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Designer Interview: Ka Wa Key Chow
Having recently graduated from the Royal College of Art, menswear designer Ka Wa Key Chow has been frequently recognised as a new design talent. As well as winning first place in the Hong Kong Fashion Designers’ Association Talent Award he was chosen as a ‘Vogue talent’ by Vogue Italia, not a bad start considering he’s only released one collection so far.
What materials did you use for your garments?
So they’re like the cotton fancy yarns, it’s cotton yarn with fancy surfaces. I used the latest technology like bonding so it bonds two fabrics together.
Are all the piece’s hand-made by yourself?
It’s not hand-made, it’s machine-made but I’m controlling the machine.
So how long have you been designing and making your own collection?
I would say the last two months really. [Before January 2016]
How did you teach yourself to use all the equipment?
I studied at the Royal College of Art, after I graduated I worked at J.W. Anderson.
How was it like working at J.W. Anderson and how long were you there for?
It was good work experience and I was designing there for four months.
So this is your first collection then?
Yeah first collection but it’s kind of a continuation of my graduate collection.
What’s the inspiration behind this collection?
The inspiration is a mix of things including Monet because it’s like impressionism work and all Asian garments especially the Chinese oversized styles.
So it’s all influenced by your culture?
Yeah it’s my culture and a mix of western aesthetics as well.
Why do you think oversized styles are so popular right now?
I think it’s an eastern aesthetic from China or Japan, they like the kimono and it creates a unique drape on each body shape. I think now you can’t be too uptight and oversized styles are more relaxed, urban styles are becoming more relaxed. You don’t want clothes that make you suffocate.
It took you two months to complete this collection, how was that process?
It was tough, like I didn’t have a celebration for Christmas at all. Since November, I flew back to Hong Kong for 10 days to some sourcing.
Did you learn new things during that process?
Yes I think I keep learning new things all the time and I keep needing to ask people for opinions, when I get stuck I always ask our network of alumni for help as well because once you get one problem sorted there’s another that needs sorting. A lot of problems occur even small things like a certain fabric isn’t going well with the garment.
You’ve done a really good job in finding your niche.
I always say our target is a really niche market which is more artistic.
Where do you see this going in the future?
Actually my main target, I don’t know if I’m being too aggressive, would be the NEWGEN show in London.
Interviewed by Johnson Gold
Transcribed by Selina Islam