For our September Insider Series, we are speaking to some of Hong Kong’s most promising designers. Hong Kong Fashion blogger and designer, Grace Chan started her own bag label – GLUSH/ in 2012 with her signature grassland clutch. She has launched many more standout pieces since then.
I am a designer because…
I studied fashion design in university but I didn’t develop any strong feelings towards apparel. I didn’t realise I was into design until I worked in events and PR fields, missing the process and R&D (Research & Development) of design. Bags are always a big part of my life as my family has been in the business for years. It has become a natural thing for me to start while I personally love products with various 3D shapes and textures, structurally more versatile than clothing.
What is your brand about?
I started my brand GLUSH/ in 2012 right after a trip to Europe. It was a split second of inspiration while I was lying around on the lawn in a park, having a sandwich and coffee for breakfast. That feeling of being so close to nature – with my face rubbing against the grass – leads to the idea of “Why can’t we carry a piece of our own grassland with us?”
GLUSH/ is therefore inspired by nature and aims to translate it into the bags form, reminding city-dwellers that they too can appreciate the part of nature that they forget every now and then.
What are you excited about in the next 6 months…
For the coming months, we are going to launch our new collections with a bigger range of items… I cannot disclose exactly what it will be yet, but it is already very exciting! We were at THE HUB fashion trade fair this August, and might be going to Singapore soon, so stay tuned!
A typical day for me is…
Hectic is the word, but I like it. I travel almost all over Hong Kong and Kowloon all the time, from material sourcing, factory, shops on both the island and the dark side (as I am currently consulting for a few retail shops as well), …etc. And of course occasionally some photo shoots and interviews for the blog and GLUSH/.
I love to meet different people and make it a regular habit to make sure I hear from shop owners, buyers, and factory si-fus when they have suggestions or updates. This helps a lot for a smooth work process and for my further brainstorming.
I spend most of my time…
With my laptop, camomile tea while I brainstorm in an open space. This is always where I find peace and focus on the various projects I do.
I will never…
I will never be a super girly person. I might look feminine at times but I’m actually a boy deep at heart. I like things crisp and clean, the classic kind.
I know I made it when…
I know I’ve made it when I feel happy and surrounded by my beloved close friends and family! It might make me sound like a kid but that’s exactly what struck me last week when I had my new bag collection launch at Aesop. When people made an effort to come and support, especially those I haven’t seen for more than 10 years, what more can you ask for? It’s not about the success at work, it’s about the real and genuine people you are surrounded by.
Your very own confidence. It is not just fashion but it is you, your personality, your aura, your vibe.
Describe your style…
I love classic and simple silhouettes. Mainly timeless pieces with some tiny twists in fabrics or details. Sleek and crisp is key, while black and white are always my favourite colours.
Favourite designers in Hong Kong and Internationally…
Favorite Hong Kong Designers:
- 112 mountainyam
Favorite International Designers:
- Sass & Bide
- Issey Miyake
- Maison Martin Margiela
How can Hong Kong become a fashion hub for Asia?
With the opening of creative hubs like PMQ in Hong Kong, it seems to be a start for local designers to have a space to do some self-promotions. I do hope that these places can remain without being turned into another commercial shopping arcade with rising rents.
I personally appreciate local fashion-focused organisations such as Fashion Farm Foundation supporting Hong Kong fashion designers, providing us the international experience at trade fairs. It is growing while we are all learning together. It would be a better fashion scene with this passionate group of people gathering quality designers together as a synergy.
It might sound difficult but I believe there is great value for the tag Made in Hong Kong. Like my very own brand GLUSH/, all products are made locally with the experienced si-fu’s. It is time that we think from the value instead of cost point of view as fast fashion might not be the answer to young designers. We have to take the initiative to support the local craftsmen and talents before they all disappear.
3 special moments in your life…
Being at one of the biggest fields I’ve ever been in UK (yes, I love my grass! It was at a wedding). I was wearing a black gown with open back at the big field as it was a wedding in UK. I paired it with a pair of Jimmy Choo black with military green crystal heels and my GLUSH/ VISI VERSA Camouflage baguette clutch
My first trade fair in Tokyo. I wore a Sass & Bide black and silver cape with silver belt and black pencil trousers for the opening party
The first collection launch party for my brand in August. I was wearing head-to-toe black with a military green linen blazer with some golden jewellery, fake tattoos and a chunky black and gold beads necklace
A favourite piece of jewellery?
I have black pearls as a birthday gift from my mother. It was bought from her Japan trip and I am still getting inspirations to design two rings with them.
How would you style pearls into your wardrobe/outfit?
For day-wear, I love to stack up pearls with chunky gold or silver necklaces and bracelets to match with smart casual, sleek tops and pencil trousers.
For evening-wear, pearls will sparkle on their own – I would wear a classic blazer, silk top, and floaty long trousers in basic colours to out-stand them.