Hausie had the pleasure to speak with THEi’s  first graduate class in BA Fashion Design award winners. Continuing from THEi’s FIRST GRADUATE CLASS AWARD WINNERS | PART ONE, we discovered the depth of thought and endurance behind the student’s collections and philosophies. 

THE BREAKING WAVE by Angie Chan | Photography courtesy of THEi

Where some depict fashion through a scientific perspective, first runner-up award winner, Angie Chan, allows her emotions and artistic sense to guide her designs. Asking about where she finds inspiration, the budding designer said “everything! The environment surrounding me, helps to widen my eyes – even glancing at the sunset or a tiny little flower on the road side could be the inspiration. I mean creation is based on our emotion, right? It’s a kind of expression”. The Hausie team could feel the positive energy and vitality of Chan through her works, which explode in colour and texture. In reference to her graduate collection; THE BREAKING WAVE, Chan said, “a major influence would be the weaving wall arts created by independent textile artists. Moreover, I love the collage works by Ernesto Artillo and Pablo Thecuadro. Their works are inspirational and artistically awesome – mind blowing”.

“My design is closely linked to my mood and emotion. The outcome is basically presenting my expression at that moment. In general, I want to make artwork than a garment.”

Angie Chan, 2016

THE BREAKING WAVE by Angie Chan | Photography courtesy of THEi

THE BREAKING WAVE by Angie Chan is texture galore. Woven entirely by hand, paired with minimal denim apparel; this collection translates the movements, colours, and mood we feel from the sea. Even at a distance, audiences at the THEi Graduate Show can see the depth of colour and yarn experimentation. Accents of red make the blues and beige pop. Slubbed yarns, twisted, thick, thin, even strips of fabric and denim were incorporated into Chan’s tapestry-like garments. This collection feels organic and effortless, despite the intense labour involved (the designer even hand-made her own loom).

THE BREAKING WAVE by Angie Chan | Photography by Hausie

To create such detail and variation in pattern, Chan had to undergo a lengthy journey of weaving day in and day out. The Hausie team investigated to find out in more detail and discovered one sleeve takes one week to weave on average. Highlighting this as her main challenge, the designer said: “I have to deal with physical and mental fatigue. Doing similar actions every day after waking up – it needs a lot of time and patience”, but also reiterates that “when you know the other classmates are putting all their efforts and including school’s support – then I can motivate myself to move forward.” Reflecting on her studies, we asked Chan what she would advise to undergraduates looking to study fashion design. Chan mentions a quote of which she loves: ”When you hesitate and make no decision when you have to, ‘make no decision’ in itself is the decision you made” – representing the graduate’s determination and persistently that in necessary to survive in the fashion industry.

“Be brave and honest with yourself, otherwise a few years later, you might find that that little idea is still stuck in your mind and time is gone”

Angie Chan, 2016.

THE BREAKING WAVE by Angie Chan | Photography by Hausie

Hyper-masculinity has always had a place in fashion. People are moved by the alpha male aura, and second runner up Li Sing’s collection packs a powerful punch. Titled, THE KNIGHT PROTECTOR – VOL.1, Li was inspired by his own experience and clothing gear in Thai Boxing Class, vintage boxing imagery, and military details. Where Chan used mood and colour story, Li created a narrative concept: “In a fighting-skill training session held in an abandoned fight club near an uninhabited snowy mountain, there was a legend of a MMA ex-world champion. Withstanding the extreme cold weather and toughest tasks, the army experienced and learned the spirit of a real warrior.” The collection features functional hard-wear, strap detail, military inspired outerwear, with boxing gear details as a contemporary touch.

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

The designer’s own awareness and interest in street style feeds into the narrative of the collection, which refrains it from becoming costume. “I value practicality more than aesthetics: I want to design garments that are wearable and make a person look chic when they go out” (Li Sing, 2016). With a background in visual arts, it’s no wonder the depth of story-like concept THE KNIGHT PROTECTOR – VOL.1 holds. Moreover, in menswear, high-quality fastenings and components are essential. Due to the technical nature of Li’s collection, sourcing became a challenge to which he overcame. “I wanted thicker nylon, but either they are unavailable or involves buying in bulk. The zippers were also hard to find, as the quality ones are only available to source from places like Shenzhen” (Li Sing, 2016).

THE KNIGHT PROTECTOR – VOL.1 by Li Sing | Photography by Hausie

The Hausie team studied his garments closely, and noted the lengthy straps that glide off his outerwear. Parading down the runway, these were the show-stoppers. Li told us the straps were of high quality, and enlightened us on their conceptual background; “I’ve picked up on the length of hand wraps used in amateur boxing while being an active member of this sport”.

“Precision is something I would like to focus on – proportion, details and colours are the main criteria that make menswear look extraordinary.”

Li Sing, 2016.

THE KNIGHT PROTECTOR – VOL.1 by Li Sing | Photography by Hausie

Through Hausie’s visit, we’ve discovered the insight of these young designers span far and wide. Their cumulative strength will lend to the financial hub of Hong Kong, which will transform it’s gradually expanding art sectors. Discussing with the graduates on what makes Hong Kong designers unique, we found they have a shared view that “Hong Kong is a very multicultural city – the designers are well aware of the needs of both Eastern and Western markets” (Li Sing, 2016). This unique ability can propel young designers onto the international stage, given more sourcing opportunities and financial support.

Li Sing, Angie Chan, Henry Choi | Photography by Hausie

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]