(Photo credit to Kurt Ho)
Unisex-wear is becoming a “new classic” in the global fashion scene. Hong Kong based designer Kurt Ho explored into the sector with a passion for traditional tailoring with a twist. He was listed as one of the finalists in Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers’ Contest (YDC) in 2014, and debuted his SS16 collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Tokyo the following year. He also showcased his collection at New York Fashion Week earlier in February.
We had a chance to chat with Kurt before the launch of his crossover collection with Hong Kong and Kowloon Textile Fabric Wholesaler Association (HKTFA) at this year’s YDC show, learning about his vision on design, the fashion industry, and creativity.
1. How did you discover your interest in fashion design?
I think I never do. From the very start I found my interest in dress making and I still do. I started taking pattern / garment making classes at the age of 16.
2. What are your design inspirations for your label? How did you apply them in your works?
No typical thing to be frank. I would say garment itself and it’s very nature serves as my major inspiration when I “design”. I feel like I’ve been working on the same theme for every collection yet from different perspectives as in a different interpretation and execution.
3. In terms of design focus, which area would you think is the most important? Functionality, quality, or aesthetics?
Aesthetics comes first, quality then functionality. Unfortunately I can’t explain. When I make garments I try to be as subjective and instinctive as I can. So nothing of that actually slip through my mind at all. Anyways all three are crucial at the end.
4. When you first started your label, what was the major obstacle in design and business development? How did you tackle it?
It’s always lacking money. I try to do other projects as well, like rebranding, uniform designs, styling and even designs for packaging. The hope is to save up more and then I could allocate more resources for brand development.
5. Did you seek any advice from anyone in the industry?
It could be anyone. In or out of the industry either one works. You can always learn from others. Whoever he or she is or whatever he or she does.
6. You have designed a capsule collection with sponsored fabrics from HKTFA. Please tell us more about this collaboration. Did you create before or after selecting the materials?
I draw a lot, making visual diaries, yet seldom do design sketches. I don’t want to make things too systematic and straight forward. The two things pretty much progress simultaneously.
7. What are your inspirations for this collection? From where did you start creating?
I try to capture time, probably a duration to be precise, with garments. It feels like taking a picture with slow shutter speed. But this time the medium is garments. When you look at such a picture you see context instead of merely an instant. I like that.
8. Where do you see your label in 5 years? What hopes do you have for the fashion industry in Hong Kong and Asia?
I don’t have agendas. But I’d love to see my label turning into a much bigger thing. I hope the whole industry can be more proactive on promoting what we have here. I think we have potential and we do have to voice that out. Or else we are going down for sure. In 10 years.
9. If you were to advise new design talents on starting their independent labels, what are the top 3 things you would recommend?
Get hands on. Stay humble. Have fun.
10. Describe yourself in 3 words.
Capricious, laid-back, nihilist.
Date: 10 September 2016
Venue: Grand Hall, HKCEC, HK
As a daughter of an entrepreneur and being one herself, Grace has lived and learned all sides of creating and growing businesses. She is excited to bring all that life experience as well as 7 years of crafting content to G Edition, her very own edition of experience sharing in work and travel. She is a full-time bag designer and manufacturer, part-time traveler, and a lover of creative crafts.