1883 Magazine
Kay-kwok-top.jpg

Kay Kwok has had an impressive education when it comes to fashion. After studying a BA in womenswear in Hong Kong, he then went on to complete an MA in menswear at the prestigious London College of Fashion, offering up an incredibly impressive graduate collection.

The collection in question applied vivid sunburst prints to classic tailored silhouettes and created a refreshingly modern take on traditional tailoring. It’s not often you see a designer who has such an established vision so early on in his career and with an initial foray into menswear which is as exciting as this, Kay Kwok is most definitely a name to watch...

KAY-KWOK-Image01.jpg

What made you choose a career in fashion? Was there a single defining moment that decided your fate or was it more of a natural progression?

I think there is a single defining moment which decided my fate. I remember when I was a child; I always liked art and drawing and wanted to be a fine art artist. I didn’t know much about fashion and although I was interested in it I never took the initiative to discover it. However, one day my friend at college showed me several fashion shows images and I suddenly became so crazy about fashion. Finally, I decided to study fashion design in university.

You completed a BA degree in womenswear in Hong Kong before choosing to specialise in menswear for an MA at London College of Fashion. Do you think these differing cultural experiences have affected your approach to the design process?

Definitely. Doing fashion design in Hong Kong is retail-oriented; normally, marketability is an element I would consider within the design process. However in my graduate collection I have focussed more on the effect of print and the design process.

Why did you decide to specialise in menswear? Have you got any plans to experiment further with womenswear in the future?

Actually, it was a weird story; I never thought that I would study menswear. After I was interviewed by my course director- Darren Cabon in LCF in Hong Kong, he suggested I study menswear. I was scared as it was a hard challenge for me: imagine studying something you don’t really know about on a masters course, you would definitely feel a huge amount of pressure. However, I took the challenge because I wanted to discover myself, and I believe my course director enabled me to do this through the study of menswear.

I am glad that I could learn about menswear at LCF and I would like to design womenswear as well. They are both interesting and playful! I really enjoy the whole process of design, no matter if it is menswear or womenswear.

KAY-KWOK-Image02.jpg

Your LCF MA collection showed an incredible array of sunburst prints in vivid hues. Where do you look to for inspiration in regards to your chosen colour schemes?

My collection is about Ancient Egypt: the inspiration of Ancient Egyptian religion and Cosmology, the mysterious story behind the sphinx, the relation between the process of mummy erosion and the system of Ancient Egypt’s constellation-like culture of the Solar, Lunar & Stellar story.

My colour schemes were taken from the images of the galaxy combined with my own imagination and aesthetic within this theme.

Who has had the biggest impact upon your work so far?
I would say my art teachers in college and my tutor and course director in LCF. They have influenced me and the direction in which I see things. During my studies at LCF, my tutor discovered the new me, qualities in myself which I didn’t even notice. It was an unforgettable experience and it boosted my confidence in trying to explore more about myself through fashion design.

Some say tailoring is one of the hardest disciplines to get right within fashion, what made you decide to focus on the modernisation of tailoring for your FW 12/13 collection?
Oh that is a big question and I am not experienced enough to answer it! I just do what I think looks nice in my collection and which works with my prints. The reason I focussed on tailoring for FW 12/13 is to achieve a balance between print and menswear. Boxy tailoring with clean silhouettes is the best way to show off my print work, they complement each other to make the collection nicer.

KAY-KWOK-Image03.jpg

The MA degree you undertook was in Fashion Design and Technology, which incorporates contextual modules as well as design work.  Do you find that studying the fashion industry in general has allowed you to develop your own vision more effectively? 

Yes definitely. As a fashion designer, knowing what happens in the industry is crucial. From this you can develop your own strategy within it, understand what you can do and how to do it in the industry.

What does the future hold for Kay Kwok?

To start another chapter of my life and to work hard with my brand – Kay Kwok. I have been studying for so many years, as well as working beforehand, and I think it is time to do something for myself. I want to start with my menswear line and I want my brand to reach a bigger audience.

Words by Lucy Topping

Twitter Youtube Instagram Tumblr Facebook

Glam Style