Tricks up Hock’s sleeve

> This Lon­don-based de­signer is de­fy­ing norms with un­con­ven­tional sil­hou­ettes made mag­i­cal by cus­tomi­sa­tion tech­niques

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FASHION -

Hence, his de­signs have long de­parted from “cel­e­brat­ing” (aka trap­ping) the fe­male form, in ex­change for “ease of wear” and “breath­ing space”. How­ever, the cus­tomi­sa­tion tech­niques he de­vel­oped in his for­ma­tive years as a de­signer re­main cen­tral to his name­sake.

Tell us about the theme be­hind your SS17 col­lec­tion. How did you ap­proach it dif­fer­ently from be­fore? I al­ways look at my pre­vi­ous col­lec­tions and fur­ther de­velop ideas from there. I don’t usu­ally have a theme per se, as I like my ref­er­ences to be re­mote. Hav­ing said that, there is al­ways a gen­eral mood that I try to achieve with each col­lec­tion. With SS17, there is definitely a nod to fem­i­nism and girl power. And I’ll let you fig­ure out the rest.

The tran­si­tion from ac­count­ing to fash­ion is rather un­usual. Did you en­joy ac­count­ing? Do you think it has helped your cur­rent ca­reer in any way? I did. I was quite hy­per in school and ac­count­ing was the only thing that could keep me calm and fo­cused. I was an au­di­tor for about a year be­fore I moved to Lon­don. From there, a good few more years be­fore I de­cided to do fash­ion. So, it wasn’t a 180° flip and I’m not sure how much it has helped me in fash­ion – it’s hard to be ob­jec­tive on some­thing very sub­jec­tive.

How re­cep­tive do you think Malaysians are to­wards uni­sex/gen­der-neu­tral cloth­ing? I don’t com­pletely see my clothes as uni­sex but more of mas­cu­line wom­enswear and ef­fem­i­nate menswear. I think peo­ple, es­pe­cially the younger gen­er­a­tion, are aware of gen­der-neu­tral cloth­ing. The chal­lenge is to con­vince them that this new sil­hou­ette is at­trac­tive and mod­ern.

What makes a good uni­sex de­sign, then? It has to be ef­fort­less, ver­sa­tile and dif­fer­ent.

Where do you go to seek in­spi­ra­tion? Have you ever gone on a de­lib­er­ate at­tempt in search of it? Peo­ple on the street – what they wear – in­spire me, es­pe­cially the elderly and those who are com­pletely unaware of how amaz­ing they look.

In­spi­ra­tion comes nat­u­rally from your ex­pe­ri­ences and your state of mind, so for me it is not some­thing that can be forced. You are ei­ther in­spired or you are not. So if I’m re­ally at a loss, wan­der­ing the streets like a lost soul usu­ally helps.

With the in­cor­po­ra­tion of organic cot­ton as well as un­wanted or left­over ma­te­ri­als such as sal­vaged leather in your ap­par­els, would you say en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity is an in­tended ethos of your brand? If so, are there plans to ex­pand in this di­rec­tion? Yes, it is an in­tended ethos of the brand but it’s not some­thing I would shout about. Fash­ion in gen­eral is not a very en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able in­dus­try, so un­less James Hock be­comes a fully organic or sus­tain­able com­pany,

How has Lon­don been treat­ing James Hock? Any plans to run the brand back here in KL? I en­joy be­ing in Lon­don. It’s a great city and it gives me a great sense of free­dom. You can more or less do what you want to do and say what you want to say. And I like the in­de­pen­dence that it gives me. So at the mo­ment, there isn’t any plans to run the la­bel from KL.

Aww, al­right then. Be­sides, where can Malaysians buy your clothes? Se­lected pieces will soon be avail­able in The Lab, Desa Sri Har­ta­mas. Best hair­cut in town.

He sees po­ten­tial in up­com­ing Malaysian de­signer Moto Guo. “He’s just do­ing his own thing and I ap­pre­ci­ate that.”

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