May 21, 2009|
Like Hans Christian Andersens of the fashion world, brother and sister Kay and Jing Wong enjoy creating myths and legends with their designs. “Our belief in the life of objects has led us to design garments inspired and adapted from vintage clothing, which contain many stories and memories.“ But their dream is far more than just a fashion fairytale.
It became a reality when they set up the Daydream Nation brand and launched collections which they say “create new myths for clothes each season and result in visual catwalk narratives.”
Both studied in London, with Kay graduating from the Royal College of Art with a degree in textiles and Jing from Central Saint Martins with a degree in theater design and directing.
Their garments are devised through playing with and manipulating old clothes; one previous collection was based on a hunter-turned-deer fairy tale. This season is a tribute to their late father and is called “Letter to Paul.”
The sibling team have braved the international market from Paris to Greece but, ironically enough, have found Hong Kong the hardest to crack. Right here in their home city, their latest necklace designs have become the target of plagiarism. “Hong Kong has little respect for intellectual property,” laments Kay.
Elsewhere in the world, Daydream Nation’s designs have been adopted and commissioned by street fashion and haute couture brands alike. “In Hong Kong, we are just a tiny potato, to be copied by others,” he adds. “That’s why there are so few designers in Hong Kong.”
Still, they feel like the fortunate ones. Compared to their father’s generation, they’ve got more independence and freedom to stand on their own two feet. There is also no denying the two possess something that outshines others. “Our courage and diligence are qualities seldom found in this generation,” says Jing. “We’re proud of our Yes, Let’s spirit.”
Daydream Nation’s collections are available at Cocktail, LCX, Level 3, Ocean Terminal, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2735-2282. Kapok, 6 St. Francis Yard, Wan Chai, 2549-9254. Voulez Vous, 3 Yiu Wa St., Bartlock Centre, Causeway Bay, 2833-0938.
“Mischievously elegant” is probably the best way to describe the handmade handbags by Hoiming.
“Without mischief the world would be boring,” says Hoiming Fung who co-founded the brand with her partner Baldwin Pui in 2006.
It’s this irreverent approach to design which inspired their “One-of-a-Kind” collection of vintage leather jackets transformed into body-hugging bags. Another playful collection is “Recess,” which was influenced by Pui’s happiest moments as a primary school boy. Each design was influenced by a playground action like “skip,” “bend” and “revolve.”
The duo’s mission is to create bags with surprises. To them it’s about exploring new ways to carry things, challenging notions of usage and breaking the stereotypical form and function of what a “handbag” should be.
Influenced by her tailor mother, Fung was only a child when she started making clothes for her dolls, sister and herself. But she was a rebellious soul and intentionally strayed from her mother’s path, choosing to study graphic design at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Although she soon realized it was a mistake, it did result in her meeting Pui who was studying fashion design there. The couple discovered they shared similar fashion aspirations and set out to challenge the idea of what a handbag can be. They didn’t want to re-style existing designs in the market and sought to break free from the traditional shape of cookie-cutter bags. Since graduating in 2000, they have won many awards including Asian Young Designer of 2002.
Recently, they attended trade shows in Paris and Milan and, despite their faith in the originality of their brand, say they realize success is unlikely to come overnight. But nothing will stop them. “If you have an idea in mind, actualize it”—it’s a motto the duo follow faithfully and hope other aspiring designers will follow too.
Hoiming’s collections are available at DNM, 68 Yee Wo St., Causeway Bay, 2577-6988. Harvey Nichols, 4/F, The Landmark, 15 Queen’s Rd., Central, 3695-3388.
Voulez Vous, 3 Yiu Wa St., Bartlock Centre, Causeway Bay, 2833-0938.
Creativity knows no bounds and Eugene Leung has proven the point.
Before he started his one-man fashion label INJURY in 2004, he trained as an architect in Australia, worked as an interior designer, performed as a graffiti artist on the streets, and started an electronica duet called Butterwings. Without the constraint of academic training in fashion design, Leung believes he has license to be even more imaginative.
Hailed as “a cult fashion label,” INJURY is inspired by anything “dark, bizarre, gothic and nightmarish.” The results are designs which Leung calls “surreal horror.”
To support his collections, Leung likes to make short horror films which often present explosive themes or content such as pornography.
Established in Sydney, INJURY first specialized in menswear and later extended its collections to women’s while continuously aiming to make downplayed high fashion.
Last year, the Hong Kong-born designer moved his studio back to his hometown. He realizes the Hong Kong market is more open to (and also willing to pay for) new ideas and that there are actually a lot of hidden design talents here. “Hong Kong’s fashion can be as good as Japan’s,” comments Leung, “but some of the designers are too shy to show their work to people.” Leung’s advice to his counterparts: “Do something that others haven’t done.”
INJURY’s collections are available at DNM, 68 Yee Wo St., Causeway Bay, 2577-6988. Gallery de Vie, 45 Gough St., Central, 2851-1848 . Kapok, 6 St. Francis Yard, Wan Chai, 2549-9254.
Millinery is still a word missing from the local fashion vocabulary. Fortunately, we have Jaycow, the first full-time local milliner in Hong Kong.
What Jaycow practises is “model millinery”—one-off designs created for special events such as theater, the races and weddings. She is also the maker of Cantopop singer Eason Chan’s iconic crow top hat, and was the only Chinese student taught by British royal milliner Rose Corey at the London College of Fashion.
As a pioneer of a craft still new to Hong Kong, Jaycow is determined to be a success and overcome any challenges in her path. Yet it is neither money nor fame that Jaycow is really after. The reason she took up millinery is simply because she finds it “quite romantic.” She explains: “Everything in the local fashion scene tends to dominated by youth culture and trends. But then I look at my teacher Rose Corey, and she’s still teaching and making hats at the age of 60. I told myself that I can follow her path as well. She made me realize that it’s about being happy and doing something that you enjoy.”
Jaycow’s collections are available at White Bridal Couture, 17 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, 2521-3288.
Maysum isn’t the kind of girl who grew up with Barbie dolls. In fact, she’s scared of them.
“I am allergic to the plastic smell of dolls,” says the 28-year-old illustrator, who confesses that making friends with the iconic blonde figurine is more horrifying than watching a horror movie.
One might see the character Bybie in Maysum’s accessories collection as something of a catharsis, then. Realized in an eccentric caricature drawing style, she is not exactly a typical beauty. Maysum has evolved into a self-taught makeup artist, stylist and now accessories designer. Surprisingly, she reveals that she’s not really into fashion but perhaps that’s precisely what makes her creations unique. “I won’t compare my products to others’,” comments Maysum on her well-received collection.
“I’m just having fun while fulfilling my dream.”
Super-Bybie collections are available at Gallery de Vie, 45 Gough St., Central, 2851-1848. LCX Xplus, Level 3, Ocean Terminal, Tsim Sha Tsui, 3102-3668.