Thursday, April 26, 2012

[Un]Discovers: Kay Kwok

Kay Kwok, one of the menswear designers I have my eyes on ever since I visited the University of Arts London website. The amazing print that involves shade and light has really pushed the digital print envelope and I cannot stop thinking abut one of the suits. Today is a very lucky day for me as I have the opportunity to feature this amazing talent on this site. Now let's learn more about Kay and his brand!

Hi Kay, thanks for letting me to feature on [Un]Discovers this week. So to start off this interview, let me start with this question: I know you have studied in Hong Kong Polytechnic University before, what made you want to go to University of Arts London to continue your master degree?
It was a wield story, it was my dream to study abroad; however, I didn't think I would do it. One day, a friend of mine told me that the course director from London came to Hong Kong for to interview some Hong Kong fashion design students. At that time, my friend was accepted and she told me that the result would be announced right after the interview. How excited was that! For me to attend the interview was a way to examine my ability and see if I was qualified to be a MA Level fashion design student. Well, in the end, I got the offer and studied menswear design in LCF.

You MA final collection is simply brilliant and I am glad you have the chance to study aboard. So, what is the aesthetic of you brand? Is there a particular signature element in your brand that sets you apart from other designers? 
The aesthetic of my brand, Kay Kwok, combined Forward-thinking idea with great visual impact. I like to visualize ideas from my own viewpoint and the way to 'visualize'  is totally depending on the designer's experience in his life. The experience is like a library that drives your  'own perception' to an idea after gathering all things you have seen, felt, smelt in your own life. This 'element', I think, is what to set my brand apart from other designers.

I think it is very important to have you own perception on ideas or you will not be able to have the drive to work on amazing things. I am glad you have it! Let's talk about your recent F/W 2012 collection. Will you be able to briefly explain your inspiration? What was the most difficult part when creating this collection?
This collection is inspired by Ancient Egyptian Religious and Cosmology (the mysterious story behind Sphinx, the relation between the process of mummy erosion and the system of Ancient Egyptian’s constellation like Ancient culture of Solar, Lunar & Stellar story). I have combined the ideas to create prints by playing with shades, light and flame, aiming to push digital printing into a new area with the twist of classic menswear tailoring.
 Printed Neoprene fabric is widely used in the collection because of its fleshy hand-feel.

The most difficult part is to visualize new and fresh ideas from an 'old idea'. Not only is it difficult, it is also a challenge to interpret for me because many before me have already drawn inspiration from the past. I tried to do more research and avoid what people had applied before. It is true that the 'visual first impression' to most people on Egyptian culture is a mummy and a pyramid. Of course, I had to break this first impression so I chose to focus on Egyptian cosmology and religion and to figure out how to work on it through visual elements like color, print position, etc.

I like your interpretation on Egyptian culture as it is very abstract and different. Of course, the outcome of this collection is simply amazing!  Ever since I showed your collection to my friends, they have been asking me 2 questions: Where can they order the collection? Will you be planning to work on womenswear anytime soon?
I am so glad that your friends like it, and that is the main reason I love to design, and to share my joy with people who like it.

I definitely feel blessed that my collection is being picked up by stores after the Final year graduation show. However, it will only be selling in Paris and Tokyo for the coming F/W season. Individual customers can contact me if they are interested.

About womenswear, I am so looking forward to working on it after my menswear line is more established.  I think nowadays women are willing to buy clothes in menswear shape, so I plan to produce XS or even XXS size for some of my pieces.

I am going to spread this news to my friends and peers now and I am sure they will be thrilled to hear it! Now, let's move forward to the future, how would you see yourself in 5 years? What kind of achievements would you want to have by then?
In 5 years, Kay Kwok would develop more mature designs that reflect the ups and downs in his life. Of course, the designs would reach more people in the world.

I am pretty sure your designs would reach more people in 5 years, as your works will get better.  Last but not least, if you could have a celebrity to be the spokesperson of Kay Kwok, who would you choose? Why?
Hahaha, my intuition tells me that it wants Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), probably because he associates imaginative story with my brand.

It's time for him to answer my trivia questions!

London or Hong Kong ?
Fashion in London, Sense of belonging in Hong Kong

Purple or Orange?
No idea...

Snow or Rain?
i like snow in bang kok, rain in Sahara desert.

Pluto or Mars?
i like sense of secrecy: Pluto

Neoprene or Leather?
Neoprene (now)

Squares or Rectangles?
squares~~~ I can have lots of rectangles from diving them diagonally!! (greedy)

Easter or Christmas?
Easter. i want eternity:)

iPhone or Android ?
they are monsters!! i am amazed that everyone who got them on the street just look at/ play with the phone.

Techno or R&B?
R&B, for sure

Gareth Pugh or Paul Smith?
oh..i like both edgy and classy

Thank you so much to Kay for taking his time to answer my questions. I am looking forward to seeing more amazing pieces designed by him in the future. All images are courtesy of Kay Kwok and if you can visit his facebook fanpage for more information about the brand.

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