Fashion for All
In October, the Venetian Macao hosted two major fashion events simultaneously
Last month, the Venetian Macao hosted two major fashion events simultaneously: the Sands Macao Fashion Week featuring international designers and collections representing many of the stores located within its properties; and the Macau Fashion Festival, which took place as part of the Macau International Fair (MIF) focusing mostly on young local and regional fashion designers.
And while the two events may have featured very different ends of the spectrum within the industry, from relatively unknown beginners to hugely famous and sort-after brand names, the common theme was clearly boundless creativity and widely varying sources of inspiration.
Sands Fashion Week kicked off with a spectacular fashion show and VIP gala dinner, presenting the latest Spring/Summer 2018 range from the Italian fashion house and luxury brand La Perla. The week then continued with non-stop fashion shows over many days at The Parisian and The Venetian, the latter taking place over water inside the canals.
Meanwhile, the Macau Fashion Fair, jointly organised by the Macao Productivity and Technology Transfer Centre (CPTTM) and the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) presented an impressive variety of design talent, many of whom are based here in Macau and featured in these pages.
CPTTM was also invited to participate in two of the Sands Fashion Week events, including presenting the closing runway show at Shoppes at Parisian where eight local Macau designers and brands with over 50 new looks were showcased.
“The market in Macau is small but there is lots of government support,” notes Leo Wong Man Chon, founder of his brand Soul. “The market is globalized, so it is possible to develop your business in Macau. It all depends on how you make your clothes and develop your business in a competitive way.”
Another local designer, Gideon Tam of KC Gideon had some more sober advice for anyone considering starting in the industry.
“Think carefully because it’s not easy. Only do it if you really, really love fashion and design. It has to be your passion. Don’t do it just because you want to dress up and look good,” Gideon says.
Hong Kong designer Kev Yiu of Kevolie also notes that it is not an easy business be successful in, and new approaches are needed.
“The days of people supporting local designers have gone, because the Internet enables people to get things more easily. So I spend quite a lot of time managing different social media platforms. It’s very necessary in this age, and it’s given me a lot of clientele,” he comments.
Despite the challenges of being based in such a small market like Macau’s, there was certainly no shortage of innovation on display. CLOSER spoke with just a few of the local designers about their inspirations for their current collections.
GIDEON TAM CHI KIT
I mainly use organic silk cotton, jacard, linen and cotton. We did a lot of garment dye for this collection to give it more of a vintage look. I love to work on details, even my very simple pieces have some details. I play a lot with different layerings, different proportions, and fabric manipulation. We are not mass production, so I want to make something really special. The most important thing is the quality and the design. I lived in London for a long time so my style is more European, mixed with a bit of Japanese and vintage. They love graphics, and volume, busy and loud, something that makes a statement. I love being in nature, I use a lot of elements from nature, in terms of textile colours and details. For me growing up, Macau used to be a very natural place, just a small fishing village. Macau people are very down to earth, but at the same time there is a lot of cross cultural influences which I love to use. That has influenced this collection. I’m trying to create a brand which is a combination of art and fashion. I’m want to target people who don’t just follow fashion trends, but instead someone who has their own style and expectations in life, people who want something more.
LALA WAI CHIN SEONG
I think my style is very kawaii and girly, for young people. I use lots of ruffles, because I have liked the Lolita fashion style since I was a little girl. This has influenced all my styles. With this style, everything must be perfect and only then we can go out! My inspiration for every season depends on what I have seen and what touches me. But I will also follow the trends. This season is very colourful and playful. The past two seasons I used a lot of Chinese and Japanese styles to give a sense of elegance. I like to use different types of materials that contrast with each other, but I also consider the comfort level of the material is very important. Foreigners seem to be particularly interested in my designs. Currently my focus is on the mainland Chinese market. And a friend of mine has helped me establish my brand in Taiwan. Taiwanese girls also seem to love my designs, and more and more Taiwanese are getting to know my work. Macau is a very small market so it is not so difficult to become popular here, but it is difficult to retain customers in the long term.
The inspiration for this season comes from nature, things that are happening around me, because people who live in the city are very busy so they miss out on a lot of amazing things. As you can see, I use a lot of different colours to mix with the overprint pattern. I’ve used this inspiration to create eight different sets of designs. I have used cotton in this series because it was a collection for spring and summer. For this reason the cotton is relatively softer, more comfortable and absorbant. Also, the pattern on the material really stands out, so that’s why I put this pattern into this collection. Our brand has been in Macau for about three years. It’s hard to balance both the business and designing aspect, because when you put your own elements into the design to make it special, you need to consider the level of acceptance for the current market. So it is very important to find a balance in order to make others more interested in your product.
Yi Yi studio
My creations are all related to women. Women from different stages have different ways to connect with the world. I used black as the main element in this series; different kinds of black material to create conversations and contrast. My inspiration comes from nature. I want to represent the mature, confidence of women. It’s a conversation with the world. I don’t like normal average feelings, I like my designs to have a dramatic and theatrical impact, because I think in an artistic way with clothes. In this series, I have used material that is not often used to make clothes, and tried to produce exaggerated structures. I like silk and I like material that can easily create shapes. I use two opposite materials - one is very soft like women who are gentle. The other material used to create shapes is totally different. My clothes are suitable for every woman who is confident and ambitious, because any woman can walk on the red carpet or attend a banquet. That’s when every woman wants to be a shining star, so my clothes make them become the focus of the group. I haven’t defined myself as an artist or clothing designer. I just use the clothes to illustrate my point of view. This collection is highly related to me and the things and people that surround me. I want to use my designs to show what I have to say to the world.
LEO WONG MAN CHON
My design concept is to use very simple and clean lines. I wanted to design a collection with simple colours, but with a unique style and cut. I added some asymmetric designs and 3D cutting in the designs, to show that people can use simple colours to present themselves. The black and white colours can be easy to carry by people with an average figure, so when they wear it they can look smart. The brand focuses on using high quality fabric, like silk, with a soft and high quality feeling. Also a reasonable price so the brand can be commercialized and sold on the market easily. The brand started in 2016, and before that I worked in a uniform company, I was the founder and designer, so I have about ten year’s experience in this field. This is my first collection to show, and for now just focusing on women’s clothing.
From my point of view, embracing a woman’s figure is what I aim to do because I believe every woman has their own unique curvature and it’s something to be celebrated, not something to be hidden. Some women might have some confidence issues about their bodies, but I think if you have the right dress you can show off your figure. When I was in college, I mainly did corsetry, because my tutor was Cindy Lauper’s stylist. Making gowns gives me a lot of space for creativity. I like using classic materials because a gown is a timeless piece. I’d rather use traditional fabric like lace and sequins, but sometimes with a contemporary twist. Making gowns is about making someone feel beautiful about themselves. It’s not always about your designs, it’s about how to make her feel she is pretty. And everyone has different definitions of beauty, so I think this is my main mission.