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Designers to look out in 2018
Calvin Sit

Four local designers to watch out for in 2018

We put the spotlight on these young designers who have been making waves in the Hong Kong fashion scene

Written by
Olivia Lai

What’s in style changes constantly but a new group of Hong Kong-based designers are standing out for their unique visions and sartorial excellence. Whether it’s for their environmental concerns or sources of inspiration, these are the up-and-coming local designers to keep your eyes on.

Designers to watch in 2018

Sonic Lam – inspired by the past

A history buff through and through, Sonic Lam is passionate about all things vintage and loves to incorporate local culture into his contemporary designs. Enthralled by the evolution of fashion, he finds inspiration in everything from cultural customs and military history to new technology. “Instead of following the latest trends,” he enthuses, “I prefer to discover new things about Hong Kong and Chinese culture. China has such a rich history. It’s a treasure trove of inspiration for any designer.” One gem he stumbled upon is an old map of Kowloon, which led to his recent award-winning collection, Barren Land. Lam aspires to utilise the craftsmanship unique to Hong Kong in his future endeavours. Though not ruling out the possibility of working in other fashion hotbeds like London and Shanghai, he is currently learning all he can about establishing his own sustainable brand here in his hometown.

Designers to watch in 2018

Gao Qing Zi – upcycling hero

Waste is currently one of the biggest concerns in fashion but Gao Qing Zi is tackling the problem with gusto, utilising upcycling and reconstruction techniques. “I think every fashion addict has the same problem,” she says, “that of having to buy new fashion items every year to keep up with the trends.” To combat this, Gao transforms damaged textiles and used clothing into new outfits fit for the stars – local indie musician Linda Chow wore Gao’s EcoChic Design Award-winning collection during a recent tour. Gao’s works are often inspired by popular culture and her desire to challenge the ‘superficial’ attitudes of the young generation. “For designers, it is challenging to strike a balance between fashion and sustainability,” admits Gao, “but I enjoy the process.” Though she’s still finishing her studies at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, expect more sustainable yet socially relevant creations in the near future.

Designers to watch in 2018

Wilson Choi – elevating street style

Relishing the process of creating something from scratch, becoming a fashion designer has always been the dream of Wilson Choi. Designing what he describes as high-end street style menswear, the DFA Hong Kong Young Design Talent Award 2016 recipient believes that every clothing line should have a story behind it. “I want people to not just look at the outfit but to learn the story behind the collection,” he tells us, “to see how the clothes are inspired so they can appreciate my collection. I don’t want to be a designer who’s only about aesthetic.” Finding inspiration everywhere from Swedish cinema to modern warfare, Choi delights in adding little details to your average piece of streetwear. Gearing up for a 12-month internship in Germany and England, Choi laments a dearth of opportunities in Hong Kong. After a year away, he intends to return with new experiences and to get his brand out.

Designers to watch in 2018

Arto Wong – unlimited potential

A pint-sized designer with massive talent, Arto Wong was crowned champion and best new talent at this year’s Hong Kong Young Fashion Designer Contest. Fascinated by the power of fashion and how ‘wearing a nice outfit can make [the wearer] become confident’, Wong’s creations inject some much-needed positive attitude into our society. Take her award-winning collection, Zero to Unlimited, based on molecular transformation. Wong’s eye-catching designs feature a juxtaposition of primary colours with explosions of dots thrown in. “The transformative processes are energetic and powerful,” Wong explains. “It reminds people, no matter how small you are,  you can create unlimited possibilities.” Aware of the challenges in the fashion industry, Wong is keen to ‘resist the trends in order to build our own Hong Kong style’. You can buy her pieces soon as she is launching a collection with Joyce Boutique.

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