Runway collective Fashion Guerilla held its first New York Fashion Week show on Sept. 16 for the spring 2016 collections.
The show featured four of Hong Kong’s emerging designers, although a presentation a day later included looks from a total of 10 designers. While in New York, the Fashion Guerilla program also will have showroom space available so the participants can meet with buyers. All of the participants, while based in Hong Kong, were trained in the West.
Funded by the Fashion Farm Foundation via the Hong Kong government, the collective has participated previously in fashion week shows in Paris, Tokyo and Singapore, as well as at the Beijing and Shanghai fashion week shows. The program was created by the government to aid in the nurturing, development and promotion of Hong Kong-based fashion designers through global exposure, funding and workspace. Participation at the different shows is by application.
For NYFW, the four chosen for the runway show were Methodology, Daydream Nation, Injury and Placed by Gideon.
Glori Tsui of Methodology studied in Los Angeles and in the U.K, but headed back to Hong Kong for her base of operations, since her family is still there. She created 30 looks for her apparel and accessories line, and showed 14 for the runway show. The collection first showed at Lane Crawford Hong Kong for fall 2012.
“My inspiration for this season is the mountains. I am designing for the Method girl. She is independent, strong, tough, yet feminine,” Tsui said.
The toughness juxtaposed with the feminine is shown through Tsui’s use of contrasting material and through different shapes and forms. “The leather lambskin used in the accessories are 90 percent upcycled,” the designer said.
Another recurring look in her designs is the layering of pieces, such as the use of a sheer overcoat on top of a dress, or the same overcoat on top of a shirt and skirt combination. Tsui tends to use a longer length for her tops to give it a “boyish look, so they’re not too girly,” although she said a bit of frill or cascading layers as a detail will give it a feminine look for contrast.
Currently Methodology is made and sold in Hong Kong, although Tsui is eyeing expansion options overseas.
Kay Wong and three friends founded Daydream Nation in 2006. Since inspiration could be from anything that is a part of their daydreams, the line incorporates a touch of whimsy and the surreal in its themes. The line, which has been seen on actress Juliette Binoche and singer Ke$ha, is sold in over 10 countries and in over 80 shops worldwide. Daydream Nation was the winner of Hong Kong’s Ten Outstanding Designers Award in 2009 and 2011, as well as the White Milano’s Womenswear Inside White Award in 2008.
Wong trained in London, specializing in knitted textiles. According to Wong, the brand’s base of operations was moved to “Hong Kong because production in 2006 was at that time much cheaper than in London.”
For the runway looks, Wong featured headpieces in cardboard with pins sticking out to represent succulent plants, an idea that came from a cactus imagery in a daydream. A few of the tops featured smocking techniques using two fabrics, as well as a stitched-down double weave on some of the lighter-weight fabrications.
Eugene Leung, who began Injury in 2004, was born in Hong Kong and migrated to Sydney, Australia. He spends half of his time in Australia and the other half in Hong Kong. Injury, which includes both men’s and women’s wear lines, is sold in high-end retailers in Australia, the U.S. and Asia.
Leung said the inspiration for the line at NYFW was “futuristic, with a touch of analog in sci-fi.”
Many of the looks were long and lean, a nod to architectural elements of tall skyscrapers, while the colors on the graphics were saturated, representing the amplification of signal strength in early sci-fi broadcast transmissions using analog technology.
Gideon Tam founded men’s wear brand Placed by Gideon in 2006. Originally from Macau, Tam was educated in England, worked in France and headed to Hong Kong for his base of operations. “It’s hard to own your own line. I moved to Hong Kong because I was spending a lot of time communicating overseas. I spend so much time on development that I thought it would be easier for production to be in Hong Kong.”
Tam said the brand’s philosophy is about using pure, natural fibers. “Back to nature was my inspiration for this season, and I looked into farmers’ clothing details, mixing it with the idea of utility.” Most of the looks on the runway were layered, for easy taking off and putting on as needed during the workday, complete with bags to hold tools or lunch while out on the field.
Tam said his line is sold in England, Italy, Japan and Kuwait. He’s trying to get into the Chinese market, as well as hoping to garner some interest Stateside while he’s in town.
Other brands at the presentation include: women’s contemporary fashion brand Berayah, founded by Enoch Ho in 2013; accessories brand Matter Matters featuring post-modernist aesthetics that was founded by Flora Leung, a graphic designer; jewelry firm Playback Concept, founded by artist Chan Po Fung; men’s wear brand The World is Your Oyster, founded in 2014 by Calvin Chan and Joyce Kun, which blends formal tailoring with the influence of streetwear; TwS (Show the World From Inside Out), a women’s ready-to-wear line featuring graphic silhouettes using wools and silks founded by Maria Mak, and Yeung Chin, the brand by Yeung Chin. Chin is known for his avant-garde looks — think tin-foil jacket or inflatable apparel — and deconstructive themes.