THEi is a newly established institution, and already making an impact on Hong Kong’s growing creative industry. Once considered lacking, Hong Kong’s art scene has boomed. With the arrival of Art Basel (Yuan, Forbes, 2015) and call to invest into the creative industry from acclaimed consulates (Lau, SCMP, 2016) the global city is becoming a place that can house it’s undoubtable talents. Support from educational institutions is the first stage that will encourage young creatives to pursue their passions; and THEi is doing exactly that.

THE KNIGHT PROTECTOR – VOL.1 by Li Sing | Photography courtesy of THEi

Hausie had the pleasure of visiting the campus and meeting the three award winner’s of their first graduate class in BA Fashion Design. We discovered the diversity of style and talent to which they will offer to the industry, and uncovered their thought processes. As witnessed from those selected to participate in the Thei BA Fashion Graduate’s Show; the college hosts a wealth of styles amongst their students, and noticeably; with a very international aesthetic. Hong Kong designers tend to lean towards a certain kind of street style influence, taking from Japan and Korean aesthetics. However, the graduate class of THEi exhibited a worldly style; portraying the holistic education of their institution.

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UNTITLED-1 by Henry Choi | Photography courtesy of THEi

Henry Choi, winner of the Hong Kong Fashion Association Creativity Award, spoke to us about his inspirations whilst growing up. He cites John Galliano, in particular his 2008 haute couture collection for Dior, to which he described as “Love at first sight – His designs are always rich in detail and over-the-top stunning. They gave me lots of ideas for high fashion”. We could see the influence indeed: UNTITLED-1, Choi’s collection, was a form lover’s dream. The graduate “was interested in how garment lining can be innovated” and reimagined “the garment as a human body – which includes skin, flesh, and bones”. Using this as inspiration, Choi translates this to bodice, lining and trimmings. Incorporating “all [his] favourite things like shapes, volume, and black.”

UNTITLED-1 by Henry Choi | Photography courtesy of THEi

The shapes in UNTITLED-1 grows from the body with fluidity, and left a significant impression on the runway. On whether he had a specific design philosophy, Choi said, “I developed my concept around structure. I related a garment to a human body; like skin, flesh and bones. I just want to explore more and try to push my limits”. In many ways, Choi’s collection statement best describes the dark, romantic, and powerful presence his collection emits.

Black is the tunnel trapped the light.

In the tunnel you see shapes.

Chaos is the blind give you sight.

Skin is all you can see. All together you drive in.

A body of a new sac.

UNTITLED-1 by Henry Choi | Photography by Hausie

Up close, you will notice the variety of materials combined together in UNTITLED-1. Quilting meets lace, corduroy meets faux fur; Choi’s collection is a story on variations of types of ‘black’ as much as it is about silhouette. The Hausie team were particularly mesmerised at how one knit garment managed to hold it’s curvature: “I layered the knit to a frame as human bone is a frame for skin. For example, faux leather is quilted and supports the knit in the sleeve. Also, neoprene is layered with different fabrics to express the human shape” (Henry Choi, 2016).

UNTITLED-1 by Henry Choi | Photography by Hausie

UNTITLED-1 leaves an impression on the visual senses up close and from afar. At a distance, you are struck by the volume and form. Upon closer inspection, the merging of fabrics of different qualities serves as an aesthetic feast to textile lovers. Hausie will be exploring the design philosophies and collections of award winners Angie Chan and Li Sing’s in THEi’s FIRST GRADUATE CLASS AWARD WINNERS | PART TWO.

Kind regards to Henry Choi, Angie Chan, Li Sing for their insight and artistic inspirations. And special thanks to THEi Department of Design, Associate Professor, Alice Chu, and Marketing Officer Doris Ting for their hospitality.

Written by Sonia Wan

Edited by Christina Wright

“References”

Forbes (2016) Hong Kong Art Industry [Online] Available at http://www.forbes.com/sites/myuan/2015/06/12/hong-kongs-art-industry-is-booming-despite-suffocating-rents/#3633ea8c5ca9 [Accessed 25/06/16]

SCMP (2016) Push Creative Industries Hong Kong [Online] Available at http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/economy/article/1850072/push-creative-industries-hong-kong-stay-world-city-says [Accessed 25/06/16]