I re­ally need to chan­nelmy in­ner fash­ion god­dess”

Hong Kong Tatler - - Features -

of brightly coloured fab­ric with Chi­nese mo­tifs. “Fash­ion, for me, is a great way to ex­press my phi­los­o­phy about life, as peo­ple are far more will­ing to ex­per­i­ment with a funky jacket than a neon sofa. But it’s al­ways chal­leng­ing to know what will be flat­ter­ing on a body. I re­ally need to chan­nel my in­ner fash­ion god­dess,” he says with a good­na­tured laugh.

Although most of his col­lec­tions fo­cus on wom­enswear, late last year Young teamed up with Earth­pulse chair­man and mar­tial arts ex­pert Hing Chao to cre­ate Modo Boon, a cloth­ing line in­spired by Chi­nese mar­tial arts cul­ture. “Ten years ago I bought a pair of kung fu-style trousers from G.O.D. and I wore them ev­ery day un­til the seams came apart,” says Chao. “That’s the type of cloth­ing we’re try­ing to cre­ate to­gether—func­tional, com­fort­able, stylish and in sync with our her­itage. Dou­glas is great to work with be­cause he man­ages to in­ject hu­mour into ev­ery­thing. I ad­mire his bound­less en­thu­si­asm for tra­di­tional Hong Kong cul­ture.”

As well as his new­found in­ter­est in fash­ion, Young has also been putting his cre­ative tal­ent to use in Hong Kong’s boom­ing restau­rant scene. He ini­tially worked as a con­sul­tant for the cheek­ily named Can­tonese eatery Ho Lee Fook and then de­cided to launch So­hofama, an or­ganic Chi­nese restau­rant lo­cated in the court­yard be­hind his PMQbased G.O.D. store. “I’ve ap­plied the same con­cepts to food as I have to fash­ion and de­sign,” says Young. “The Can­tonese culi­nary tra­di­tion is re­ally rich, but cur­rently there’s a void as most of the lo­cal restau­rants in Hong Kong are staid and lack­ing in in­no­va­tion. So I de­cided to cre­ate an ir­rev­er­ent, mod­ern en­vi­ron­ment with fun cock­tails, live mu­sic and or­ganic Can­tonese cooking at the heart of it.”

Iron­i­cally, given Young’s fight to change our at­ti­tude to­wards lo­cal pro­duce, cer­tain peo­ple have ques­tioned hav­ing to pay West­ern prices for tra­di­tional Can­tonese dishes, but de­spite this de­bate, both venues have be­come roar­ing suc­cesses, and Young’s old friend and fel­low restau­ra­teur Alan Lo is one of his big­gest fans.

“So­hofama is great,” Lo says. “It’s the per­fect con­cept to go with G.o.d.—it’s mod­ern and new, yet it em­braces lo­cal agri­cul­ture and cul­ture. Dou­glas’ cel­e­bra­tion of Hong Kong cul­ture isn’t ironic or cyn­i­cal, but comes from a very au­then­tic place and a gen­uine love for the city. He’s ded­i­cated his life to help­ing de­fine who we are and I ap­plaud him for that.”

But even worka­holics need a break from time to time. For Young, that in­volves trav­el­ling to France and in­dulging in his favourite ac­tiv­ity: off-piste ski­ing. When he’s in Hong Kong, he gets his speed fix be­hind the wheel of one of his many vin­tage cars, which he takes for a spin around the city ev­ery Sun­day with his driv­ing club. Th­ese in­clude a 1959 Alfa Romeo SZ Coupe, which he bought as a stu­dent in the UK, and a 1975 Rolls-royce Sil­ver Wraith Sa­loon. “Driv­ing and ski­ing are my two ob­ses­sions, which of­ten sur­prises peo­ple as I’m such a cre­ative soul,” says Young with a wry smile. “I guess what links them is the idea of be­ing chal­lenged, con­nected with na­ture, and us­ing my hands and my legs to pro­pel my­self through the world. As you’ve prob­a­bly re­alised, I’m quite a hands-on guy.”

When he’s not in­dulging his ap­petite for speed in his spare time, Young can ei­ther be found in his stu­dio paint­ing or sketch­ing, or at home with his busi­ness and life part­ner, Benjamin Lau. “We need each other, as he brings me down to earth and I make him dream,” says Young. “I have to ful­fil my cre­ative urges and I’m not very good at bud­gets, and he’s the op­po­site. How­ever, we both share a vi­sion for the fu­ture of this city. We’re of a gen­er­a­tion that’s go­ing to see Hong Kong flower into this amaz­ing cul­tural place, and I’m so ex­cited to watch it hap­pen.”

Jacket by Mai­son Margiela; T-shirt by G.O.D.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.