Designer Wendy Mak founded handbag and accessories label Cocomojo in 2006. A Cocomojo design is one fused with a fantastical element that speaks of a message far greater than just fashion, finding inspiration in magic, dreams, a creation when “art mingles with magic”.
A Cocomojo item is a statement in itself – the latest summer collection takes inspiration from the natural elements- fire, earth, metal, water and wood. It features dragonfly’s, patchwork ‘dripping’ gold snakeskin leather, and vivid hues of electric blue, red and yellow that are ideal when paired with summer whites. We chatted to Wendy Mak to discover the world of Cocomojo.
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I grew up in Hong Kong, studied in the US and UK. As the family business is in leather goods, I traveled to Italy and France frequently with my father to learn about leather treatment and craftsmanship. I remember the first time I pitched my design ideas to the owners of a tannery and his team of designers, I was so worried that I might be too out-of-the-box and that they would not understand my idea. After a few minutes of silence, the owner said: “Why don’t we work together?” That was my first collaboration project. I secretly named it “MJB” – My Journey Begins (influenced by detective stories, I gave each of my project a ‘code’ like this to make it sounds more professional!)
I love working on collaboration projects because it is so inspiring to work with persons who have the same passion in life but may have a completely different point of view when it comes to design. I enjoy connecting with people, sharing thoughts and exchanging ideas; which are outside of designing. It empowers me as a young entrepreneur. Being a dreamer, I also remind myself to dream big and that every dream is worth chasing.
What first inspired you to start designing?
I experienced a lot of challenges in life, and most of the time, I felt alone. Until one day, I met this Mystery Man who told me a story, a story that I would never forget. We then became an inseparable team, sharing the same vision, thus, creating our own dreamland – The World Of Cocomojo. Open to all, it exists as an invigorating reminder that no one is alone.
Major influence on your design career…
I came from a leather business family that started with my great-grandfather. Many fascinating entrepreneurial stories were told over our dining table when I was young. Back then, no-one thought it would become my dream to start my own adventure. Not until one-day, when my passion exploded – my father hand-made me a little red purse with his own signature on as my 14th birthday present. In every way, it marked my intimate yet arduous relationship with bags.
Who is the Cocomojo woman?
Women who are contented, who stand up for what they believe in. Those whose beauty is on the inside which makes her outer beauty everlasting. I am designing for people who dare to dream.
Favourite material to work with…
I love working with natural materials, in particular, exotic leather with strong symmetry; it illustrates the complexities of womanhood, the beauty of unity between woman and her inner self.
Favourite handbag from Cocomojo collection..
It must be our signature Amelia, as it is an embodiment of the multi-faceted, modern day woman. Cocomojo appeals to the girl who wants to be both princess and heroine. Featuring a single rosette unfolding it’s petals in a symmetrical fashion, Amelia proudly showcases the balanced duality in the iconic Cocomojo girl.
Hong Kong fashion industry..
Paris has its chic style, London has its bold sophistication. Where Milan is vibrant, New York is edgy, and Tokyo is eccentric. Hong Kong people focus on the new and popular, which changes all the time. We are very trend-driven. We buy whatever is a hot pick item. Hong Kong style, perhaps, is the fast adoption of import fashion, the mix and match of mass chains like Zara and H&M, together with luxury labels like Céline and Givenchy.
What are you listening to at the moment?
- Bon Jovi – We weren’t born to follow
- Frank Sinatra – My way
- R Kelly – I believe I can fly
Favourite places to shop for clothes in Hong Kong…
- Alice and Olivia
- Red Valentino
- 3.1 Philip Lim
Where to find Cocomojo?
- Shop 2B, 2/F, Entertainment Building, 30 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong. Tel: 2203 4013
- Shop 112, 1/F, Mira Mall, 132-134 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. Tel: 2191 9468