Meet the Designers! Fashion Hong Kong’s Cynthia & Xiao, Harrison Wong, and Polly Ho
Fashion Hong Kong sent over a trio of brands to NYFW for the second year, and this season, designers Cynthia & Xiao, Harrison Wong, and Loom Loop were tapped to show off their Fall ’17 creations. They each showed in one big runway show at Skylight Clarkson Square today; pre-show, we caught up with the designers to get the scoop on the collections and their visit to the Big Apple.
CYNTHIA & XIAO
The show opened with a collection filled with tassels, tweed, and loom-woven knits, and pops of color, like orange, yellow, and blue. Rabbit and tiger motifs popped up throughout. The brand focuses heavily on handcrafted loom-weaving.
How did you two meet?
Xiao: We lived in the same corridor [at Central Saint Martins]. I opened [Cynthia’s] door and there was a bunch of canned food on the floor and an entire luggage of canned food—I was like, do you really eat all of that?
Cynthia: My mom thought I was going to starve!
What’s new about this collection?
Cynthia: There’s two motif that we did: a tiger and a rabbit. So it’s kind of like a tiger represents (other girls name) because that’s the year that she was born, and rabbits myself. There’s also a little story about it in Chinese history as well. So you see a lot of hand craft details. So, that’s something we’re quite good at doing in the winter season so you’ll see there’s a lot of loom weaving which takes a lot of time which is why you don’t usually see it on clothing. There are a lot of home decoration pieces that require that so we tried to incorporate it into clothing. So that’s something quite different, and also(other designers name) specialty is knit work.
Do you often reference Chinese heritage?
Cynthia: A little bit, but then we want it to be very subtle. We don’t want it to be all Chinese, so we try to make it very modern and very graphic.
How long did it take to weave all of the pieces?
Xiao: An intense two months!
What got you through it?
Xiao: We’re kind of used to this already—back in school time we were already dealing with the intense deadlines.
What’s on your bucket list for this New York City trip?
Cynthia: I did it already! To go to Brooklyn.
Xiao: I want to explore the city more, because this is my first time in New York. We were Europe for a long time and the cultures are really different. Unfortunately, we are here for work so there is not much time!
Menswear designer Harrison Wong, who presented last season, looked to his signature all-black palette and monastic references, including a medley of robe-like jackets, some with cutouts, hoods, and layers.
The collection is called Modern Monastic—what’s the story there?
It’s inspired by The Lone Wolf from Monk or priests. I use a lot of black—it’s my signature color—but a lot of texture as well. It’s a lot of long silhouettes and a lot of layering. I’m doing a lot of special silhouettes for the men’s jacket. You will see a new silhouette there.
What’s your favorite thing to do while you’re in New York?
A lot of galleries and museums which I would like to see—in New York, they’re huge. Yesterday we saw a lot.
What’s your goal? Where do you want to be sold? What reaction are you trying to get from the US market?
At the moment because I have a shop in Hong Kong, but I would like to expand my customers in Asia, America, and New York. It’s one of the best places.
POLLY HO/LOOM LOOP
Polly Ho of Loom Loop closed out the show with fashion that referenced a popular Chinese childhood legend by way of cow and bird motifs and chocolate milk carton purses.
What’s different this season, Polly?
We still use Chinese legend as our main inspiration. This time it’s about a cowboy and a weaver. They can only meet each other once a year. We design our own prints, like clouds, cows, and some birds. While we were brainstorming, we were reminiscing about childhood memories of chocolate milk! We found a bakery in Hong Kong and collaborated with them. They’ve been around for 70 years. So we made the chocolate milk pouch, and we used a cow as a logo. We also used some smartfabrics, and one is recycled. We have blue tones and some of purple, and a touch of romance.
Do you always use smart fabric?
No, but when we choose fabric, we are very careful. At the onset of our brand, we used a silk called Kenton silk—it’s a heritage fabric, and less and less people get it in the industry. If a fabric has a story behind it and it is meaningful, then we use it. Last season we painted pasta onto the fabric for a fun print.
Food is a big thing, huh?
I love to eat.
Who is are you designing for?
They are very educated, confident, they know what they want, they are brave if they are buying our prints, and they want to be stunning.