(2016 August) Finding Mr. Right is a bumpy journey on the road to love. Arts and design are the same, painstaking works come from sorting through the tangled chaos of mistakes and errors.
Lo Sing Chin (Sing), the founder of art studio PLOTZ (JCCAC Unit L0-02), embraces mistakes with open arms, “We have been trained to always having to be right, to put it another way, you are not allowed to be wrong. Such stable, cast in the same mould way of life makes it easy to lose [sight of] yourself.”
J: Your debut in the industry after graduating from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University was awarded the Young Talent Award by the Hong Kong Fashion Designers Association, then nominated for the Tokyo New Designer Fashion Grand Prix, invited to exhibit in STADT Museum in Germany, and also represented Hong Kong in a fashion show of Asia-Pacific Weeks Berlin in 2006. Looks like you had a really bright start!
S: I am rather indifferent to awards and honours now. But back then when I was about to fledge, and seeing all these fashion experts such as Nicholas Tse, Wyman Wong, Sean Lau and Paul Wong in the audience while I received my award on stage, did give me a sense of pride. I was concerned that vanity would get to me so I have deliberately wrapped my trophy in newspaper and basically just used it as a paperweight. I am not being proud; I just knew that keeping up to par is a never ending journey.
J: What made you want to join the fashion design industry?
S: My parents are both teachers and so I had always been taught to behave myself. Lucky for me, they are also very open-minded, so I was able to go after my dreams and do what I like wholeheartedly. Education in Hong Kong seems mostly about “avoiding mistakes” and students build their self-worth based on comparison, which easily erodes originality. When I was studying and designing, I learnt the most through trial and error, and found my sense of self from making mistakes.
I entered the line of work based on a silly idea; I was just trying to get to the models! What I wanted to say is, never underestimate a random idea. No matter how out of line it seems, once your goal is set, just head straight towards it. You ought to believe in yourself even if others rain on your parade, or else you will end up just like everybody else. You cannot simply be fond of something; you have to take every step towards it seriously.
J: You established your own fashion label PLOTZ as soon as you launched your studio at JCCAC in 2007. Was having your own brand your first step in achieving your dreams?
S: Before establishing PLOTZ, I had worked for several large fashion chains and arts organisations. The work was hectic but I learnt that as long as you believe in something, then you could endure it all. You cannot only be focusing on your workload or your pay when it is really about your dream.
With experience, one realises that being young is the biggest advantage. I started from nothing and did everything myself - from designing, making samples, finding factories, taking photos of my works, joining fashion shows, contacting buyers, arranging orders and logistics, stay on trend with the two fashion seasons in the year, managing personnel – the list goes on. Until alarm bells started to ring in my body, I did not realise how crucial being healthy is.
J: What is next in line for you?
S: The fashion industry has been advocating fast fashion in recent years, with emphasis on quick seasonal changes and low sales margin. This has disheartened many fashion designers. I hope to continue to develop my personal style specialising in conceptual designs. One idea is to solve problems through fashion design. For example, I designed a shirt for people who wish to quit smoking by purposely making the pocket very deep, just to create a bigger hurdle for reaching the cigarettes! Other than that, I also plan to have more collaborations, such as designing costumes for celebrities, advertisements and performances - not just to make ends meet but also good publicity for brand development.
J: You are shortly collaborating with the Hong Kong Heritage Museum to create some new works in September. How will you be surprising us?
S: Thanks to Hong Kong Fashion Designers Association’s recommendation, I am lucky to have the chance to collaborate with the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and participate in the "Fashion + Paper, Scissors and Rock" exhibition, which is about combining fashion design and craftsmanship. I shall be collaborating with two ceramic artists at JCCAC, Joey Leung and Louis Lo, to create a new series of work integrating Canton Rose porcelain and fashion design. We are currently coming up with ideas and experimenting, one of which is to make a suit with clay! We are in much anticipation about the results.
《JCCAC PROGRAMMES》(2016 August issue)