Made in HK: 5 Hong Kong designers to watch out for

Hong Kong may primarily be known as a finance city, but it’s emerging as a designer hub, dotted with locally created products. Events like Flash Map HK’s recent fashion pop-up shop in Sheung Wan showcase new talents making their start in the city.

We highlight some of Hong Kong’s top designers crafting some unique products, everything from silky sports garb courtesy of SilkAthlete to arty clutches from House of Secrets. Click through to see inspiration from these local talents.

More: 3 bespoke jewellery designers in Hong Kong 

 

1/5

Athletic wear: SilkAthlete 

Founded by longtime Hong Kong resident and native Australian Mike Rivalland, the brand creates athletic wear all composed of — you guessed it — silk.

Backstory

After hearing close friends complain about skin irritants due to intensive training, Rivalland investigated materials used to make athletic wear. Since silk used to be synonymous with sport due to its high performance properties (the material is comfortable, keeps muscles at body temperature and dries quickly), he wondered why silk wasn’t incorporated in all athletic wear. SilkAthlete thus took off in 2013.

Inspiration

We’re inspired by quality — organic bombyx mori silk, the highest quality silk in the market — is used to create our clothing, without any added chemicals. We also draw our inspiration from the colorful city and people of Hong Kong.”

Signature style

All things athletic and silk.

HK’s design scene

It seems to be alive and well. We do wish there was more of a formed community or creative space. In cities like New York, a lot of designers congregate in public spaces. It would be cool to have more areas that brimmed with creative energy and people.”

 

Prices start at HK$440. Gear is available online at www.silkathlete.me.

 

2/5

Bespoke for men: Milk Shirts 

Bespoke is a Hong Kong based online shirt company started by Sheetal Pritmani that sells only one thing: mens’ white shirts.

Backstory 

Hong Kong born, Pritmani graduated from London College of Fashion and interned with the likes of Markus Lupfer and Stella McCartney in London before designing for men. She pays fastidious attention to the fit, quality of the fabric and getting those basic but crucial elements right as “men are generally more brand loyal.”

Inspiration 

“I love simple objects that are well made, that ooze luxury. This is all in the finer details – many of which most people would disregard — that is what inspired me to start a business of only white shirts. I wanted to focus on one product alone and pay attention to the details.”

Signature style

Clean crisp white shirts with a hint of detail in the inner collar trim and possibly the cuffs. And a styling tip for men? “One can never go wrong with a beautiful oxford or poplin cloth crisp white shirt with a spread collar and French cuffs.”

HK’s design scene

“I think it’s great to see the talent in Hong Kong finally getting a platform to showcase themselves and their work. It has taken a while, because we were competing on a greater stage (with the rest of the world). Finally, places exist now to make us more accessible to the general public.”

 

Prices start at HK$1,200. Shirts are available at www.milkshirts.com.

3/5

Off the runway: Blind by JW

Blind by JW, featuring flirty and fun couture, was founded and established in 2012 by local fashion designers Jessica Lau and Walter Kong.

Backstory

Both Lau and Kong worked in luxury fashion houses in China and Europe before re-planting their feet on home soil.  The duo is now supported by Hong Kong Design Innocentre, and was part of FlashMap HK’s recent pop-up shop initiative. Their main womenswear clothing line is complemented  with accessories like clutches, jewellery and homewards.

Inspiration 

“We draw and create original print with the use of different medias, often using hand drawn digitalised prints.”

Signature style

The look is feminine, elegant, with mixed prints and colour blocking.

HK’s design scene

Passion is what this duo believes fuels Hong Kong’s fashion industry.

 

Prices start from HK$600. Merchandise available at www.facebook.com/blindbyjw

4/5

All things accessories: Mase

Architect turned freelancer turned designer, Mae Kwan launched her first fashion and home accessories collection this month, with the help of her fashionista mother.

Backstory

Kwan was practicing in London as an architect before moving back to her hometown Hong Kong in 2010. She began freelancing as an interior architect for various high-end residential projects.  In March 2013, inspired by a honeymoon to Bali, she decided to focus more on print design.

Inspiration

“A lot of my work features architectural and urban elements. I have a strong interest in Hindu philosophy, which started when I was learning from a spiritual teacher over three years ago.”

Signature style

Colourful! I love using colours in both architecture and print design.”

HK’s design scene 

“For fashion, I think there are noticeable talents in Hong Kong. But I feel in general, consumers prefer high end designers and well-established labels.  I hope with the start of PMQ and other pop-up events, local designers and smaller labels can reach a wider audience.”

 

Prices start at HK$200. Merchandise available at  www.maseartworld.com.

 

5/5

Wearable art: House of Secrets

Third Culture Kids, born and raised in Hong Kong, joining forces post graduation: this could be the introduction to a leading garage band. Instead, it’s the description of the founders of House of Secrets, started by twenty-somethings  Zach Stadlin-Robbie, Hashka and Brock Didenko. The brand produces mainly bags, clutches and unique totes.

Backstory

After spent time studying abroad overseas, the trio of childhood friends returned to their hometown of Hong Kong. Artistically inclined and business savvy, the three saw a potential to create their own line of locally designed accessories.

Inspiration

“We mostly draw influence from our backgrounds and travels, and we love collaborating with artists of different cultures and mediums.”

Signature style

“Wearable art — we like to incorporate unique artworks mixed with contrast colours. We’re huge fans of bold colours and motifs.”

HK’s design scene

“It’s a really exciting time in Hong Kong. Everything is creative and innovative. It is great to see the local support.”

 

Prices start at HKD $660. Merchandise available at www.house-of-secrets.com and retail partners, InStyle in Soho, The Peak, Stanley, Saikung and Discovery Bay.