The Nordic influence to
young designer Kit Wan
HOMEHIGHLIGHT ▸ The Nordic influence to young designer Kit Wan

Years of living and studying in Norway has given Kit Wan a fresh and unique take on design.


A graduate of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Fashion and Textiles, Kit Wan was in Florence for the Pitti Filati design competition when he met teachers from the Oslo National Academy of the Arts. They were impressed with his work and invited him to study at the academy.


“They offered me full scholarship but that’s not the only reason I decided to go. It is also a fine art school so I would be studying art as well as fashion design. It is not the kind of programme that you can find everywhere,” said Wan.


The designer completed his Master of Arts degree at the academy in 2016 and stayed in Oslo to work on fashion design and arts projects. “Norway is a rich country and very supportive of young designers. If you have a good proposal, it’s easy to receive funding. This is especially important for designers at the beginning of their careers.”


For two years, Wan was based in Oslo working on costume design for theatre and dance productions and collaborating with other artist in addition to overseeing his own fashion design projects. However, he decided to return to Hong Kong last year to further his career.

Kit Wan's MA Collection (photo credit - Lene Johanson)

“Hong Kong and Norway are so different. First and foremost, it’s the pace of life. In Norway, there is always time and room to think. But in Hong Kong, you’re always racing against time. It took me a year to slow myself down when I first went to Oslo.”


He isn’t saying one way is better than the other, however. “I appreciate Hong Kong’s efficiency so much, but in Norway, you can let ideas sink. Simplicity takes time to distil and Nordic designers can always find a simple way to present the essence of things. Nordic furniture can create a strong visual impact with a minimalist shape. That’s not easy,” he added.


The designer believes that customers in Asia are more receptive to new ideas, and this is where the bigger spending power is, hence his return to Hong Kong to be closer to his target market and production base. “There is more competition here but it also means more opportunities.”

While he is now based in Hong Kong, Wan is not about to give up his Nordic sensibilities. He will have an exhibition in Denmark, Norway and Sweden related to his F/W 2018 collection, and is collaborating with a Russian video artist on a project about a motorcyclist. He is additionally designing costumes for a theatrical production due to open in April 2020 at the Copenhagen Opera House. 


These projects enable him to get the best out of two worlds. “I enjoy working on art projects because they let me be relaxed and free, while fashion requires me to be more market-oriented. I get to adjust my mind and that’s great.”


Wan set up his eponymous label in May 2018 and is now into his second season. Growing up with Japanese anime and video games, this aesthetic is apparent in the KIT WAN STUDIOS collections. The designer is keen to explore the interaction between humans and machines, the latter of which he believes will be able to feel emotions one day. Through abstract prints, he tries to show how technology can also carry emotions.


Wan is additionally working on expanding his market share in Mainland China, and his label, KIT WAN STUDIOS now has stockists in Xintiandi, Shanghai, along with a few other select stores.


The designer’s MA graduate collection will also be part of the permanent collection at the fashion and costume section of the new National Museum in Norway, due to open next year. “I’m very happy about this because as a Hong Konger, it’s a great honour to be featured there. It’s also a nice wrap up and acknowledgment of my work in Norway from the past few years,” he said.

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