Popping up on the Other Side of the World

Popping up on the Other Side of the World

It’s a little bittersweet writing about stuff going on in Hong Kong but I couldn’t ignore Dysemevas, a major pop-up shop project that is now open to the public on Hollywood Road in Hong Kong, which seems to seek to remedy a lot of what I find annoying about shopping in Hong Kong; that there is little focus on local designers and local talent, that nurturing young designers isn’t a priority and that the preference will always be for goods coming in from abroad (the West, Japan Korea…).


From last Monday until the 21st December, Dysemevas will be showcasing twelve designers; from China and Hong Kong in a six week rotating schedule that revolves around themes.  Conceived by journalist/buyer and a well known fashion figure in Hong Kong; Dee Poon, she raised an interesting point about the Chinese design community benefiting from a consumer market that isn’t necessarily interested in buying local designers…

"While I think that Hong Kong and Chinese style is derivative ‚Äì people dress off the pages of Vogue, US Weekly, or as they believe or feel Japanese or Korean hipsters would ‚Äì the designers are clearly developing their own vocabulary.  Yet as the community is disparate and as there are many difference sources of inspiration, whether or not these designers are all speaking the same language is a question.  China is a really big place, with multiple centers of creativity and energy, and it is changing really quickly."


One of the designers involved Rock Candy who are a HK-based jewellery label gave me a pretty blinding interview that I couldn’t stop nodding and agreeing with…

Why is it that Hong Kong/Chinese design has not been showcased in this way before?

To me, one of the issues is that Hong Kong, and Asia in general is very much wound up in the world of luxury brands, rather than the design and items themselves. It makes it tough for new designers or non-established talent to grow in some ways. In other ways it gives greater freedom as there is not the pressure of eyeballs and critique allowing brands and designers the time to master their voice and identity at their own speed. This is one of the first projects that aims to embrace local designers and showcase them for what they are and as a combined group.

Do you think that Hong Kong/Chinese fashion design has its own aesthetic or does it rely too much on outside influences from the West or other Asian countries – Korea, Japan etc?

I believe that Hong Kong and China, and to that point many parts of Asia, have had what could be called a "Western Hangover" when it comes to design aesthetic and development. What I mean by that is that to often, design in whatever medium and means is embraced and heralded by the East when it hails from the West, especially from markets such as New York, London, Paris and other "fashion haunts". I believe for local designers in Hong Kong and China that there is a constant battle with the issue of local designers, retailers, media and investors still backing Western Design versus Local, Asian design – that is of course except Japan.

It does sadden me a little that I can’t experience this pop-up shop especially when so many names that I’m either intrigued by, familiar with or would like to discover are involved…many of whom are hard to even do a proper Google search on…

Daydream Nation are of course in the billing and are probably the brand that have had the most presence in London…


Qui Hao who won this year’s Woolmark prize and whose lack of web presence continues to frustrate me…


Zhang Da is someone that I believe Fashion is Spinach is a fan of after her time in Beijing…


Among Strangers is a Hong Kong brand that I think presents in Paris…


Bandi Panda is both artist and fashion label, and everything he does revolves around the panda…


Winnie Lui‘s jewellery is like a sweeter candy cane version of Judy Blame’s stuff…


I know nothing about Underoath and it seems their site hasn’t been updated in a while but I’m definitely curious..


Yang Du is someone I’m REALLY excited about and the peeps at Dazed have gone kerazy about her giant fluffy knits… these are Sesame Street costumes that I would like to wear…





Leave a comment
  1. tanya

    2008-11-15 at 1:28 PM

    pandas are my favourite animals 🙂

  2. Brigadeiro

    2008-11-15 at 1:48 PM

    I must admit I don’t know much about Asian fashion (except for the ‘famous’ Japanese designers), but I have seen some cool stuff by some Hong Kong & Thai designers…
    The accessories at Underoath look quite promising! 🙂

  3. carlotta et annie

    2008-11-15 at 2:33 PM

    i really like what little ive seen of Qui Hao here it really is frustrating that i cant find out more! also … i can just envision snuggling up in a gaint furry yang du animal coat on a really cold night… it would be kinda like wearing a plush rug i imagine…

  4. Make Do Style

    2008-11-15 at 3:43 PM

    I am very insterested in the Qui Hao garments and actually I have to say it is frustrating that our retailing is dominated by mainly western designers, understandable geo centric stuff to a point.

  5. theo

    2008-11-15 at 8:55 PM

    thanks a bunch for this wonderful post! I always like to see if I can find some nice Chinese designers for my wife to wear. Yang Du’s items look incredible, cute like Tsumori Chisato and super warm. Thanks again for the new names to search for…

  6. jess

    2008-11-15 at 11:29 PM

    thanks for a very interesting article. it is very true that HK designers aren’t supported very well. however, i think that HK people dress in a way that is different from the West…perhaps they copy the Japanese aesthetic more so than the Western one? Also, don’t just the richer people buy Western brands while the average person can only afford ‘local designs’ – which are mostly copies of Japanese style clothes? I just came back from a short trip in HK and I find the way people dress mostly uninspiring and conservative as compared to NY and Melbourne. The Yung Du designs look amazing, but I would never imagine someone wearing that in HK. I wonder how the more creative HK fashion designers design for a public that is largely not interested in them. perhaps they just aim for overseas exposure?

  7. winnie

    2008-11-16 at 12:08 AM

    Wow I love this post. I am loving Winnie Lui’s jewellery but Qui Hao is so intrigueing! Hong Kongers definitely love their labels and definitely regard Japanese tailoring very highly and it would definitely be a good thing if they started to look at home grown talent in the same way too…

  8. SOS!

    2008-11-16 at 12:56 AM

    I say ‘I do’ to yang du. yummy.

  9. SOS!

    2008-11-16 at 12:57 AM

    I say ‘I do’ to yang du. yummy.

  10. Katlin

    2008-11-16 at 5:05 AM

    The drip-y necklace by Daydream Nation is amazing. And hmm… pandas.. a thought for next Halloween.

  11. Alicia/InstantVintage

    2008-11-16 at 5:56 AM

    That white knit dress is art.
    I love the idea of a pop-up shop to showcase local designer talent. I wish I’d see more of that where I am.

  12. songy

    2008-11-16 at 12:21 PM

    These are interesting. Bittersweet. That’s a good word to describe it. There’s actually brand called Bittersweet in Korea which I only found out recently feeling rather ‘bittersweet’ as I really loved it and I can’t get it here in Perth. grr.

  13. ms. spinach

    2008-11-16 at 2:00 PM

    very cool.
    as a matter of fact, i just wore a zhang da piece tonight! such inventiveness…

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