Hong Kong-based designer Patrick Lam is officially a Redress Design Award finalist.
Sustainability is a popular word.
But more than that, sustainability is a dangerous word, a controversial word. A word rife with meaning and legalities and intentional, sinister deception — especially in industries that have so much to gain from it. Fashion is repeatedly cited as the second most-polluting industry; a grim, unfortunate statistic that sinks into the very heart of so many ills of the world today, like the disposability of clothing and fashion in light of “content” on social media. The enduring proliferation of SHEIN and comparable fast-fashion retailers. The constant need for more, more and, still, more.
This is where institutions like the Redress Design Award come in. Because the slow march towards sustainability should not lie heavy on the crown of the consumers; designers and retailers have just as much, if not more, to do with changing the status quo. The Redress Design Award is a fashion competition but it’s also an incubator-of-sorts that educates their entire cohort of designers — who will then, hopefully, bring this knowledge with them — on how, exactly, does it mean to design in ways that are sustainable, scalable and commercially viable.
Hong Kong’s own Patrick Lam — with a High Diploma of Fashion Design from Hong Kong Design Institute and a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design from Nottingham Trent University in tow — is a finalist for 2022’s edition of the Redress Design Award and, like so many young, up-and-coming designers, he’s already thinking about the future. But he’s also thinking about the past — especially for his final presentation collection for the competition come mid-September.
The past, here, means 1960’s Britain, where the mod — short for Modernists — subculture was born, then proliferated.
“Basically it’s about a bunch of young people who were not willing to follow traditional mindsets, and their lifestyles after WWII,” says Lam about the inspiration behind his Redress Design Award 2022 collection.
Spiced, diced and layered designs with reversible components on traditional silhouettes — the trench coat is a big one — make up Lam’s competition collection. Prior to the final Redress Design Award presentation this September, we caught up with Lam to learn a little more about his aesthetic, his design philosophy and why sustainability is so very important to him.
Meet Patrick Lam, Redress Design Award 2022 Finalist:
Were you always interested in fashion? Can you pinpoint a moment in your life when you realised this is what you want to do?
The first time I was introduced to fashion was in secondary school, in housekeeping class. I had a chance to design and make a shirt by myself and I found myself enjoying the process a lot. In that moment, I decided to be a fashion designer.
What’s your designer manifesto?
Don’t follow trends blindly. Just do what you’re doing and believe in it.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I would say my style is timeless. Fashion has a cycling pattern, but I believe that my design can overcome that.
Where do you go for inspiration?
I believe that everything has a story. When I work on my research, I study the story behind it and take the inspiration from the history, from culture, from style — and from everything else relevant to the story.
Who do you design for?
I would like to say my designs are focused on people who pursue high quality, oversized fashion rather then chasing fast fashion.
If you could dress anyone in the world, who would it be?
I would love to dress Keanu Reeves, because he is my favourite actor in the world and I appreciate his obsession with film. His generosity is a well-known trait and that spirit has my respect.
Can you walk us through your inspiration for the Redress collection?
In some ways, I could see the mods as a group that was always trying to show their determination; to break the rules in the realms of existing standards in fashion, trends, or even lifestyle. I was inspired and I believe that sustainable developmental design could lead people to think about the issue of fashion waste. Furthermore, I was also inspired by music by bands like The Who.
I used the colours of their signature archery target graphic as the base, as well as military colours with earth tones as the main component, with denim blue as an accent. And my design concept for the items tended towards the timeless, for example: trench coats, blazers and parkas.
The culture of refitting motorcycles added to my moodboard as well. As I wanted to express my point of view from the mod subculture, I used layering and reconstruction as a way to design, like my blazer inter-spliced with military elements.
Suit fabrics were also used as lining for the collection, with reversible bomber jackets as a base. This means wearers can adjust and wear the very same piece in different ways for different occasions, making it eco-friendly.
What’s your favourite part about producing the collection?
My favourite part is putting pieces of wasted samples to be brand new garments with a super oversized style.
What does it mean to you to be a finalist for the Redress Award?
This has been a great experience for me and it offers me certainty to my vision and what I am doing right now. Also, it is a huge motivation for me to continue with my future projects.
As a designer, why is sustainability important to you?
Nowadays, consumers tend to buy fast fashion and only focus on the variations of style in every season. I am really sad about the waste in the fashion industry. After working in fashion all these years, I’ve seen a lot of companies treating the garment samples like garbage; they’ll throw it away without thinking about the value of the piece. This has became the standard behaviour in the fashion industry. That’s why I want to do something to save these samples from an environmental perspective.
What’s next! What are you working on/towards at the moment?
After this competition, I would like to keep joining other competitions to share my point of view about sustainable design and try the best to do my part for the environment.
Meet the rest of 2022’s cohort of Redress Design Award finalists here and stay tuned for the Grand Final Fashion Presentation this coming September.