Written by Lio Yeung
Translated by Joel Wong
"Do you still love what you do for a living?" I keep asking myself these days. Sometimes I wonder, if someday I feel I can no longer convince others nor accept everything from this industry, then it's time for me to make a change.
Afa Lee, Singchin Lo, Vann Kwok and I were the alumni of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design (the last year Fashion Design was combined). Afa is an artist, model, art director, and fashion influencer. Vann is an accessory designer and Singchin is a fashion designer. They are the schoolmates which I admired the most even back in the day.
I graduated more than a decade ago, but not many of our classmates can still be true to themselves, stand for their values, and follow their dreams. Most of them compromised to the hardship of reality. So, I invited three good classmates to talk about fashion design in Hong Kong with their own experience and how they pursue their careers upon graduation. But most importantly, to catch up some old times with them.
From left to right: Singchin Lo, Vann Kwok, Lio Yeung, Afa Lee.
Perseverance and Experiment
Sing has been running his brand plotz for almost a decade. Sing is the one who changed the least among our classmates but came across significant changes. "I never thought about running my brand right off the start because I just enjoyed tailoring and wanted to be a tailor." Sing worked in a reasonably large fashion company -However, its work nature had nothing to do with the design. Later, Sing got a job at Sin Sin Man's studio. "That was the first time someone needed me. I remembered she told me: the black is not black enough. "During his tenure, Sin Sin gave Sing a lot of creative freedom and a clearer vision of his future direction.
Singchin Lo’s brand plotz
Sing has his way in tailoring and design, but there were times which he felt lost in a vortex of confusion after establishing his brand. For each season, after completing around forty new designs for his latest collection, Sing usually fell into a state of self-doubting while waiting for orders. Then upon completion of all orders, the same cycle repeats itself. "I find myself good at tailoring instead of running a brand. It's like when minimalistic is the thing, but I only know how to do complex tailoring. That means no matter how hard you adjust still rather difficult to keep up with the trend." But for those foreign brands out there that can retain a certain degree of creative freedom are all backed by strong financial support. That is the cruel reality.
Sing began to design team uniforms in recent years, which provided him with a whole new experience. When designing school uniforms for kids, he needs to choose smooth fabrics and tailor the cuffs and folds in a unique way that caters to the activity's needs. This problem-solving-oriented process has reignited his creativity, also led him to design more functional items. Many art galleries fancied Sing's complex tailoring technique and invited him to showcase his works multiple times. Sing has taken a different path in fashion by coincidence.
It isn't easy to spare a minute for self-evaluation, especially during such busy life in Hong Kong. Reality bites and makes people compromise, dreams become extravagant, and eventually, you become that kind of adult you always hated to be. This interview allowed me to meet my classmates that I admired again, and I am glad to see them sticking to their dreams and standing tall for what they believe. The world is ever-changing, stay grounded, take another step further, try harder and get to know your shortcomings. That's how to find the strength and keep pushing yourself to improve.