women can purchase contemporary and transitional pieces.

      HP: Walk me through your creative process.

      CM: My design process is different each time I encounter a new project. Oftentimes I’m inspired by the target market, sometimes I’m inspired by nature, and other times I’m inspired by the people that surround me.

      This time, I was at a loss for inspiration until I came across the perfect fabric: a beautiful unique lace caught my attention and I began from there. I usually like to branch off and find other corresponding fabrics and trims before I begin sketching. Once I start the sketching process, several iterations lead me to other fabrics, trims, and ideas.

      HP: What have you learned at KPU?

      CM: I have learned that collaboration is an essential part of fashion design. As much as a project can be individual, having an outside opinion is always beneficial. Collaboration has not only helped me evolve as a designer, but it has also helped me grow as an individual. It allows you to view ideas from a different perspective and think outside your comfort zone.

      HP: What aspect of design are you most passionate about?

      CM: I honestly love the overall process. I enjoy seeing projects from start to finish and being able to witness all of the happenings in between. It’s amazing to watch all of the little components come together to create something beautiful in the end. I also love watching people work positively and collaboratively together to come to one unified result.

      Hannah Pascual is a final-year fashion design and technology student at KPU’s Wilson School of Design.

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