Hong Kong-Based Designer Yeung Chin On His Love Of Traditional Craftsmanship
For Hong Kong-based designer Yeung Chin, fashion should be a spectacle. Take a peek at his fall-winter 2020 collection and you’ll see how that ethos comes into play with avant-garde silhouettes, creative fabrics and unusual textures. Using asymmetrical lines and mixing eastern and western influences, Chin pushes the boundaries of Hong Kong’s typically conservative fashion scene to carve out his own style.
The 39-year-old made his mark with a string of international fashion week presentations, including in Tokyo, New York, Milan, Hong Kong and Paris. “I get my inspiration from art and society,” says the Guangdong-born designer, who is standing to represent the textile industry in Legco. “I can tell the world what’s happening in Hong Kong through my work. Fashion is art and it’s an expression of thoughts, stories and political views.”
In 1999, when he was 19, Chin thought he’d become a sports teacher. But his then-girlfriend’s love of fashion piqued his interest and that year, he enrolled at the Clothing Industry Training Authority in Hong Kong. He followed up with a night course in fashion design at the Hong Kong University Space, which fuelled his hunger to perfect his craft and make a name for himself.
“I met my instructor Chiu Kwong-chiu in college. He referred me to a fashion designer named Silvio Chan, who to this day is my mentor and now my muse. Though he isn’t a famous designer, his talent and capability are far beyond others. I’ve always admired his desire to keep learning,” says Chin.
After solidifying his nous with a masters degree in fashion design from the University of Westminster in London in 2009, Chin moved back to Hong Kong and by 2010 had already captured the attention of the retail giant G2000. He joined the brand as chief designer and learned more about the business side from founder Michael Tien. After four years, Chin left to start his eponymous label, which is now carried by retailers across North America, Europe and the Middle East.
Though his career highlights include designing costumes for the Asia Society Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, the City Contemporary Dance Company and the Cheers Exhibition in London, Chin’s true passion lies in mentoring young creative professionals. As a guest lecturer at the Hong Kong Design Institute, he helps foster the city’s next generation of fashion leaders and promotes traditional Chinese craftsmanship. He spent the last year learning techniques from the Miao, an ethnic minority group in southern China known for distinctive techniques, such as batik, embroidery and folding.
I get my inspiration from art and society. I can tell the world what’s happening in Hong Kong through my work— Yeung Chin
Closer to home, Chin is steaming forward with the production of his spring-summer 2021 collection that was presented at the Centrestage show at Hong Kong’s Trade Development Council last month, while flagship stores at PMQ and Novelty Lane are keeping him busy. His ambitious candidacy in next year’s elections for the textile and garment functional constituency of Legco is driven by his desire to bring textile makers, factories, designers and buyers closer together.
“I want my work to improve the industry and the way people think,” he says. “Using fashion shows to promote the industry is an obsolete idea, as short-term as a firework display. I want to adopt new promotional models, new sales models and really maximise the digital age—our industry shall no longer live in an ivory tower.”
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