Knitwear designer Arto Wong on Hong Kong style - Hashtag Legend

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Knitwear designer Arto Wong on Hong Kong style

Nov 01, 2017

Designer Arto Wong, winner of this year’s Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers’ Contest

Part of the annual Centrestage platform, this year’s Young Fashion Designers’ Contest 2017 (YDC) saw Hong Kong’s Arto Wong of Vista Apparels crowned our city’s one to watch. We enlisted three fashion design students from Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s Design School – Winsome Yeung, Isaac Wai and Cindy Yu – to interview Wong about her big win, her inspirations and her plans for the future.

At what point did you get interested in fashion?

The first time that I felt “Woooo! I look cool!” after wearing an outfit I picked myself. Yup, that was fashion magic!

What’s the biggest benefit in joining the YDC?

YDC provides a rare opportunity for young designers to show their designs to the real fashion industry. No matter if you become the champion or not, you can still learn and improve a lot during the preparation time. And it’s always a touching moment when you witness your collection shining on the runway!

To what extent does the Hong Kong lifestyle affect your design style?

The Hong Kong lifestyle is a search for innovative “wow” products. That’s why I concentrate on exploring new knitting possibilities – like in my YDC collection, which is knitwear with volume, but that retains a lightweight touch.

Will a Hong Kong fashion brand emerge on the global stage?

We have many talented designers in Hong Kong and their designs can reach the international level. However, they face a tough business environment – especially a lack of financial and production support. These problems are a barrier on the road to the international scene.

How would you encourage Hongkongers to consume more local fashion?

Designers should take this responsibility. We need to create unique designs that consumers cannot find from foreign brands.

Use an adjective to describe your “Hong Kong style”.


What’s more important to you – the concept or the look?

As far as the consumer aspect, the look has a higher priority; it’s the first impression when we touch the clothes. If the look isn’t attractive, they won’t have any interest to make a deeper connection with the design. For the designer aspect, the concept is important, as it is the foundation of a collection. It helps us develop consistent and harmonious pieces. And what makes the concept even more important is that it adds the value and meaning into the fashion pieces. It’s not only an outfit that covers your body, but also a communication tool for designers to transmit their messages.

One of Wong's designs that caught the judges’ attention

Do you care whether the concepts behind your designs are intelligible to the public?

Yes – fashion design is a fascinating way to express my thoughts and beliefs. I want my designs to not only be an outfit to cover your body, but also a platform for me to say something. I’m satisfied if my designs can inspire someone.

What’s the craziest thing you have done for fashion?

Spending all my leisure time for four months just preparing my show pieces. During this period, I just locked myself in a room, where my collection and I were the only things that existed.

What predictions do you forecast in terms of future trends?

Eco-awareness is a trend for the future. The fashion industry has been named one of the most polluting industries in the world – it’s sad, but true indeed. Luckily, more designers and brands tend to use environmentally friendly materials in their products to respond to pollution issues. More of that is coming.

If you could change something in the fashion industry, what would it be?

I want the fashion market to become more design-oriented rather than price-oriented. This change can help solve those problems caused by cost reduction, such as child workers, pollution, wastage and so on.

Who is your design legend?

Rei Kawakubo [of Comme des Garçons]. She redefines “beauty” to the public and breaks the “rules” of clothing. Another respectable point is that she loves to support young designers. She aims to develop a better fashion environment, rather than only focusing on the development of her own brands.

Instagram: do you love or hate it?

Instagram is a helper to capture and record the moods or ideas I get. And it’s good for seeking inspiration by looking at posts from other interesting people around the world. But we need to pay attention in remaining true to our own style and not being easily affected by “IG trends”.

What are your plans for the future?

Being a knitwear designer, I will keep learning and exploring new knitting techniques. It’s a critical process for me to prepare my own knitwear brand.

Wong on at the Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers’ Contest's 2017 ceremony

This feature originally appeared in the November 2017 print issue of #legend

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