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
Before I procrastinate even further this month, since i’m (as of today) quite backlogged on so much work in general… I wanted to put everything on hold and take a moment to give a big warm THANK YOU and show my gratitude to the Italian suiting brand, Canali, for reaching out to us all the way here in Asia for a secret project that we’ve been working on together since March 2014 this year... a profile collaboration for their global web portal, Canali.com.
The project, part of Canali’s 200 Steps series of videos and interviews published on L’Edizione, the brand’s editorial platform, aims to interview “male professionals” like myself from all around the world in a monthly series of videos and oral interviews examining each gentleman’s processes and craft. Each of the talent interviewed is dressed by Canali in tailored wear for that season, and is focused less on the 80-year old brand and more on the interviewees, their work, and inspiration.
Each 200 Steps story is created within a day’s shooting, and culminates in a 2-3 minute interview film, a 30-second “Word Association” film, and a full Q+A article explaining the full context behind each gentleman’s work. I was told that brand director, and a third generation Canali, Ms. Elisabetta Canali, picks the interviewees herself for the global website. I, for one, was surprised to have met her myself at the interview shoot here in Hong Kong. She’s quite cool in person, and was very “hands-on”… really overseeing the whole entire process.
For my story, Canali’s team wanted to focus on a designer-blogger’s thinking in relation to curation and the formulation of a story or perspective for the digital space. In order to express what I do and how this translates with tactility on film, their production team imagined a large square white canvas to hang centrally within the space… and throughout the two minute video, that canvas get’s filled with images i’ve taken over the years that have been placed on my various social media outlets thus far.
At first I was unsure, since i’ve only known my work to exist in a certain format online, and certainly not on a “white canvas”, however once i’ve spoken with their London team on the phone, and after they themselves have sent me mood board pegs of example “treatments”, portrait shots, and other reference concepts, I quickly got around to enjoying playing around with how they wanted to frame this whole thing to fit both me, my story, and their format.
Anyway, the rest is history as they say!
Some Behind-The-Scenes Photographs from our shoot….
The “White Canvas” at the start of the evening….
Gradually filling up slowly…
The canvas wasn’t allowed to sway back and forth, so the crew really took great pains to secure it on the set.
Each time a photograph was placed on the canvas, it was captured on film… sometimes two or three times.
The Director, Jon Clements, was really detail oriented as to the composition of the photographs on the canvas…
The production team at London’s Spring Creative, plus the brand team at Canali, picked out the all the photographs from all my social media accounts to be placed on this White Canvas. To be honest, when I started the website and the whole “Wanderlister” thing a few years ago… placing all these images online, there was no way I would have anticipated any of this to come to fruition from the content, that up to this point… i’ve only kept on the Digital Space.
Their team picked out the photographs to cover the five topics on my website; Architecture, Art, Design, Food, and Life/Style.
Taking a step back, seeing it all up there (I put up each of the photographs myself)… it was really something to see.
To step back and have all these things jump out from the computer, and be composed in the physical space like this was really cool, weird, strange, and in a way… a general cosmic affirmation of the whole thing that I do. Very interesting how it takes a collaboration with a big global brand, to really force one to assess and define their work. I definitely did some soul searching by doing this interview with Canali. Most of what I said was off-the-cuff, which surprised even myself. It’s like “A-ha”, so that’s what being an Architect by day, and a blogger by night in Asia is all about. It’s even news to me.
So for that, I thank Elisabetta Canali, the whole Canali House in Milan, and the guys Spring Creative in London for such a great opportunity. I really learned about myself though all of this as well.
Other 200 Steps profiles include the brand’s new Creative Consultant, fashion designer, Andrea Pompilo…
Design duo, Barber and Osgerby…
Stage actor, Tony Stephens…
And Typographical artist, Job Wouters.
WEAR Canali . Wheelock House, Shop C, Ground Floor, 20 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong . T: +852 2918 1745