#theWanderlist: A Guide To Sartorial Style in Hong Kong

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Well the cat’s out of the bag. My boss and an co-worker just walked up to me yesterday at the studio telling me that they just saw my video (above) in the Hong Kong Airport’s video screens and wondered why that was. Yes, there are people out there that don’t read this blog, or could care less what I do after hours… and most those people work with me. Which is great. So when they do let me know that they’ve seen me on Airport screens, it’s a bit funny to me.

About that video… this past summer I collaborated with the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) and producers at Singapore’s LiTV, to create some content for Hong Kong’s new global AD Campaign in Asia as well as to mark the arrival of the city’s new concierge app, MY HONG KONG GUIDE

The campaign, themed around the caption, My Time for Renewal, takes three guys; Celebrity Chef Alvin Leung, Model / Host Jason Godfrey, and Me, and introduces audiences to our favorite spots all over Hong Kong. Alvin tells carnivores where to get their fill of beef, Jason tells tourists how best to explore the city while getting the right amount of sun, and I teach guys where (in my opinion) is the best place to source a uniquely bespoke look. If you’d like to follow my Sartorial guide through this city… you can watch the video, use the itinerary on the app, and read the post below for more information about each of my Hong Kong menswear destinations I truly support and recommend.

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+ ELEMENTS OF A SUIT // Sham Shui Po District

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You can begin your sartorial adventure by sourcing your own fabrics, lining material, and buttons at the (in)famous Sham Shui Po district in Hong Kong. This little district is one of the poorest and most dense locations of public housing estates. However, it is also a destination for Electronic geeks looking for rare imports (prices are not that cheap), and Fashion designers looking to source materials and other items for their creations. I definitely know fellow blogger, Geneva, DIY blogger A Pair and A Spare comes here almost every week, and so does Paola, designer of her label, Tangram. Most recently, artist Michael Leung had formulated a Night Market Project initiative at Sham Shui Po, which you can read about here.

So much on offer here, it can be overwhelming.

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However, for those who are brave enough to venture…

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Will find plenty of very cool items to choose from.

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So many shops line the streets for your sourcing needs.

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With tons of fabric options for all your different suits.

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For the sake of sourcing for the suit, there are a few areas on the street and some shops that do sell fabric for the outer shell and a suit’s lining. However, your tailor will also have a selection on offer. I suggest readers to come only to Sham Shui Po if only they have something particular that you are in search of, are trying to save a few bucks on material, or are looking for fabric for suit accessories like additional dress pants or dress shirts.

Remember, suiting fabric comes in various types beyond the Multi-Blend, Wool, or Polyester suits you are used to. Depending on the time of year or the event, you may opt for cotton, flannel, herringbone, linen, poplin, seersucker, or tweed. 

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+ BEST OF THE SPECS // Woo Ping Optical Co. in North Point

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After Sham Shui Po, we ventured over to the iconic Mom & Pop owned, Woo Ping Optical, in North Point. This place has been around since 1974… and at arrival, I immediately noticed that nothing about that place has changed since the Seventies! Most notably, a really vibrant lady dressed in forever ‘81 (as in 1981), is always there to offer great customer service to all who visit.

At Woo Ping, they sell plenty of used and new Ray Bans from different eras (Generic, Japanese, and US Only models), and a bunch of retro Japanese glasses that still are very much back in vogue today.

The nice lady, Ms. Chan,… one half of Woo Ping Optical.

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As it stands, frozen in time. Thank goodness.

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Retro is now back in. You got the memo?

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Which Japanese frames did I get? Guess.

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The other half of Woo Ping Optical who refuses to get his photo taken.

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I bought a pair of Japanese handcrafted green tortoise shell specs and prescription lenses to fit in. The perfect pair cost me around 400 hkd… TOTAL. Take that Lens Crafters!

According to our friends at Moustache Tailors (who feature Woo Ping on their own Hong Kong Guides), Woo Ping has plenty of fans including lady Shum Din Ha, tycoon Li KaShing, and singer Eason Chen.

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+ SUIT WITH THE RIGHT CUT // Moustache in SOHO

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Speaking of Moustache Tailors, we went to see them after the glasses place to check out how my summer jacket was going. Ellis Kreuger from the UK and his partner, Alex Daye from the US, are both the co-owners of Moustache. We actually had a lengthy interview with them a few years ago, which was photographed by Carmen Chan of How I Met Your Style. Back then they were were just venturing into Bespoke Denim on top of their Suiting services. Today they’re still going strong, and have actually given themselves Sundays off and an additional tailor/seamstress added on to the team in order to meet up with demand.

Some behind the scenes of the updated Moustache shop.

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Really excited to ‘design’ this summer wool jacket with Ellis and Alex.

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The difference between a suit from Moustache and a suit from a tailor in TST, is that Ellis and Alex are real masters of the perfect “cut” with an eye focused on current fashion trends and styling. Meaning, you will most likely get a suit that is maybe a bit more playful and fashion forward with a cut that is right for your body type (ie. slimming), vs. a suit based off of a generic paper template which is easily adjustable for different measurements. The difference is a look that is 2014 versus 1984.

Moustache will also give the customer options for all types of outer shell and lining combinations, stitching types, collar and lapel shapes, pockets, vents, pleats, cuffs… really it’s like being part of a fashion designer’s process. While this may initially seem overwhelming, it’s really not, because Ellis explains the whole process so easily and he’s got a form he writes on to make it seem like everyone is putting together specs for a new race car or something. Plus, there are also some guys out there that don’t want the selection of 5 materials that everyone is forced to gorge on when getting a generic tailored suit or jacket. My summer suit is actually made of a lightweight maroon thin wool material, and lined with a lime green and black polka-dot lining. I originally ordered golden buttons, but ended up with red wool covered buttons. The whole look is comfortable, casual, and modern. These guys are so easy to work with and the suit is ready in about 4 weeks with two visits total before the pick up.

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+ IF THE SHOE FITS // Shoe Artistry in Mongkok

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Before we ventured back to Hong Kong side from Kowloon, we stopped over in a non-descript Mongkok building to visit Shoe Artistry located on the 2nd Level. Shoe Artistry is Hong Kong’s premier studio for handmade measure-to-make shoes and it’s founder, Central Saint Martins graduate Kit Lee, is a very passionate artisan.

Kit started Shoe Artistry as a way to help a friend find a way to make her own bespoke shoe to celebrate finishing her final degree. In the process they were able to discover the iconic MING KEE shoe makers in Jordan, and his collaboration with MING KEE allows Kit to find a new generation of consumers looking to create a bespoke shoe.

Very low-key shopfront, but Shoe Artistry is the best in Handmade shoes.

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Colors and styles on offer make everything “on trend”.

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Loving this shoe wall.

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All the shoe forms for each client on the long shelf.

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The difference between a hand made shoe and high priced Italian brand, is that at the end of the day, mass-produced shoes are designed to fit a variety of feet sizes and are most likely partly built by machines, whereas shoes at Shoe Artistry are 100% handmade, and are based off a hand drawing of your own unique foot. Shoes at Shoe Artistry are not cheap and run from about 250 to 500 USD depending on the complexity of the style. However, a bespoke shoe really does finish a bespoke suit quite nicely, AND the artisanal shoe’s design are custom made for each individual gentleman.

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+ OLD FASHIONED BAR // Tai Lung Fung in Wanchai

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Not really menswear or sartorial related, but since we’re on the right wavelength… a well suited man certainly will find himself right at home here at Tai Lung Fung, a watering hole tucked away behind the historic Stone Nullah Blue House. The chill space is actually more of a local then a destination bar, however its nostalgic decor and refreshing version of a Whiskey Old Fashioned makes this place a perfect night that is uniquely one-of-a-kind in Hong Kong. 

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That’s definitely where we ended, and I’m glad that we did. I can still taste that whiskey drink. Go before dinner or after (not during.)

SHOP Sham Shui Po . Exit Sham Shui Po Station / SHOP Woo Ping Optical Company . GF, 278 King’s Road, North Point, Hong Kong . T: +852-25717810 / WEAR Moustache . GF, 31 Aberdeen Street, Sheung Wan . T: +852-25411955 / WEAR Shoe Artistry . Office 4, 2F Prosperity Building, 61 Tung Choi Street, Kowloon . T: +852-27966018 / DRINK Tai Lung Fung . 5 Hing Wan Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong . T: +852-25720055

JJ.

#ArtBaselHK14: Notes on Vernissage and the Absolut Art Bar

Art Basel’s 2nd annual showing in Hong Kong was on fire last week and started off explosively at Wednesday’s Vernissage. In comparison to the previous year most of the guesswork is now out of the way, in regards to what to sell to this Asian market within this context. I will expand on this in later posts, but for the most part, everyone was aligned with selling “fair friendly” 2D work… and they were very “new” concept as well. But first, I just wanted to quickly post some of my favorite photographs from this year’s first evening Vernissage preview and the concurrent after-party hosted by Hong Kong’s foremost tailors, Alex Daye and Ellis Kreuger of Moustache, at the Absolut Art Bar designed by darling artist, Nadim Abbas.

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Starting from the top, some of the works which stood out that first night is the gimmicky piece by artist, Ciprian Muresan via Galeria Plan B, a chipboard to-scale model of a complete city which you can step on and destroy within the Discoveries Sector. As an architect who has had to build chip-board models like these from scratch and by hand, let me tell you, it was all very frightening. By the fourth day of seeing the progress of the work, one has to wonder what’s transcendental about the piece beyond what it is. 

Architect and artist, Laurent Gutierrez, one-half of the team that makes up MAP Office, which exhibited heavily care of the Shanghai Gallery of Art, introduced the duo’s latest works… a set of mini-islands built of shells encased in glass boxes. Their works deal with perceived and choreographed territories, with studies in various media from sculpture, to photography, to painting, of which at Art Basel, it was all represented.

We also got to meet performance artist, Tolarno Galleries’ Anastasia Klose, from Melbourne, who was selling shirts via her work, One Stop Knock-Off Shop, at 400HKD a pop. The best shirt of the bunch 'Art Blase' was sold out even before the Vernissage opened for business. Apparently someone bought them all for the staff and friends of Art Basel. Her gallery allowed her to set up a stand where she worked everyday to push her “art”. Her reasoning for selling these cheeky shirts… she’s “got to make money” somehow. Art for the masses yo! I got art a shirt at the last day marked down to 300hkd!

We spotted ParaSite Art Space’s Executive Curator and Director, Cosmin Costinas, giving a special tour to a group of collectors in front of the fabulous Sun Xun exhibition at Encounters Hall 1.

The biggest highlight post-Basel Vernissage of course would have to be the after party, set in Nadim Abbas’ work, Apocalypse Postponed, the name for this year’s Absolut Art Bar. That evening we were all treated to the smooth and powerful rock and roll sounds of The Belfies, a new band featuring the vocals of local style icon, Diana D’Arenberg Paramand, and the guitar stylings of Sean Fitzpatrick. There was a completely awesome yet whacked out performance artwork of one Ming Wong, who dressed up as some kind of robotic Harajuku doll… and danced like one as well.  All the drinks were co-prepared using Nadim Abbas’ “apocalyptic concept” and combined with Absolut vodka as the key ingredient.

A gallerist from Moscow.

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An “impactful” piece by Patricia Piccinini, titled The Comforter 2010 via Tolarno Galleries.

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"Into the Blue" with jeweller Sasha and Mina.

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A couple of wallflowers.

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Friends… Roger, Jo, and Norbyah.

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More to notes to come.

VISIT Art Basel 

JJ.

#ArtBaselHK14: This Year’s Absolut Art Bar… Apocalypse

Absolut presents Apocalypse Postponed, a collaboration with Hong Kong artist Nadim Abbas. Set in a dystopian post-apocalyptic bunker environment, Apocalypse Postponed is an immersive site-specific art bar and installation conceived by the artist, featuring a nightly changing programme of performances, bands and DJs, and serving a series of unique cocktails, designed by the artist exclusively for the installation. 

For example, Abbas developed all aspects of the immersive installation, working with notable collaborators including animator Wong Ping and composer Steve Hui on the concept and design, to a series of innovative Absolut cocktails which incorporate technology developed to provide nutritional supplements during space travel and wartime rationing. 

Drawing inspiration from sources including Science Fiction films, 20th century military architecture and defensive plans such as The Atlantic Wall and the Swiss National Redoubt, Abbas has created a bunker-like environment, constructed from sand bags, with blacked-out windows, to construct an insulated safe haven where visitors to Art Basel in Hong Kong can take refuge. 

The installation features a changing nightly program of live music, DJ sets, screenings and choreographed performances, including the legendary psychedelic electronic group Silver Apples, post-punk rockers Re-TROS, avant-noise improvisation by guitarist Li Jianhong, and local talents such as Atomic Bubbles, Meta Fog, Stoic Strangers and Pando’s People, curated by Xue Tan

Tailors, Alex Daye and Ellis Kreuger of Moustache also collaborated with Abbas to create costumes for the week  long “performance”, and will be hosting their iconic Bearded Lady party, post Vernissage on the 14th.

This installation follows critically acclaimed installations by Adrian Wong at last year’s Art Basel in Hong Kong, Mickalene Thomas (2013) and Jeremy Shaw (2012) at Art Basel and Ry Rocklen (2013) and Los Carpinteros (2012) at Art Basel in Miami Beach.

Apocalypse Postponed, which launched yesterday, will be open daily from 5pm to 2am until Saturday, 17 May.  

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All Images Above provided by Absolut.

DRINK Apocalypse Postponed, Nadim Abbas: An Absolut Art Bar . Soundwill Plaza II, 17th Floor, 1 Tang Lung street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong / ARTIST Nadim Abbas

JJ.

Seen&Scene: Hong Kong Fashion Now! A/W13 Menswear Report Ft. Pye x MAP Office, THYVANE, Moustache x The Hub

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While at this stage Hong Kong DOES NOT have a destination fashion week worth going to, (God knows more than a few people are trying and asking for it), this past month as I’ve reported, Hong Kong has just enjoyed it’s first international B2B Brands to Buyers event with launch of the The Hub. From what i’ve heard (I didn’t go because I’m neither brand nor buyer… plus it was at the Asia World Expo… plus i’m a full time architect) it went pretty successful. However I WAS able to attend some of the parties that were hosted off-Hub that week and as it so happened, all of them were Menswear-related events with brands all originally and independently Hong Kong born and bred.

+ PYE x MAP Office / The Space on Hollywood Road

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Men’s shirt makers, PYE, celebrated their bespoke services and finely tailored collection of branded buttoned down shirts via a collaborative exhibition of graphic works by architects and researchers, MAP Office. The show, black and white prints displayed proudly in and around the walls of The Space on Hollywood Road, reflect the story of the PYE Shirt, and how every element of the shirt, including the source of the cotton itself, is proudly farmed in China within PYE’s own cotton fields. This proudly-made-in-China, from field to fabric approach to retailing, is something PYE is happy to sell, especially at an age when everyone is too busy labeling everything “made in Italy”, when we all know, resources and production are made here in China.

The quality of the shirts, its pattern, its dyes, and its fit are superb. And this is guaranteed in every PYE shirt, especially because they own the whole vertical supply chain, and not many shirtmakers in the world can say that is truly the case. 

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Friends and family of the shirtmakers were treated to drinks, and were welcomed to try on PYE Shirts. Additionally some were brave enough to model the shirts for personal portraits in front of these beautiful panoramic black and white drawings by MAP Office.

I love how the brand is really integrating and relating with Hong Kong’s artists and creatives. Plus, it was great to catch up with brand founder, Dee Poon over drinks at the event as well. Can’t wait to see more from this brand.

WEAR Pye . Shop 111 Pacific Place, Admiralty Hong Kong

+ THYVANE / Time & Space in Sai Ying Pun

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After making buzz with their debut at The Gift Shop by Tangram during Art Basel Hong Kong week, THYVANE, a premium menswear accessories label by ex-lawyer Roger Ouk, has finally made a grand debut via a one night pop up at Time & Space in the edgy Sai Ying Pun district. Friends, family, and supporters of the new label were out that night at full force. Guests were served unlimited amounts of special inventive cocktails created by the team at Time & Space and with sponsor Belvedere Vodka. By the end of the night, slippery fingers (including mine) went straight for the credit cards to purchase one (or a few) of the new neon-color blocked snakeskin ties from the “Promise and Power” collection. A video shot by Roger (with the aid of contemporary artist, Joao Vasco Paiva featuring his muse, Xue Tan) was projected on the walls to commemorate this new line which aims to explore the role of China in a position of political and economic power.

Friends spotted at the event include Roger’s partner and wife, Jade, plus e-commerce entrepreneur from A Boy Named Sue, Tania, and gallerist, Zoe.

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Hong Kong muse, Lingzhi.

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Net-A-Porter’s super lovely Lupe.

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And of course the Man of the Hour. Roger.

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Business that night went pretty well apparently… I think all the free Vodka helped out! Cartoon Network’s Edward, also an Instagram star, was a prime example of slippery fingers.

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WEAR Thyvane . Kapok GF 5 St. Francis Yard, Wanchai, Hong Kong

+ Moustache x The Hub / House of Siren 

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Not really a “Menswear” report per se, but just wanted to add a footnote, that the gents, Alex and Ellis of Moustache Tailors, have really been everywhere around the city lately. In collaboration with The Hub (they had an amazing set up at the fair itself) they were able to host a great party at the very theatric House of Siren space for VIPs and a few fair goers. The House of Siren is a multi-use space underpinned by an amazing fancy dress shop. It’s really a different world and perfectly fits the Moustache brand to a T. After The Hub, Moustache had another pop-up bar at last weekend at the FNO-Vogue-Lane Crawford event. I’m very happy for them. It’s great to see they’re doing so well.

Meanwhile check out these goodies they displayed at The Hub with leather makers, Stiibu. It’s truly POP. (photo via OMLBLOG)

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WEAR Moustache . 31 Aberdeen Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

JJ.

HONG KONG STYLE PARADE via TANGRAM for 2013

Tangram, the amazingly powerful and colorful womenswear line introduced by Columbian partners, Paola Sinisterra and Ingacio Garcia, have launched their 2013 line while at the same time showing gratitude to their community and group of friends here in Hong Kong who have helped and supported them via an editorial style parade photographed by Daniele Mattioli at Casa Capriz.

Since Tangram is all about color, style, range, creativity, personality, and of course, the power of all these elements combined, who else is best to be dressed in the wears but the creators themselves, and the creative community in Hong Kong in general. All the peeps youve seen in this blog before, Ellis Kreuger and Alex Daye of Moustache and Salon No.10, Style maven Diana d’Arenberg, 15Squarestreet’s Alexis Holm with partner Jan Pang, and curator Claudia Albertini

All photos can be found on Tangram’s Facebook Page here.

WEAR Tangram Online or By Appointment at Casa Capriz, 8F, Realty Tower, 4 San On Street, Chai Wan

JJ.

Obamarama!

This photo and tweet was most Re-Tweeted Tweet… around the world… ever.

US President Re-elect @BarackObama announces “Four More Years” on Twitter, and as of this post has had over 810,000 RT’s (ReTweets) and almost 295K Favorites.

For those who have been following the election, and has had NYTIMES or CNNGo on re-fresh every second, probably perceived the obvious even before President Obama’s TWEET, but for some of us… ie. Shelly Hayashi, Proprietor of General Store, HK/China’s Best Americana antique store, and Me, we guessed the win about a week in advance. Call it what you will, or call it intuition, but we then got together with Moustache’s Alex and Ellis to host Hong Kong’s only Election night celebration at Salon No. 10.

Shelly in front of the American Flag.

I was beyond ecstatic at this point.

Ellis and Alex Hard at work over what turned out to be, HK’s best Mac & Cheese.

The dress code was Americana and the entrance fee was “Pot Luck Americana” of which all the guests; Artists, Creatives, Gays, and Democrats Abroad Hong Kong… brought.

American Flag Cupcakes from Katrina.

The girls from KinderU Suzuki Academy, Monica, Allison, and Proprietor  Jennifer and all their American dessert goodies.

Which included this magnificent beauty…. what ever it was.

Shelly made Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches as well as Cheesy Sandwhiches fried on a frying pan. Delish.

In attendance were Ralph Lauren’s Gierdre as a Disneyfied tourist.

Michael clad in BYOB.

Danielle of WHITESPACE with Paul from Democrats Abroad.

Bernadette, with her Beef Chili. (Im gutted I turned vegetarian a week before this.)

Moses and his friend who was there to celebrate both Voter-Approved legalization of Gay Marriage and Marjiuana in a few key states.

With Colorado Cookies…. hmmm what are they?

Also celebrating, Katrina, Nightlife Guru Johannes Pong, and Time Out HK’s Arthur Tam.

Stars and Stripes at the hip.

At the bar… Billy boy.

Artist, Adrian Wong in my favorite herringbone American Apparel pullover.

Mac brings home the pie… appropriately from the American Club.

ChristingC, Dan, and Taiwanese popstar Katie of ROOMIE stopped by as well.

Lingzi in glorious gold.

Jason with 15squarestreet’s Louise who brought a whole package of OBAMABAUMS sold at 15squarestreet and online.

Thanks David and 15squarestreet for these OBAMABAUM, Obama Air Freshners! The guests loved them.

We ended the night re-watching the speech…

The decor by General Store at Salon No.10 was amazing. It felt like Election night in the 60s.

After the speech it was time to turn down the lights to watch some William Belli doing a Wilson Phillips drag impression about Chick-fil-A. Why? Because we CAN.

Thank you Salon No.10 Gang!

SHOP General Store / PARTY Salon No.10 / SMELL FRESH OBAMABAUM

JJ.

Salon No.10

Wonderboys, bespoke fashion gurus of Moustache, Alex Daye and Ellis Kreuger (in collaboration with Italian Fashion House, STIIBU), will be taking their charms beyond the clothing shop after hours and on to their new venture, hosting late nights from Tuesday to Fridays at Salon No. 10, a fabulously cool new bar tucked in Central with that “David Lynch-esque” allure.

Yes. This is ET on the Mural.

The interiors are quirky, classic, stuffed to the brim with eclectic furniture, and very sci-fi, a perfect backdrop which suited the gents with their more private invite-only Bearded Lady monthly cabaret nights. (Bearded Lady refers to well… a Bearded Man dressed in a dress singing songs live. Oh Yes.)

20,000 Leagues… and counting…

"Expect great music from us and our musically inclined friends," says Daye, "With the occasional live performance, a splash of magic, an esoteric cocktail menu, and plenty of glamorous surprises." And no, it will not be Bearded Lady every night, but you may get lucky. "Don’t be surprised when the floor gets cleared for some late night dancing!" They say. And yes, pole dancing is not out of the question. 

A well stocked kitchen with ingredients, condiments, items, goods, and spirits is available for private parties and dinners from Saturday through Monday night.

Impressive.

The last time I was here… guess who I saw? (via @thewanderlister Instagram)

Creative City’s Louise Wong! You too can be Queen of The Night. If The Bearded Lady doesn’t get there first. 

Alex and Ellis Portrait by Carmen Chan, of HOW I MET YOUR STYLE for theWanderlister+.

PARTY Salon No. 10 with Moustache & STIIBU, 10 Arbuthnot Road, Hong Kong, Tue-Fri 7pm-2am  / HOST Salon No. 10 Private Evening, Email / SHOP Moustache

JJ.

#JJStyle: the HK Summer 2012 Menswear Report

Summer is technically over in Hong Kong, but you wouldn’t know it with the heat outside. That said I think now is about the right time to do a bit of a Fashion Summer 2012 wrap up to summarize all the must-have goodies that have popped up within the last two months for Menswear from Hong Kong’s independent designers and boutiques.

+ ANTHONY HILL / HILL Pop-Up @ KAPOK . June 2012

We celebrated a pop up earlier this Summer at Kapok on Sun Street with designer Anthony Hill for his inaugural 17 piece capsule collection… and then some.

Anthony, a graduate of the prestigious Central St. Martin’s in London, launched the collection in the Fall of 2012 to great interest locally and in the region. He is currently enjoying a steady growth in clientele, including myself, who believe in his no-nonsense approach to casual menswear via an old-world tailoring techniques.

The collection of relaxed Cotton, Linen, and Seersucker Blazers, Trousers, and Short Pants, are Asia “Heat” Ready. I wore the jacket above on the right at ART HK12 this year, and I also wear the jacket above left while at work or play. There’s a difference in the fit. You should seek Anthony and give them a try yourself.

Anthony with Baptiste.

Me in my HILL Menswear Jacket.

Purchase HILL Online at http://www.hill.com.hk

+ MOUSTACHE Goes Japanese . July 2012

As reported in Alex Daye’s (co-proprietor of Moustache) blog, On Hollywood Road, Moustache has branched out beyond Hong Kong’s NOHO District to Tokyo, where they have launched a satellite salon at Midori.so for a limited time.

All items from their ready to wear, travel collection with leather house STIIBU, and designed tailor wear were available in Tokyo. Illustrations by acclaimed Sydney artist, James Dignan, lined the walls.

The pop up was met with tremendous interest and success, which ended with one of  Alex and Ellis Kreuger’s The Bearded Lady parties.

For more information on the pop up and more photos, check out On Hollywood Road Blog at the link.

We met up with the Moustache gents over dinner last week where finally I received my much awaited jeans from Kurashiki Betty Smith in Japan.

I don’t know if you remember, but last year we reported being fitted for a pair of “Tailored” Jeans at Moustache… not knowing exactly how Tailored Jeans would actually wear on a body. The verdict? I love them. For 2K HKD, you can get jeans to fit you exactly how tailored trousers fit. Some people spend thousands of dollars on tight stiff jeans that hardly fit at all… there are jeans for you. And you can get them at Moustache.

As you can see, I picked out everything, from the buttons, to the stitch color, the stitching style, even having my initials “JJ” sewn on the front hip. As well as the back pocket style and leg cuff… you choose it all.

Moustache / 31 Aberdeen Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong / +852 2541 1955 / MOUSTACHE ONLINE

+ 15squarestreet & VOID . Summer 2012

The summer is a busy time for Swedes, David Ericsson and Alexis Holmes, residing at their shop on 15 Square Street in Sheung Wan. To start, David has released a new line of watches for VOID, which is a departure from his metallic square styles to a more classic round face look with VO3A and VO3B.

Like the previous VOID styles, these watches are defined by their Stainless Steel casings, leather straps, and a simple yet elegant typeface unique to the VOID Brand.

Additionally, while not working on the latest line of gram shoes, Alexis has designed a first briefcase for the 15squarestreet line of leather goods, stating that “this briefcase is the one and only briefcase you will ever need.” It looks seductively like that may be the “case”. The style comes in three colors.

Here’s a sneak preview of a new style yet to arrive.

15 Square Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong / +852 2362 1086 / VOID WATCH on FACEBOOK / 15squarestreeet on FACEBOOK

+ P.A.P (Products and Philosophy) @ kouCH . Summer 2012

The Swedish leather brand, P.A.P (Products and Philosophy), was founded by Ulf Pyk, is designed to counter the cold impersonal feeling of our modern technologies and gadgets. This past season, SOHO brand kouCH on Tai Ping Shan, recently inaugurated a line of Men’s envelope bags which can store everything from iPads to personal items from P.A.P.

The bags come in a variety of colors, and makes a nice casual addition to your look if you do not want to carry a heavy bag or briefcase.

kouCH by KONZEPP ONLINE / 12 Tai Ping Shan Street, Hong Kong / +852 23762871

Gents, the next time I see you on the street, you better look great! There’s no excuse.

JJ.

Mana, Moustache, Maps, + More. We Explore Hong Kong via Creative City’s Danielle Huthart and Louise Wong

You know you live in a cool-creative neighborhood when Aesop moves in. (See last article… please note i’m only half-facetious with this statement). Additionally, if you don’t already know, this “cool” neighborhood, Sheung Wan, is only one of a handful unique design districts in the city… and according to the 2nd edition of the Creative City map by Lancashire Road’s Louise Wong and Whitespace’s Danielle Huthart, there are at least 6 Cool Districts in Hong Kong to get to know better.

Creative City Map-Guide.

I’ve established late last year that Hong Kong is now officially NOT a Creative Desert, so please I don’t want to hear that phrase around me anymore. In fact, I will kill this phrase with this article today. But the reason why I mentioned it is because when we sat down for a bit of coffee and brunch at MANA! (Hong Kong’s newest Slow-Food Vegetarian offering on Wellington Street… also highlighted in the Creative City Map) with Danielle, Louise, and my lifestyle contributor, Cheryl Rodriguez, this very question of “Is Hong Kong REALLY a Creative City?” Did come up many times in our conversation.

A chat with the team behind Creative City Map-Guide at MANA!.

MANA! Hong Kong, exterior. (Taken from my Instagram @theWanderlister)

A few of the things that popped up in the chat was that yes, now Hong Kong IS a Creative City but there is a long way to go, namely more support from the Government of Hong Kong to push and support creative industries (HELLO! Tax Incentives for Profit Making/Sustainable Creative and Artistic Ventures please!) and the willingness of the city to foster and aid the creation of unique and creative neighborhoods. When Danielle Huthart established Whitespace a few years ago in the middle of Sheung Wan, the neighborhood was yet still to be the design and stylish destination enclave it has turned into today… and her studio is Design Hong Kong’s Ground Zero.

Whitespace’s Danielle Huthart at MANA, June 2012.

Louise and Danielle first met at DETOUR, Hong Kong’s annual design showcase event which occurs the same week as BODW Business of Design Week. Since meeting, they’ve since agreed to collaborate on a hobby creating a coolfinder map for Hong Kong… Louise doing research and Danielle doing layout and print coordination with a handful of collaborators; namely Daydream Nation, Graphic Airlines, SCAD HK, and Shanghai Street Studios. If that wasn’t enough, there are 4 additional limited edition covers designed by illustrators; Graphic Airlines, Don Mak, Emily Eldridge and Emilie Sarnel.

4 Limited Edition Covers for Creative City 2nd Edition. You have to find them to Collect!

The 1st edition was wildly successful and now the 2nd edition focuses not only on what to do in the 6 districts, but where to hang out for your “third place”, the ideal coffee shop where you can work outside of home or office (yes foreign to the city, normal concept everywhere else in the world). The sudden sprout of independent coffee culture in Hong Kong, according to the map’s designers, reflects the growing need of creative individuals to find a place and a space to create, socialize, network, and mingle with like minded individuals. IE. The rise in coffee culture usually relates to the rise of a creative cultural community. We are witnessing this now in Hong Kong.

Befitting the overall idea of the 2nd Edition map, we all meet at MANA! for some coffee and good healthy vegetarian fair. It was my first time here and I absolutely love it. I have only munched on wraps and drinks but based on what I had, I would definitely come back. And now on to the interview…

Louise and Me… and this map you’ve got to have.

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theWanderlister+ Asia INTERVIEW WITH DANIELLE HUTHART AND LOUISE WONG FOR CREATIVE CITY MAP-GUIDE 2nd EDITION / June 2012

W+: Whats up with Creative City!? It’s so cool. Tell us a little bit more about this Guide Map.

LW: Thanks, we’re happy to hear you like it! The idea behind the map-guide is to show a creative side of Hong Kong — a view that is not specifically presented in other maps or guidebooks.  We focus on destinations recommended by Hong Kong-based creatives. The guide-map has six district maps on one side (Tsim Sha Tsui & Jordan, Sheung Wan & Central, Mong Kok & Yau Ma Tei, Wan Chai, Sham Shui Po & Shek Kip Mei, Causeway Bay & Tai Hang). The other side features a big map of Hong Kong and this year’s theme is about the city’s coffee culture.

W+: This is the 2nd edition of the map, so what did you guys do differently from the first edition? Was there a new focus? Anything that worked and didn’t work from the first time?

LW: Overall the maps are quite similar, though we made adjustments to improve the usability and durability of the map. We included descriptions for each of the locations and changed the quality of the paper, for example.

For the first edition, we surveyed people from across the creative industries and for this edition we worked with “district curators” in each of the six districts for their recommendations. We worked with Shanghai Street Studios, Daydream Nation, SCAD and others. It’s not necessarily better this time, it’s just a different approach to the same concept and one that we intend to continue exploring.

DH: The theme for the back of the map this time is about coffee and creativity. We believe the rise of cafe culture is a sign that there’s a demand for more creativity in the city. In the first edition, we looked at elements of intangible culture and we will probably have a different theme for the next edition.

Also new this time are the four limited edition sleeves we commissioned from Hong Kong resident artists. There are five different sleeves to collect, including our own. Our guest artists for this edition were Graphic Airlines, Don Mak, Emily Eldridge and Emilie Sarnel.

W+: How is Creative City different from other Guide Maps out there?

DH: The concept behind this map-guide is to show Hong Kong from the perspective of the creative community but at the same time, it’s not meant to be prescriptive - we want to encourage people to explore and experience Hong Kong in their own way. It is about introducing people to the sources of inspiration and creativity that our contributors have found in the city.

W+: Danielle and Louise, what was each of your roles towards putting together this map?

LW: Danielle oversees the design of Creative City, while I take care of the content. We work closely on every aspect from concept to production, deciding on who to speak to, what information to include and how to present it, whether it be through the design or “voice”. For example, the idea for six districts came out because of feedback we got from our collaborators from the first edition. The coffee theme evolved from an idea from the first edition where we considered focusing on the concept of  “third places” in Hong Kong but at the time, it wasn’t as diverse as it is now.

W+: Are you both originally from Hong Kong? Did you go anywhere else to study your craft etc?

DH: I’m born and raised in Hong Kong to an English father and a Chinese mother. Before founding Whitespace, I was living in New York City where I attended Parsons School of Design to study communication design. During my 9 years in New York, I worked in a number of different studios and agencies— assisting photographers and art directors, creating websites, designing book and magazines, doing freelance illustration and making jewelry. I took a year off to travel and take a much-needed break before settling back in Hong Kong.

LW: I was born in Hong Kong, raised and educated in Australia. In 1997, I returned to Hong Kong to be a journalist. The best place to learn any craft is when you’re doing it. In my case, it was out in the field. I’ve filed stories from around the world including New York, Paris, Taipei, Bangkok and Beijing, where authorities detained me once for doing my job. I was also sent to the Pakistani-Afghan border after 9/11 and to the remotest parts of China. I eventually did a Masters of Journalism at HKU and that was when I developed a focus on arts, culture, design and creativity.  Now I work on projects at the intersection of the creative industries and contemporary culture, with Lancashire Road.

W+: Tell us what you are most excited about from Hong Kong in the next 5 years?

LW: There’s so much to look forward to here! Art is a huge focus now, be it at a commercial level via the art fair or the numerous blue-chip galleries now in Hong Kong. How all of this transfers, engages and develops with local art will be interesting. We’re excited about new venues such as WKCD (West Kowloon Cultural District), CPS (Central Police Station for the Contemporary Arts), and even PMQ (Police Married Quarters Design Hub) to some degree.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of programming will be developed for these locations, as M+ has already begun to do. Those are the big ticket items but there are so many smaller, exciting projects that are also happening in Hong Kong. These are interesting because this is where the true creative energy thrives - the more these initiatives survive, the better it is for the city’s creativity.

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Some images from MANA!… the menu. You have to try all these flat bread wraps…

I had “SPRING”, made of Avocado, Tomato, Garlicnaise (Garlic Mayonnaise) and Mint in Organic Wholemeal. Very Delicious.

For drinks I played it safe with the Homemade Lemonade made of fresh lemons, organic maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. (Next time I’ll try the Inka Shake with Banana, Figs, Bonsoy, Tahini, Honey & Cinammon… which sounds like a meal in itself.)

What’s up at Mana!?

It’s Good To Be Here. (Also check out my new eco-bag from Envirosax. Love the print!)

Louise’s Herschel Shopper. #JJStyle

Green Bottles…

I like the straws… conceptually.

Hummus from MANA!

You can also buy Vinegar and Spirulina here… as well as some bath and beauty products.

Outdoor seating area… (If only it wasn’t raining so much that day!)

Part-Owner of MANA!, Christian G Mongendre.

After lunch, we went to check out another Creative City highlight… MOUSTACHE where I had my first collaborative interview with Brew&Post Photographer, Carmen Chan. I was stopping by to do some some shopping and to pick up some Bespoke Jeans from friends, Alex and Ellis. Louise and Cheryl came with!

Business as per usual… Ellis helping out a customer. (Taken from my Instagram @theWanderlister)

Louise and Cheryl looking at the MOUSTACHE’S leather travel collaboration with Stiibu.

MOUSTACHE has their own guide book too. Very different from Creative City… this one more like a “zine” format with pictures and text focused on an assortment of hidden treasures all around Hong Kong.

Undergear and Summer Shirts.

Fancy a robe?

Knick Knacks.

My purchase from MOUSTACHE that day. Summer shirt, a loofa, and a their Hong Kong book.

Meanwhile… speaking of Moustache and theWanderlister… check out what my friend, Jau, spotted while walking around in Singapore!

WANDER WONDER!!!!

I WANDER what this is all about! Check out whats at the end of that arrow! LOL. :) Can someone go and take photos for me???

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+ CREATIVE CITY x theWanderlister+ Asia MAP GIVEAWAY

For the next week, starting tomorrow morning you can win 1 of the 4 Limited Edition Creative City 2nd Edition Maps designed by Graphic Airlines, Don Mak, Emily Eldridge and Emilie Sarnel. All you have to do is:

1) ‘LIKE’ Creative City Facebook Page Here.

2) ‘LIKE’ theWanderlister+ Asia Facebook Page Here.

3) And leave a comment on the Creative City Facebook Page in regards to the status update; “Hong Kong is a Creative City. If you agree, tell us why”.

And that’s it! Two best answers will be chosen by Danielle and Louise, and the other best answers will be picked by Cheryl and me for theWanderlister+ Asia. Winners will be notified by Facebook or Email.

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CREATIVE CITY is now available at Bookazine (Canton House, Ocean Terminal, IFC Mall, Prince’s Building, Shui On), Dymocks (Harbour Centre), Island Shangri-La Hotel, Cosmos Books (Wan Chai), Kapok, Loveramics, and K11 Design Store.  It’s also available online from the Whitespace website and the Creative City FACEBOOK. / http://www.creativecity.hk / Retail Price: 68HKD

Danielle Huthart @ Whitespace / 3rd Floor, Bonham Centre, 79-85 Bonham Strand Sheung Wan, Hong Kong / 2869 9081 / info@whitespace.hk / Whitespace ONLINE

Louise Wong @ Lancashire Road Online

MANA! Fast Slow Food / 92 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong / 28511611 / MANA! Online

Moustache / 31 Aberdeen Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong / 25411955 / Moustache Online

JJ.

#JJStyle: Ellis Kreuger and Alex Daye for Moustache, Photographed by Carmen Chan

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Ellis Kreuger and Alex Daye for Moustache, November 2011. Photographed at the Moustache Shop on 31 Aberdeen Street in Hong Kong by Carmen Chan for HOW I MET YOUR STYLE. Interview by JJ.Acuna for theWanderlister+ Asia

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The gentlemen pair, Alex Daye and Ellis Kreuger, the masterminds behind Hong Kong’s most creative sartorial brand, Moustache, peaked my interest already earlier in the Summer when I was formally introduced to them at XXX by Julie Shah. A few months later, I bumped into them both again, and was told by Ellis that Moustache had just signed an exclusive partnership in Asia with Kurashiki / Betty Smith Jeans from Japan to offer a made-to-order denim line, called BESPOKE DENIM, for men and women at quite a reasonable price point. Personally, I always find shopping for the perfect jeans an eternal journey, so I too was interested in Moustache’s new direction, especially with Betty Smith, which is Japan’s first denim mills/factory/brand, and regarded as one of the best denims in the world.

A personal service.

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Lucky for us, the director of the Betty Smith made-to-order line, Mr. Oshima, was in town mid-October to promote their new collaboration with Moustache, and we were able to grab a nice little interview with Mr. Oshima alongside Alex and Ellis, of which the contents of the interview are published below.

A little friend says “hi”.

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As for our shoot with Moustache, It was a nice crisp November Saturday morning at the store. Carmen and I were invited to go in, take a walk around, had all access to photograph the items, goods, and details, while I was getting fitted for my own pair of BESPOKE DENIM Betty Smith “JJ” Jeans for the Holiday season.

Alex explained the multitude of choices available and that customers can choose either a slim or regular fit, making any alterations to the size necessary, in a wide variety of denim qualities, both selvedge, woven on hundred year old looms, and non-selvedge. After choosing top stitch colors, rivets, buttons, and pocket styles, the order is put into work at Betty Smith’s factory in Okayama, Japan’s “jeans belt.” Orders take approximately 3-4 weeks to complete and start at 2900 HKD.

Choice of washes on offer for BESPOKE DENIM.

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Ellis then took my measurements and made the fitting, and overall it was very relaxed no pressure, and fun experience. Even their lovely pup was a great host for us. After ordering the jeans, they then styled me in two signature Moustache looks, one in corduroy shorts and light sweatshirt, and the second look in a full corduroy suit.

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W+: Hi Alex and Ellis, thanks for sitting down with us and with Mr. Oshima to discuss a new direction for Moustache. But first before we get there, some readers may STILL not know about Moustache. For those who don’t know, Moustache JUST celebrated their 3rd year of operations in Hong Kong, located on NOHO’s Aberdeen Street. To me it seems like a very successful business endeavor for you both, which is providing your take on the ultimate bespoke made-to-fit menswear experience and product. How does it feel to wake up in the morning and say… wow… I’ve succeeded!? And was it easy to get here?

Moustache: Thanks JJ, it’s great to be chatting with you and nice to hear we’ve succeeded too! I suppose that in the sense we’re here still and have some very cool, loyal customers who love what we are doing, we have succeeded, but we are always pushing to reach the next level, so we’re a lot more likely to wake up in the morning and say “WOW there’s a lot to do!” But it feels really great to hear you say it!

We were given full access around their shop. It was lovely. They change their interiors every year. This year it’s about ships and a maritime theme.

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W+: You are now diversifying your offerings in the shop and taking more variety of services, like your collaboration with KURASHIKI BETTY SMITH and KONZEPP. Please expand on this…

M: In a place like Hong Kong, you obviously get a lot of people walking in the shop from faraway places. Even the people that live here tend to spend a lot of A LOT of time in faraway places. People constantly asked if we’re selling MOUSTACHE in any other venues. While of course that’s very flattering, we have been hesitant for a variety of reasons to become a wholesale brand. Our DNA is bespoke tailoring and retail, so when we were approached by KONZEPP and then LANE CRAWFORD, it was a lot more interesting for us to do a collaboration, to make something just for them, than it was to sell them bits of our collection. We like to offer our customers something they can’t get anywhere else and so should any shop worth it’s salt. What we are doing with BETTY SMITH is very much in that spirit: working with a really cool, pioneer Japanese denim brand to offer our customers a completely bespoke pair of jeans handmade by skilled craftsmen in one of the oldest denim factories in Japan. We are the only shop in Hong Kong to offer this, and one of only two in the world outside of Japan.

Interior details on all BESPOKE DENIM.

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W+: Mr. Oshima, welcome to Hong Kong! Please tell us more about your brand KURASHIKI BETTY SMITH. It offers a tailor made to order jeans line for men? Tell us the process for the user. Also what kind of Man is interested in custom-made denim?

Mr. Oshima: : Thank you. I am happy to be back to Hong Kong and to meet you at Moustache. Our order jeans customers are looking for something different from ready made jeans: jeans perfectly fitted not only to their body but also to their style. Customers can come to Moustache to try on a sample pair of jeans in their size in either a slim cut or a regular cut. They can make adjustments to all the measurements: the waist, the hip, the inseam, the hem. Then they choose from hundreds of different denim qualities- from Indigo dyed selvedge denim woven on hundred-year old looms to cashmere and silk blends to patterned denims, colors, washes. Then they choose the topstitch color, the buttons and the rivets, the pocket styles. So you see it really is a bespoke pair of jeans! I think people who want a truly individual product and want to enjoy designing the jeans, people who have trouble finding the pair of jeans that is the perfect fit, people who love Japanese denim, all will be interested in the bespoke denim.

Choices on offer for BESPOKE DENIM. Rivets and Buttons.

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W+: Also KURASHIKI is famous for its denim making history, does everyone offer bespoke jeans in Kurashiki? If so, how is your jean process different?
And can we visit Betty Smith in Kurashiki and see the process for ourselves?

Mr. Oshima: I got a phone call from a customer looking for the perfect jeans for him in 2000 and we made it especially for him. After that, in the year 2003, we started order jeans as our project. So Betty Smith is the first factory starting order jeans in Japan. There might be a few others but not like in our scale, I think.

Luckily Betty Smith is one of the pioneers who started jeans production in Japan and we still have our own factory in the same place as it started in 1962.

Please visit us at Kojima, Kurashiki in Okayama. You can look around Jeans Museum, Jeans workshop, Betty Smith factory and outlet shop.  And do some sightseeing in the beautiful countryside too.

Available stitching for BESPOKE DENIM.

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W+: Mr. Oshima, speaking of custom denim, what made you feel like you should expand to Hong Kong? Also, you’ve partnered up with Moustache as a sole partner here in the City, why Moustache, and does producing for Hong Kong inspire you if it all?

Mr. Oshima: I love Hong Kong and exhibited at Hong Kong Fashion week twice already.  Fortunately we met Ellis and Alex and know Moustache is perfectly matching to Betty Smith order jeans as partner in Hong Kong.  Because we also work with lots of high quality tailor shops in Japan and Timothy Everest in London where we can meet nice quality of customers appreciating individuality.  

A tailor’s touch on BESPOKE MEN.

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W+: Thank you guys for the interview, and one last thing, what does Moustache have in store in the future in Hong Kong and Asia? Give us your thoughts on your role as creatives and designers working in this city.

M: We will keep trying to think of creative ways to expand, projects to keep us both interested ourselves and interesting to our customers.. We are starting to work on a small range of accessories- small leather goods, travel accessories and the like.

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Additionally we’re trying to get a little Moustache online shop up and running for all our overseas fans, and those that might not have the time to make an appearance in person. We’re also really interested in printed matter. We do a Hong Kong Guidebook that people really love, so much so we’ve had a hard time keeping it in stock. It’s extremely personal and not at all exhaustive but for whatever reason it really hits a note with a certain type of traveler.

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It’s so easy to self-publish in Hong Kong it’s almost rude not to! So we’d love to start doing more of it. A little magazine, maybe a print catalogue- the sky really is the limit. It’s such a great time to be working here in Hong Kong, there is so much that’s possible here, while not  impossible other places but certainly a lot harder, that it seems silly to limit ourselves in any way. We’re always surprised that there’s not more going on here- the streets should be lined with independent designer boutiques, there should be stacks of zines: we’d love to inspire other people to take that chance. We moved here 5 ½ years ago and in that time Hong Kong has gotten so much more interesting; I can’t wait to see what it’s like in another 5!

W+: And we’ll be here documenting it. I’m sure about that! Thanks so much all for this interview. I cannot wait to get my first pair of Kurashiki Betty Smith Bespoke Jeans from Moustache!

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I love the lining in all their jackets. That touch of design makes all the difference.

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Our signature Moustache looks, styled by both Ellis and Alex.

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Additionally this Saturday, December 1st, Moustache is taking part in the SOHO SHOP WALK. Get tickets and make sure to stop by and say hello and have a drink with these fine gentlemen, and see for yourself the bespoke difference at Moustache.

WEAR www.moustachehongkong.com

JJ.