WHO/ Kay Wong – Artist/Designer

PASSIONS/  Art and sustainability.  Pledged not to buy any new clothes for one year!  Now a zero waste artist who only create art with used material.

SW:  I’ve known you through your fashion label DayDream Nation, what made you decide to start your own brand?

KW: Daydream Nation started as an experiment, my brother Jing coming from theatre design and directing background, and me from textiles.  Fashion became a meeting point for us, to tell stories through clothing.  That became our way of expressing our thoughts, and every season we would tell a different story through our collection.  As we also believed that Hong Kong is a city that has a strong kind of racism against daydreamers, we thought the brand we create should become a place where like-minded dreamers come together to share, to collaborate and play.

SW: Last year you’ve made a decision not to buy new clothes for one year, what was the catalyst to make such a drastic decision, and are there any challenges so far?

KW: I made this pledge to not buy any new clothes for 365 days because I felt strongly the average person who lives in a city like Hong Kong would only possess too much clothing instead of the other way round, but the most ironic thing is I keep hearing girls say the famous “ I have nothing to wear” when they clearly have an exploding wardrobe!  As the garment industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, and I have participated in creating it, I felt like I needed a fashion detox, and to spend this year researching about what fashion and fast fashion is doing to the world, and to stop polluting the world with unnecessary items of clothing, and only have what my wardrobe can store.
 SW:  After 10 years of success, you’ve decided to close down your brand, was there any particular incident which lead you to this decision?

KW: We decided to close our brand because it came to a point where we have achieved different goals like selling worldwide to over 80 stockists, won various awards in Italy and Hong Kong, caught the eye of Chanel and sold them our collection to inspire Karl Lagerfeld, opened different shops around Hong Kong.  But we were hit by the huge competition by global fast fashion conglomerates, competing with price, quality and speed, also with the high rental prices in Hong Kong, we felt it was too stressful to continue this race in creating this never-ending desire for consumers and also having our concerns about what fashion is doing to the environment, we felt we needed to stop and rethink.

My year in Copenhagen made me realize how life can be more fulfilling with less.  Less consumption, less material, less activities, less clutter….. 

because the Scandinavians are all minimalists, and by having less material, we have more space and room to think, feel, and connect with people

Tips on reducing fashion waste:

1. I enjoy repairing clothes that have ripped with darning stitches, and different kinds of embroidery
2. Its fun to mix and match pieces that you never think would go together, surprise yourself!
3. Swapping clothes with your friends, hoping clothing swap parties are super fun to do it!

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