Cover Sandy Ip, founder of The Beach Project and the Ski Project (Photo: Jocelyn Tam for Tatler Hong Kong

On a mission to refine summer wardrobes, Sandy Ip sources the chicest resort, swim and tennis brands for her new platform, The Beach Project

Summer is here and boat parties, backyard barbecues and swimming under the sun are some of the best ways to conjure that holiday feeling. Sandy Ip knows there’s nothing like a new outfit or swimsuit to really set the season swinging, which is why last year she launched The Beach Project, a new shop for luxurious, high-quality resort wear. As well as the entire range being available online, The Beach Project is set to return as a permanent location next month at Pacific Place.

Rather than carry a vast number of pieces from as many designers as possible, Ip has carefully assembled a select line of garments and accessories that
meet the needs of her customers without overwhelming them with choice. The items she sells range from asymmetrical, colour-blocked bikinis and one-pieces from sustainable New York City brand Jade Swim, to minimalist tennis outfits from Seventies-inspired London label Jupp Sport, to every style of sunglasses under the sun from Revé by René by Hong Kong designer René Chu, one of Ip’s closest friends and business supporters.

With her latest idea, Ip hopes to follow the success of The Ski Project, her first online store, founded in 2016. Ip’s solo ventures follow years working in the luxury fashion business for brands including 3.1 Phillip Lim, Chloé and Christian Louboutin. She was inspired to begin selling snow gear by frequent business trips to Europe, where, she says, “skiing is not only a sport but a lifestyle”.

An avid skier herself, Ip took frequent holidays to the mountains of Niseko, Japan which left her longing for fashionable winter clothes and accessories. “There were many well-designed hotels and world-class dining establishments, but I was not able to find stylish yet functional winter wear that could transition from ski to city,” she says.

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Determined to create a one-stop destination for winter wardrobe essentials—from helmets, goggles and skis to après-ski wear—she created The Ski Project, which last year opened its first pop-up shop in Japan’s luxurious Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono.

Ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, Ip is now increasing her brand’s focus on mainland China, where interest for winter sports and trendy ski apparel has grown since the host city was announced in 2015. China’s heavy investment in ski resorts, indoor ski slopes and winter sports academies, and changes
to the national school curriculums to encourage skiing and skating have allowed companies like The Ski Project to thrive. Today Ip has a growing team of 20 and last winter, The Ski Project launched in mainland China with a 3,000 sq ft pop-up in Shanghai’s Plaza 66 mall. It also became the first luxury brand to be available to buy at the Genting Secret Garden in Chongli, a snowsports-focused hotel and resort that will host the winter Olympics.

Meanwhile, Ip has diversified her winning formula to beachwear. “I realised that The Ski Project and The Beach Project customers shared the same identities: they are modern city-dwellers who like to escape and enjoy the outdoors. They ski or snowboard in the winter and surf, swim and play golf and tennis in the summer. All our pieces are curated and styled for our customers, so when they enter our store, they immediately have an idea of how they will look on the slope or at the beach,” she says.

Now that she has skiing and watersports covered, Ip is looking for inspiration from her own lifestyle once again, having recently discovered horse riding. “Maybe we’ll start curating equestrian wear with The Riding Project in 2022,” she says with a laugh. Jokes aside, it’s an indicator of her sharp instincts and ambition for the future. “This is going to be one of the biggest years ever for our company in terms of expansion. There are discussions of seasonal locations on the horizon,” she says. Something tells us our wardrobes will be sorted for the long run.

See also: Peter Cheung On His Favourite Summer Memories And Holiday Plans

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