#Brand Story | YAMA GUEST - Johnson Chong
HOMEFEATURES ▸ #Brand Story | YAMA GUEST - Johnson Chong

The legendary pop art artist Andy Warhol once famously said, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” This quote is widely known and signifies thatevery individual has the potential to achieve fame, even if it is only fleeting. The crucial factor lies in seizing opportunities and striving to go further.

Johnson Chong, the fashion designer and founder of the Hong Kong-based local brand YAMA GUEST ,  has devoted three years to establishing and developing his brand. Last year, he participated in the 2023 Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers' Contest (YDC) and received the Excellent Award. Johnson's distinct personal style and exceptional qualities caught the attention of radio DJ Pitar Leung from Commercial Radio Hong Kong, who appreciated his unique artistic vision. As a result, Johnson was chosen as the costume designer for the "Ultimate Song Chart Awards Presentation 2023," where he showcased his creativity by crafting an exclusive custom fashion line exclusively for YAMA GUEST.

FASHIONALLY interviews the designer, delving into the captivating brand story of YAMA GUEST and exploring Johnson's remarkable journey in the world of fashion design.

Q1. Why did you want to become a fashion designer?

I chose to become a fashion designer because in my final year of high school, my design for the class uniform received recognition and gave me great fulfillment. This experience played a significant role in shaping my passion for fashion design.

Q2. What inspired you to start YAMA GUEST? What is the meaning behind the name?

I have a strong interest in camping, hiking, and fashion, which led me to incorporate these elements into the brand. I envision individuals wearing YAMA GUEST garments to have a connection with nature, similar to the way we dress formally as guests for a wedding ceremony.

Q3. What makes YAMA GUEST's clothing outstanding?

YAMA GUEST's clothing excels in several aspects. Firstly, our design philosophy encompasses fashion, functionality, and aesthetics. We strive to create garments that are not only stylish but also practical . Secondly, we prioritise user-centric design, taking into consideration the needs and preferences of our customers. Our clothing is designed to be suitable for both outdoor adventures and urban environments, allowing individuals to express their unique style effortlessly.

One of our standout products is the SP02v2 shorts, which were inspired by the concept of storing tools in pockets while setting up a camping tent. To enhance convenience, we incorporated a hidden zipper beneath the pocket, allowing for easy cleaning and debris removal. YAMA GUEST aims to provide clothing that goes beyond expectations, offering both functionality and style to our customers.

“YAMA GUEST is dedicated to user-centric design, ensuring that their clothing is thoughtfully designed to perfectly suit individuals.”

Q4. What is your favourite item in the collection?

My favourite item is the TP23 reflective wear-resistant short-sleeved shirt. It is made with an anti-wear fabric commonly used for backpacks, and has reflective properties that enhance the wearer's visibility during outdoor activities at night. Additionally, the shirt is designed with a three-dimensional front pocket for easy storage of outdoor essentials.

Q5. What motivated you to participate in YDC? What did you gain from the experience?

I was motivated to participate in YDC because it’s the largest fashion competition in Hong Kong. I wanted to push myself further in the fashion industry, and YDC provided the perfect platform for that. By taking part, I had the opportunity to engage with the judges, learn from their expertise, and gain valuable insights into the world of fashion design. It was a rewarding experience that enabled me to expand my knowledge and network within the industry.

Q6. Has becoming the recipient of the YDC 2023 Excellent Award influenced your future creative work?

Winning the YDC 2023 Excellent Award had a profound impact on my work. It has reinforced my confidence in my unique personal style and given me the courage to stay true to my artistic vision.

Q7. How did you cater to the theme of the Ultimate Song Chart Awards Presentation 2023? What was your design inspiration?

The YAMA GUEST brand leans towards user-centric design with a focus on practicality, while the Ultimate Music Awards Ceremony emphasises design elements that exude a stage presence. The theme, “Thank You for Singing for Me,” featured a forest ambience with a figure under a large tree. My design inspiration drew from the concept of a gardener’s uniform, likening radio DJs to farmers who nurture each small plant by playing songs from every singer for the listeners. I felt that this concept could be effectively translated through the clothing of YAMA GUEST.

Q8. What obstacles and challenges did you face throughout the process?

One of the main challenges I faced was the tight timeline for creating the garments, but I managed to overcome it. Meeting the deadlines while maintaining high standards was demanding. Through careful planning and staying focused, I designed and produced 23 outfits within six weeks.

Another obstacle was sourcing the right materials and fabrics that aligned with my design vision. Extensive research and exploration were required to find the perfect combination of colours, textures, and materials. Additionally, ensuring proper fitting and sizing for the garments posed a challenge, necessitating multiple fittings and adjustments. I embraced these challenges as opportunities for growth and problem-solving tocreate a collection I could be proud of.

Q9. Do you consider consistency in style and practicality to be important factors in a brand’s success?

Yes, I believe that consistency in style and practicality is crucial for success. It reflects the designer's taste and allows for a cohesive narrative that resonates with customers.

Q10. What stage do you think you are at in the fashion industry?

I perceive myself as a young plant on the ground, continuously learning and gradually thriving.

Q11. What are your short-term goals?

I am currently preparing for the SS25 collection, hoping to showcase the diverse styles of YAMA GUEST to our customers.

Text, video, photo: Ken Lam

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