Fashion Stylist Constance Lee:
We Must Support Hong Kong Designers
HOMEFEATURES ▸ Fashion Stylist Constance Lee: We Must Support Hong Kong Designers

Fashion stylists often work with A-list brands and independent designers and have traditionally favoured foreign brands. But things are changing. In recent years, more and more local singers have been wearing the works of Hong Kong designers, which delivers great affirmation and encouragement to local creatives. Constance Lee springs to mind as one of the most supportive stylists of home-grown designers.

Text by Crystal Yung

As a graduate in Textiles and Clothing from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Lee thinks that supporting local designers is something happens naturally. “I came from a design background, and believe that Hong Kong designers need and deserve support. There are many talents in Hong Kong, but it has been imprinted in our head that foreign designs are better and greater. During the coronavirus outbreak, we have shifted our focus to local designers for various reasons. We should actually give more attention to local design.”

Constance Lee
Local Stars Support Local Design

Recently, Lee collaborated with popular boy band Mirror, inviting two Hong Kong brands Kit Wan Studios and Rickyy Wong to collaborate on costume design. “Kit was my classmate in design school, and I’m fond of his work! He is remarkably creative. His works are very futuristic in style, with exaggerated silhouettes, lines and patterns, which is ideal for performing costumes. He was in charge of the opening costume for Mirror’s concert.”

Wong specialises in designing minimal tailored suits, and is very skillful using silky, shiny fabric. He’s made costume for singers Anson Lo and Lokman. “The cut-out detail on the waist of Lo’s red suits was magnificent, and it wasn’t easy to find the right red silky fabric– could have looked tacky if it wasn’t the perfect colour. In addition, Lokman’s spray-painted suit was a great surprise because the designer rarely makes eye-catching clothing. To create and enhance the feel for the stage, he focused on the treatment of the colour.”

Many Hong Kong actors and singers opt to wear designer brands from overseas but Lee offers local designer choices to the celebrities. What are their thoughts on Hong Kong fashion brands? “All the celebrities I work with welcome local brands –they support and appreciate local creations, and sometimes buy pieces from local designers.”

The pandemic has created a challenging situation for stylists, one being the shipping issue. “The clothes I desired couldn’t arrive in time, which gave me less choices for my clients. Stylists are trying to work with local talent more often now.”

The Advantages & Challenges For HK Designers

From a stylist’s perspective, what are the advantages and challenges of being a Hong Kong designer? Lee said, “We are living in an East meets West international city, and local designers absorb different cultures and embrace different influences. Designers like Vivienne Tam and YMDH masterfully mix Chinese and Western elements into their design, and YMDH created a fresh denim streetwear look with sophisticated embroidery. As for the challenges, the Hong Kong market is tiny, and designers have to make more effort to explore other markets and do a lot of publicity.”

Being a frequent collaborator with local creatives, what’s the most memorable project for Lee so far? She singles out Hins Cheung’s Hinsideout concert three years ago as a definite highlight. “It was the most satisfying and enjoyable experience, and the designers and artists were a perfect match. It was also the first time for me to work for a performance with the longest show period at the Hong Kong Coliseum. I still remember Jeff Mui’s pencil shavings-like costume. He was able to complete the whole design within a tight two-week deadline. I admire Jeff for his strong art sense and his signature gothic style is so beautiful. He’s just designed a gorgeous costume for Serrini.”

Before closing the interview, I asked the stylist to share one thing that people rarely know about her. She burst into laughter and said, “I hate girlie stuff! I’m more into cool, masculine style.”

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