Cover Ollie Rodgers & Gemma Harrad (Photo: Aisha Causing/Tatler Hong Kong)

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Tatler turned to creative couples in Hong Kong to talk about their relationships, jobs and how those aspects interplay with their style. This second instalment looks at Ollie Rodgers and Gemma Harrad, co-founders of multi-media platform Likewise, and their love of local brands and comfortable dressing

By day, Ollie Rodgers manages social media for Vans and Gemma Harrad is a videographer at The Floristry, but by night, they’re at the forefront of documenting what’s cool in Hong Kong. That includes capturing skate culture in Asia, boat noodles in Aberdeen or the last calligrapher in North Point.

Their multi-media platform, Likewise, is dedicated to exploring the nooks and crannies of this city, and we spoke to them about how they express their creativity as a couple, and how the perspectives they’ve been exposed to have influenced their fashion choices.

How long have you been together?

Ollie Rodgers (OR): Three years.

What were your first impressions of each other?

Gemma Harrad (GH): You had long hair, tied back, and you were wearing a relaxed jacket and you had your point and shoot camera. You seemed approachable and outgoing—a quiet creative.

OR: We first met on a rooftop. Gemma was wearing these blue hi-top Converse, and the laces were too long so she tied them around her ankles. I remember thinking that was pretty cool, and she also had her point and shoot. Early on in our relationship, we bonded over those funny slogan T-shirts that a lot of local people wear that say random things. Our sense of humour connects us. That also made us look at certain words in a new way, and that’s how we came up with the name Likewise. It’s an enjoyable word to look at. 

Tell us about Likewise.

OR: It began as an outlet for ideas and projects that we wanted to do—an online platform showcasing stories that we think are cool.  Now Likewise is a voice for us to showcase our friends and their work. We mostly do videos, and it works so much better as a team, as we chime in with different skills.

GH: This platform is a framework to try different ideas out. That could be in the form of a documentary, our first being a video on the clothing brand Victoria and capturing skate culture in Asia, or maybe a skate event. We’ve worked with different people on these projects, and it’s always been very collaborative.

OR: This all stemmed from wanting to start a collective movement. In the beginning we were hosting clothing markets and gigs, and we were seeing regular faces and wanted to keep up with them. We support the music scene, skate scene, our friends making clothes, art and so on—there are no boundaries with Likewise.

See more: Couple Style Files: Fu & Mengzy

Do you feel influenced by the people you’ve showcased?

GH: Yeah, it’s helped shape our vision of Hong Kong, and our respective styles.

OR: We wear a lot of our friend’s clothes.

GH: Because Ollie is a skater, I wear more skate brands now. We know the guys at Victoria, so it feels nice to wear their pieces.

OR: They make amazing clothes too—I recently got these green corduroy shorts with a cool button. And I got Gemma a Yat Pit shirt for Christmas.

GH: Our friend Heidi has a jewellery brand, Re-attach, and she makes silver pieces that I love.

OR: And now we have our own merch! Another friend, street artist Lousy, helped make this dragon graphic for us to put on a T-shirt for the Canto Pop film screening at Soho House, and we screen printed them ourselves.

How has your style changed since you first met?

OR: My style has changed a lot. I used to wear pinky rings and tight trousers, but not anymore. Gemma hoped I’d wear baggier trousers, but that change came naturally from hanging out with my skater friends. I also wear more graphic T-shirts.

GH: I used to wear more vintage clothing and would experiment with bolder looks in London. Although I’m still into thrifted pieces, I’ve found that since moving back to Hong Kong I’ve lost my taste for dressing up. Being in London, I was inspired and motivated because it’s part of that culture. Now I wear more casual clothes like T-shirts, jeans and trainers—it's more boyish. However, I’m happy about this style shift because I’m more comfortable. Working in video production, most of the time you want to be comfortable, and you have to be discreet. You’ll usually wear black, practical clothes, and we both have a lot of those pieces in our closet.

See more: 4 Hong Kong Street Artists Share What Inspires Their Work

What’s your favourite look on each other?

OR: Gemma has these awesome orange shorts that I think really represent her. She wears a lot of greens and browns too, and this black leather skirt that’s cute.

GH: Ollie wears a lot of caps, which is cool. He had this black Palace cap with a little duck but he lost it. I often think of his shelf in his family home which is covered with caps. He also has this white Supreme hoodie with a Ralph Lauren-esque teddy bear on it. 

OR: Gemma is really good at buying me gifts because she knows what I like. She found me this 8Five2 T-shirt which parodies the 7-11 logo from a few years ago on Carousell (second-hand shopping app), and she also got me an amazing cardigan from this slept-on London brand called Yardsale.

And your least favourite?

OR: We both own a similar navy jacket, and I don’t like it when Gemma wears that, because it means I can’t wear it.

GH: A lot of Hong Kong couples tend to wear matching outfits, and so we check each other’s outfits to avoid that. Also, I’m not really into Ollie’s tank tops.

OR: I don’t wear those anymore. [laughs]

Do you ever “dress up” to skate?

OR: For sure. You want to wear a nice ’fit, and it also depends on if you’re filming clips for a video. Skating has that fashion aspect to it. You want to feel light, not weighed down by heavy or restricting clothing—although super baggy trousers are trendy right now. It’s normal to wear a hoodie when skating, so you’re more protected, but it’s too hot in Hong Kong so in five minutes you’re sweating like crazy. I keep up with skate trends, mostly because I’m in the industry, but I’m not a hypebeast and wouldn’t line up for a launch. I try to support up and coming brands. I would also never wear Nike skate shoes, but that’s a whole other thing.

See more: 11 Local Streetwear Brands to Keep on Your Radar This 2022

Let’s get into it.

OR: The top dogs of the skate shoe industry are Nike, Adidas, Converse and New Balance, but they got into the game much later than Vans, which are a core shoe—that’s what skaters in Venice Beach were wearing in the ’70s. I prefer to rock Vans at the moment because they support core street skaters. 

What are the nuances of skater fashion?

OR: It depends on what type of skating you’re into. Street skateboarding is pretty raw, and although my friends and I dress comfy, we still respect nice clothing. 

GH: Everyone is pretty chill. I won't put that much thought into an outfit, but I also wouldn't feel comfortable wearing a short skirt in that context.

OR: I have other friends who are into “Instagram skating”, which is taking off right now, and they’ll wear things like track pants and Dunks. Lucien Clarke, a London skater, collaborated with Louis Vuitton and Virgil Abloh on a shoe and one of my friends got a pair. They're like, HK$9000. He’s skated them maybe four times, and it’s quite the deal. It’s cool that skateboarding can be introduced to a whole new crowd via luxury brands, and that marriage with fashion is going to keep going to new places. 


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