MyFashionStage.com caught up with local Hong Kong fashion designer Harrison Wong. Famous for his contemporary men’s wear, which has been seen at fashion shows in Paris, Milan and Australia. I was lucky enough to have a tour of his shop at PMQ and ask him questions about his line. Trust me, there are some pieces I’d love to wear I don’t care if it’s made for men! I now need those shoes.
(Harrison Wong Fashion Shop in PMQ Hong Kong)
(Window Display of Harrison Wong Shop)
(image source: www.harrisonwong.com F/W 2014/15)
(Image source: Fashionising.com)
Harrison Wong brand tag on his shop's gateway
Portrait of fashion designer himself Harrison Wong
Hi Harrison, thanks for taking the time to chat with MyFashionStage.com. Tell us a bit about your fashion style:My style for men’s wear is understated, elegant, contemporary edgy design. Minimal looks in black, it’s quite important to have details with the textures. Mixing and matching different textures of black materials to make it more interesting.
What are the name of your brands?I have two lines, one line under my name Harrison Wong is a more unique, high quality men’s wear. I also have a second line “Son of a King”, which are the basics, t-shirts, hoody jackets, sweat pants that are easy to wear but at the same time still quite contemporary.
Who are your influences/inspirations in the fashion industry currently?My inspiration comes from day to day life. I like to visit galleries so art is one of the inspirations for my designs. I look at different artists, using their artwork or style of artwork. My latest winter collection uses an artist from Korea, his name is Lee Ufan. His artwork is quite minimal so I think it’s a good fit for my designs. I used his artwork for the print in this collection that is called ‘Point and Line’. I'd like to use a lot of different artworks in my collections. Inspiration can come from many different places. Two years ago I had a fashion show in Sydney’s Fashion Week (2012), the collection I showed was called “Red Guard”. The idea for these designs was from history, the revolution in China. On one trip to China, I visited some tourist places and I saw some tourists wearing the red star hat. I find people from the western side of the world may find the look interesting, it might not be just the culture behind it but also because of the look. I used the red star in a few of the designs because of the look.
How did you get started in the fashion industry?I studied fashion in Hong Kong for the first 2 years and then went to study in England at the London College of Fashion. I then worked as an assistant for 6 or 7 years for fashion designer Walter Ma. I then became a fashion designer. I think for most fashion designers, their dream is to have their own brands and to create their own styles. I used to have a women’s clothing collection which I sold to Japan and as well as Europe. I stopped my women’s collection a few years ago because I was quite busy with consultation and working for local (Hong Kong) and Chinese companies. I did women’s clothing for almost 10 years and thought it would be nice to have a change to concentrate on men’s wear. Women’s clothing has a huge market, you can do many different kinds of styles but at the same time, it’s very competitive. Fashion moves very fast, one day it’s on the runway and the next day it’s in stores like Zara or H&M. I’ve always had an interest in fashion. I used to like buying clothes for myself as a teenager. After I finished school I thought I should study design but I wasn’t sure what kind of design. Finally I chose to study fashion. I like design, I think I have a creative mind. I am also quite interested in interior design and product design. But I'd like to concentrate on fashion because it’s more daily.
Tell us a bit about yourself, your designs?My designs are for metropolitan guys, they need something that can work in the daytime but also can look cool at night. They want something a little different from the usual main stream fashion but may not be able to afford the super expensive international brands. I want to fill the market gap, the niche for them is to be able to buy something of high quality but not at extreme prices. The fabric I use is from Europe or Japan, so it’s better quality than the fast fashion brands.
What are your plans for the future?The plan is to start joining more tradeshows overseas, in Europe and worldwide to find more international buyers. In order to find international buyers you have to go to them, not many buyers come to Hong Kong looking for fashion brands. Buyers who come to Hong Kong fashion week are not looking for designer brands but rather mass production opportunities as Hong Kong is very close to China, and Hong Kong is used as a hub to export fashion to all around the world. We have joined Hong Kong Fashion week a few times, but found it difficult to find international buyers.
Are there any trends you like/dislike at the moment?The trends I like at the moment for men’s wear is mostly fabric, the fit is the most important thing. Material such as neoprene which is quite trendy, it’s easy to create the right shape and easy to wear. I dislike number prints, shirts with huge numbers for example. The trend is very out of fashion now.
Your favourite items of clothing at the moment?My personal favourite is leather jackets, when men wear leather jackets it looks expensive and cool. It’s smart casual but can also look elegant. From my line, I like the jacket made in neoprene and mixed with leather sleeves. I like to mix and match different textures.
It was great to chat with Harrison about his collection and learn more about the fashion industry in Hong Kong, as well as men’s clothing. His clothing is really inspired by minimalism but great attention to textures.
Natalie Burge is a freelance writer for MyFashionStage.com, freelance blogger/model currently residing in Hong Kong. She loves thrift shopping, local markets and high-street fashion. Spends way too much time in cyberspace, addicted to coffee, sushi and beauty products.