I haven’t really written much about the PMQ 元創方 (aka Police Married Quarters), since the building opened its doors to the public during Art Basel Hong Kong this past May. You can read about the building’s history at the Discover Hong Kong website, but in short the building that stands is the remnant structure that was the site of the Hollywood Road Police Married Quarters, the first dormitory for Chinese rank and file police officers and their family members… an attractive staff benefit to recruit new police officers. These days the building, which originally housed 140 single rooms and 28 double rooms, is now a heritage site as well as a designers hub / shopping mall for independent labels and shops from Hong Kong and importers based in Hong Kong.
Anyway, i’ve only written about the PMQ in context of other stories, like when I wrote about Isono/Vasco, Aberdeen Street Social, and Kapok. The reason why I haven’t really focused on PMQ itself is because I’m doing a wait-and-see approach on this project, or at least until the building/mall can stand on both feet with full tenant occupancy. I think 6 months into it, PMQ is definitely not bad. There were some hiccups (ie. 1600 Pandas filling the plaza, which was just horrid) but everything else is alright actually. In the end of the day, the city of Hong Kong, is better to have a “design-focused-hub” than not. Even though some designers who i’m personal friends with can’t afford a unit here, in a way they still partner with some other tenants to allow their goods to be sold here. And I don’t know about the selection process for an “X” amount of units, but I do believe that some curation and rent-price level is needed or else the there would be a wider and more random range of tenancies here than what already exists right now. (For example, some tenant spaces are fully and glamorously designed and fitted out, while the tenant adjacent would basically have an empty non-designed storehouse for product. All over the place.)
A good thing I just witnessed this Sunday, however, is a new initiative dubbed Design Market @ PMQ, an opportunity for those designers who can’t afford an actual space here, to be showcased at the PMQ’s public plaza on a Sunday. More than just a handful of designers touting womenswear and menswear are on display here with their pop-up booth and it’s excellent. There are some good finds I want to highlight… mainly the new accessories brand, North & Sparrow designed by a Brit graphic designer, named Andy Clarke, who lives in Hong Kong. We will be interviewing him soon. I believe he just showed up recently at The Hub HK and BluePrint Singapore.
Another cool thing I saw was this old school Heritage high-end menswear bag label, called Leon Flam. Not many people know about it just yet, but it’s distribution is mostly in France.
I really like the helmet bags.
Noted it’s not a Hong Kong-based independent brand. But without the PMQ, importers would have to rely on big department stores like Lane Crawford or Harvey Nichols to get some visible representation here. And I think the non-Lane Crawford route is a good win for consumers who are looking for more variety.
The Hong Kong based gift box company, Babaobox, was also here at the PMQ. Theirs is a curated gift box with real design and art products by actual art and design practitioners based in Hong Kong. For example if you get Babaobox Edition 1, you get original work and products from Michael Leung and Wilton Ip / Artonomos. Edition 2, titled “Obsessions”, gets you original art (a rug with rabbit poo and piss print) by highly celebrated artist, Adrian Wong and his wife, a textile seamstress, Samantha Reid. The box itself can be made into a sculptural object using tools provided by its designers, architects Marisa Yiu and Eric Shuldenfrei of ESKYIU.
Not a bad gift for yourself or for someone else for 999HKD! I mean… Original Art and Design, people! A collectible!
After the PMQ we headed up next door to say hi to my friend, Chef Mai Chow, at her SUPER FAMOUS and SUPER DELICIOUS bao stand, Little Bao.
She and her partner, Samantha Wong, from Little Square Street, were hosting a full on event for VANS (the shoes), with a block party, and a limited day-only menu which consisted of a 3-blend Angus Beef Bao Burger, Mirin Caramel Fires with sprinkles of furikake, and a delicious PBJ Ice Cream Bao (with Szechuan Strawberry Sauce.)
I mean…like what else can I say? Nothing. It’s sublime food.
Met up with amazing friends, Thierry, the feng shui master (who found a fry with a letter “J” on it.)
And this fashion family, Thierry, an expectant mom Ingrid, and Charlotte, a blog stylista plus app developer of the super successful SPOTTLY app (which will be debuting in two weeks for Android, yay.)
To finish the day, a few of us went to PMQ’s Aberdeen Street Social for a sunset sundowner, namely to drink a spicy Whisky based cocktail. Delicious. (That’s an Adrian Wong piece in the back… the barber parlor lights.)
PMQ, and surrounding businesses… lots to offer for those looking for style and design from independent business owners with a cup of coffee a good bao in Hong Kong.
VISIT Design Market @ PMQ . Corner of Aberdeen Street and Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong / CARRY North & Sparrow / CARRY Leon Flam / GIFT Babaobox / EAT Little Bao . 66 Staunton Street, Central, Hong Kong . T:+852-21940202 . No Reservation / DRINK Aberdeen Street Social . PMQ, GF, JPC, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong . T:+852-28660300
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.
+ ELEMENTS OF A SUIT // Sham Shui Po District
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.
However, for those who are brave enough to venture…
Will find plenty of very cool items to choose from.
So many shops line the streets for your sourcing needs.
With tons of fabric options for all your different suits.
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.
+ BEST OF THE SPECS // Woo Ping Optical Co. in North Point
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.
As it stands, frozen in time. Thank goodness.
Retro is now back in. You got the memo?
Which Japanese frames did I get? Guess.
The other half of Woo Ping Optical who refuses to get his photo taken.
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.
+ SUIT WITH THE RIGHT CUT // Moustache in SOHO
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.
Really excited to ‘design’ this summer wool jacket with Ellis and Alex.
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.
+ IF THE SHOE FITS // Shoe Artistry in Mongkok
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.
Colors and styles on offer make everything “on trend”.
Loving this shoe wall.
All the shoe forms for each client on the long shelf.
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.
+ OLD FASHIONED BAR // Tai Lung Fung in Wanchai
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.
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