The Young Fashion Designer Contest (YDC) was successfully held last weekend. One of the highlights was the appearance of a special guest with a deep connection with fashion. Not only was he a former buyer at leading fashion retailers but he also has his own label. He likes to share his #OOTD on Instagram like every OTHER fashionista. He is Denis Kwok, a.k.a 193, and member of Hong Kong pop group Error.
Text by Crystal Yung
The First Connection To Fashion
Hong Kong singer/actors Edison Chen and actor Shawn Yue, both of whom have their own fashion labels, were the main reasons 193 got into fashion. “They were so popular and they were the trendsetters. I like to imitate their style. After getting into the fashion industry, I realised their style was street fashion. When I studied abroad in the UK, I fell down the rabbit hole of online shopping, which broadened my horizons on different fashion styles. I’ve been in love with fashion ever since.”
From Psychology To Fashion
Kwok majored in Psychology at university. After graduation, he wanted to continue his studies, but discovered he had a deeper interest in fashion. “After returning to Hong Kong, I joined a management trainee programme at a fashion retailer. I chose the buying department after the program because I’d dreamt of becoming a fashion buyer – being at every fashion week in every major city, snapping and getting snapped by street style photographers and getting the first look at designer collections. However, the glamorous life came with lots of hard work! I worked from 9 am to 10 pm every day during peak season. And people might not know that 80 per cent of our time is spent sitting in front of the computer and working on Excel! The most memorable experience during fashion week was the lack of sleep. I had six to seven shows to attend every day and needed to place the purchase orders on the same day. I worked until the early hours of the morning and had to get ready for the morning shows of the following day. It was very exhausting. For people who want to be a fashion buyer just from the glamorous perception, I suggest you get to know the nature of the job.”
After working in fashion buying about four years, 193 got a job offer overseas.
But he ended up participating in Good Night Show and embarked on a new journey in the entertainment industry.
Supporting Independent Designers
Besides foreign labels, 193 keeps a close eye on emerging local designers. “I really like The World Is Your Oyster. I’ve been wearing the label since I was a buyer. The design duo is very creative. I also like Demo and Rickyy Wong. Recently, I discovered an interesting accessory label called CAR2IE through a stylist.” The fashionista enjoys high street style and likes to mix & match casual designs with a fun twist. Anything too formal is not his cup of tea.
What does 193 think about the fashion scene in Hong Kong? “I think Hong Kong people are now more open than before. In the past, people only wore T-shirt and jeans. You can see various styles on the streets of Hong Kong now. This year, the YDC finalists are very bold and creative. I hope the locals will embrace fashion with an open mind.”
The finalists this year impressed 193 on a different level. “Cady’s work is made for the stage. The visual impact is like an art piece. Toki’s collection is very wearable and reminded me of my favourite designer, Craig Green. I also like Fish’s design. The European influence in his collection made me think of my time in the UK. I especially like his trench coat. I’m always attracted to womenswear but am too tall for it. Andres’ patchwork of sheer and lace on a men’s jacket blows my mind and I like design when it takes elements from womenswear. Last but not least, Hiugor’s camping style collection is fun yet practical. The coat can be transformed into a blanket and the pockets are designed to store different items.”