We chat with one of FUTURE NOTION’s featured Fashion Designers, a wee 27 year old Hong Kong native, Aries Sin, to uncover how she uses her passion for Fashion Design to create social change in her home country.
In the 1960’s – 90’s Hong Kong was the epicentre of garment production, and many had family members working in factories as production assistants and sewers. In 2005, the Multi Fibre Arrangement – a short term measure introduced in 1974 to allow developed countries to gain a domestic advantage in garment production – was lifted and China asserted her dominance and multiplied its production for export many fold. Hong Kong saw a natural decline in garment manufacturing.
FN: So, tell us about your label, MODEMENT.
Aries: I started MODEMENT back in January 2010 after a year’s stint in a Leather Wear Company.
FN: Nature vs Nurture – did u have family in the design business or were you influenced by factors surrounding you growing up, for example mentors, creative energy of Hong Kong, creativity of friends etc
Aries: My family background is pretty average and my mother was the catalyst that sparked my interest in fashion. Ever since I was a child of 7, my mother who worked as an assistant in a garment factory always took me along and it was there that I watched and learnt garment construction, fabric and fabric textures. In my young eyes, fabric swatches were the basis of couture for my Barbie dolls! It was also during those years that my interest in deconstruction and pattern making were sparked.
So I would say it’s probably my childhood environment and my innate inclination towards design.
Additionally, Hong Kong is quite an interesting city. Although small, we are really cosmopolitan and media reach is so fast and deep, but at the same time, this metropolis also possesses a special character and cultural history that is established and entrenched. I never run out of inspiration and ideas here!
FN: Do you see (your label) MODEMENT as a voice or a statement of sorts – a response to the situational factors of hongkong, for example, the bustle of the city, constraints of living in a landlocked country – do you see your work as a response to that…is it only for one collection or is it a running theme in your career?
Yes, MODEMENT is the shadow of Hong Kong.
In our previous collections, we used our home as a reference for “The Place We Live” Collection & our food for “The Eggette We Eat” Collection as a running theme for each collection. We make use of different factors and ideas from our home-town and It is our secret wish that people would not only wear Hong Kong design, but feel our culture. This is our direction.
That’s also why we carry different messages from each collection as opposed to just designing what the market needs.
FN:Describe some ups and downs – what are some of the joys of being your own boss, creative director, one woman super power and what are some of the challenges? We can imagine rising costs would be one of it..
Aries: Being a one-woman show (& bank!) isn’t easy, especially since we don’t have any financial support. But being able to work in what I am passionate about is really such an amazing thing.
Yes, rising costs are definitely a concern, and it’s a constant tight rope to strike a balanced relationship between technique, quality & costs.
Although the cost of labour is rising in Hong Kong, my team and I keep to our stance of using workers in Hong Kong as our manufacturers because of their professionalism and the respect they have for technique and fabric. You know, almost 90% of Hong Kong factories had been moved to mainland China for production, and tons of skillful sewers are left behind.
There is a social enterprise that was set up to faciliate a collaboration between these sewers and up-and-coming designers, and we choose to work with them for our manufacturing to keep MODEMENT of a high quality and contribute to our society at the same time.
We are really proud of our concept and aim to keep it up!
We hope people from all around the world could experience Hong Kong’s fashion language and feel confident in wearing our designs.
You know, whenever we see people wearing MODEMENT, our hearts always feel such a rush of joy! It’s almost like the heart of a mother making clothes for her children, with love and care.
FN: So, if you weren’t a Fashion Designer, what would you rather be?
Aries: Probably a chef! I think cooking and fashion are both art forms and so creative. In fact, whenever I see a beautifully presented dish, I can feel the passion and creative energy from the chef!
FN: Thanks for your time, Aries and have a great day!
Aries: You too! 🙂
*this article has been edited for grammer and length.