Sonic Lam graduated from Hong Kong Design Institute in 2012 then moved to the UK to study at Birmingham City University. After graduation, he spent three years working for a Hong Kong fashion company. Lam has been drawn to vintage and workwear for as long as he can remember, but was unable to develop a signature style. He participated in YDC to prove to the public that workwear can be stylish and came second in the competition in 2017. Then, he joined woodworking art team Start From Zero and founded practical workwear brand SFZ & Son. He left the brand to pursue a solo career. Since going solo, he has designed clothing for local singers’ concerts, collaborated with Nike, and was recently commissioned by MINI to create a sustainable design project.

It’s evident from your designs and personal attire that you favour vintage and workwear aesthetics. Why do you like this style so much?  

Sonic: Vintage is uncommon and each piece is one-of-a-kind. Over time, even if it is the same brand and style, it will develop its own unique set of wear and tear patterns due to constant use. The product designer Dieter Rams once proposed ten principles of good design, one of which was, “Good design is honest.” Honesty must be the foundation of design. If it is not founded on honesty, then all that remains is a decorative design with rhetoric. This design philosophy is reflected in workwear, which is worker-centric, functional and not dictated by fads.  



In recent years, you have abandoned seasonal series in favour of random releases. How did you come up with this idea?  

Sonic: Seasonal production is more costly than profitable, and it also eliminates the idea of developing one’s own style. I would rather invest my money and time in something with superior craftsmanship. In recent years, several creative units from the US and Japan have emerged on Instagram creating a specific genre and design that’s become so well-known that they don’t need to produce anything by way of a collection.  


In additional to being a designer, you also create art. Why did you decide to enter this field?  

Sonic: An increasing number of brands are emphasizing eco-friendly and sustainable design. This is an exceptional opportunity for career growth. I’m able to refine sustainable design, so am trying to elevate it to the status of an art form.  



Which design and art projects have you collaborated on? 

Sonic: I’ve created concert outfits for Rubber Band, Eason Chan, Charmaine Fong, and Jason Chan. I also designed Charmaine Fong’s outfits for the “HW1” music video, which gave me greater creative freedom. Previously, I participated as an artist in Nike’s 50th anniversary project. I hope to work on more art collaboration in the future.  


Can you tell us about the recent projects you have worked on with HKTDC and MINI?  

Sonic: This new MINI electric car was designed with the concept of environmental protection in mind. I recycled leftover materials from MINI, including air bags and seat leathers, and added leftover fabrics from the ten YDC 2022 finalists to decorate the car in patchwork style, including the carpet, the front of the car, and a MINI x YDC flag.  

About the MINI Collaboration

The MINI Electric Designer Edition by Sonic made its debut in the MINI x YDC Preview this August. It’s the first time that MINI has provided an electric car for a designer collaboration.

Sonic shared his experience on this partnership. “I like to take inspiration from junkyards and rubbish dumps. During a treasure hunt, I came across these abandoned airbags and was fascinated by their unique texture. I decided to make them the hero for this project.”

Together with the leftover trims and fabrics provided by the ten YDC 2022 finalists, he created a patchwork design based on their colours, sizes and patterns.

This collaboration is proudly eco-friendly. “Patchwork enables you to fully utilise all leftover fabrics, which is quite different from garment making. I’ve learnt a lot from this project. Indeed, eco-friendly creation is like fashion and art: you need to spend time researching the materials, which provides inspiration to create your own work,” the designer says.

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