July 2013

— July 31, 2013 —

go bright with superga

Whenever summer rolls around, we can't help but want to wear lots of colour! Neons, in particular, are a summer staple around the Electric sekki office--the bright up anything as basic as a classic white tee and denim cut-offs, taking it to a whole new level of chic. So we were really excited to see Superga's new range of bright neon classic 2750's, just-in at their flagship HarbourCity store. And what's even cuter is that the styles also come in baby sizes so that mommy and baby can match on a day out at the beach! The bright neon collection comes in neon pink, bright green and fluorescent yellow. Which colour is your favourite?

The Superga bright neon collection is available at the Superga HarbourCity store:
Shop 2607, Level 2, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, Kowloon

— July 30, 2013 —

so much love for sass & bide

sass & bide has been getting a whole lot of love recently from Electric sekki's celebrity friends--and who can blame them, the collection is absolutely stunning! We weren't surprised to see popular pop singers such as Hong Kong's Charlene Choi at the launch of her new album and Taiwan's Jolin Tsai at a concert of hers in Taipei choosing to wear sass & bide for these important occasions. We were also excited to see Chinese megastar Zhou Xun wearing sweet but edgy black-and-white sass & bide dress for a media appearance and Hong Kong model-turned-actress Karena Ng in a broderie anglais sass & bide top. We think all four women look absolutely spectacular. It's hard for us to pick a favourite! Who do you think wore sass & bide best?

Zhou Xun <周迅>, Chinese actress and megastar.

Charlene Choi <蔡卓妍>, Hong Kong singer and half of pop-duo, Twins.

Jolin Tsai <蔡依林>, Taiwanese singer.

Karena Ng <吳千語>, Hong Kong model and actress.

— July 29, 2013 —

meet the judges: kevin carrigan

As the Global Creative Director of ck Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein Jeans and Calvin Klein, Kevin Carrigan oversees the unified seasonal design aesthetic, direction and product design, including fabrics and colour palettes, for the multiple categories for which he is responsible. Mr. Carrigan collaborates with Calvin Klein Retail, and men’s wholesale arm of Calvin Klein, to ensure consistency of the design direction, and also consults with licensees on Calvin Klein underwear. He joined the group in 1998 initially as Design Director of cK womenswear. He honed his skills as a designer at MaxMara in Italy as well as Nicole Farhi in London. The multitalented Mr. Carrigan also designed costumes for the film Death Becomes Her and the play Body Without a Head, as well as the uniforms for Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s famed Perry Street restaurant in New York City.

Calvin Klein Global Creative Director, Kevin Carrigan.
As a designer, what does the International Woolmark Prize mean to you?
This is a fantastic opportunity for any designer to participate in a globally-focused project based on Australian wool and Merino. It has a rich history; there’s been so many designers that have been part of the competition and worked with wool. At the same time, it’s a challenge because wool is a fabric we all wear, yet we need to constantly re-invent it. We need to push forward with new, young eyes to make a fabric that is relevant to consumers today, versus what it was when Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent did it. Or when Missoni did it in the Seventies. Or when I did a project with MaxMara and the International Wool Secretariat, as The Woolmark Company was called then, when I was at the Royal College of Art. So, it’s an amazing opportunity to work with noble fibres, yet it’s a challenge, too.

What makes wool an interesting fabric to work with?
Funnily enough, I’ve personally been working on wool-denim development. Denim has had a huge effect on our industry over the last 30 years, and it’s really taken over every aspect of our lives in the last eight to 10 years. For a guy, you can go to a black tie event, put on a tuxedo, but you can still wear jeans. So, the idea of putting denim and denim weaves into wool to become a part of men’s or women’s tailoring is very interesting.

There are many things you can do with wool as a fibre and I think that’s why it’s held its esteem. You can: boil it, felt it, embroider it, knit it lightweight, have heavy weights of it, bond it, put it next to leather, bond it to leather. You can horsehair it, use it in couture, then bring it down to denim. It has a real accessibility. At the moment, I think there’s a trend away from futuristic fabrics back to the natural, the sensual, something that has a little bit more integrity and honesty.

ck Calvin Klein's Fall 2013 ad campaign, overseen by Kevin Carrigan.

What have been your impressions of emerging talent from Asia?
It’s been really interesting to be a part of this and to see the regional designers from Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and China. I’ve been coming to China for 20 years, it’s one of Calvin Klein ’s number one markets, and we have offices here.

When the judging panel looked at the candidates, it wasn’t just about their success regionally. The question was, “Can they make it globally?” Like a Calvin, a Donna, and a Ralph of their day. Like a Marc Jacobs, a Michael Kors, and the new generation of Altuzarra, Jason Wu, Alex Wang. These young designers want to be on the international platform, like Rei Kawakubo did in the Eighties or Yohji Yamamoto - strong designers that have a voice. Some of the candidates we saw already have successful businesses within the region. The question is where can they go next? Can they sell and be recognised internationally, represent the region and Woolmark, and do it successfully? I think everyone wants that to happen. All of us around the world sell so much fashion in Asia, we need to also support the growing talent here to then sell around the world, too.

Calvin Klein Global Creative Director, Kevin Carrigan.

How important is the IWP to emerging designers and to the fashion industry in general?
I think they’re very important. You get feedback from your peers, which I don’t think you’d normally get. I was talking to Angelica Cheung about going forward with the regional prize for Asia. I don’t want to just say, “You’re the winner.” It shouldn’t be about just the prize giving. What’s next for them? How we can teach them and help them grow? I don’t think they have a lot of people they can talk to. Now, they can call me or send me an email. That’s what’s great about the BFC and the CFDA. Calvin never had that when he was launching. That infrastructure is really important. We need youth, talent, new houses to break through, fresh eyes that are relevant and useful.

See more from the Woolmark Prize here.

— July 26, 2013 —

meet the judges: bartley ingram

As the head of art and visual for luxury retail emporium, JOYCE, Bartley Ingram oversees the creative direction for all of their stores stores, as well as their two art galleries (in Paris and Beijing), from its Hong Kong headquarters, regularly collaborating with artists, photographers and designers to create one-of-a-kind exhibitions and displays. Mr. Ingram arrived in New York in 1992 to work for Barneys New York; it was there that he met Mrs. Joyce Ma, who convinced him to move to Hong Kong to work for JOYCE in 2001. He has also lived in London from 2002 to 2005, working for De Beers LV on the opening of their flagship store on Bond Street. He moved back to Hong Kong to work with Lane Crawford for the opening of their flagship store in ifc, before returning to JOYCE in 2008. With this vast experience in both fashion retail and gallery curation, Bartley Ingram was a natural choice to be a part of this year's Woolmark Prize Asia judging panel.

Each judge on the panel has unique industry experience. What perspective did you bring to the competition?
Some of the judges are more on the design side, some are more on the production side, some are more on the editorial side, but I’m looking at it from the perspective of a retail environment. The designers are Asian and JOYCE is based in Asia, but the stores have an international perspective. We look at it from a point of view of, “Would a girl in New York wear that? Would a girl in Paris wear that?”

So how did you answer those questions after seeing the collections presented for the IWP?
I think a Hong Kong girl would wear almost anything we saw because it’s such a metropolitan, cosmopolitan city and people adopt to fashion trends very quickly here. Many presented modern, new ideas. The ways they worked with wool were incredible: everything from knits to laser cuts to felting to hand-painting on wool. I appreciate the fact that they all took this challenge to work with a material that they might not normally use, and I think that they all pulled it off. They all came up with innovative ways that were still true to their aesthetic. We asked a few of the contestants, “Would this be part of your normal collection?” They immediately said, "Yes."

As a judge, what do you look for in a potential winner?
I look for something I haven’t seen, and I saw a lot of that. I learned about the way each designer thinks. All the contestants had to do a mood board and then a final collection. Sometimes, the two didn’t match, but what was interesting was that they all had completely different points of view. It was exciting, but it made it more difficult to judge. In general, I looked for simplicity, elegance, modernity, use of the material that I had not seen before.

What opportunities do the International Woolmark Prize and similar fashion awards around the world create for young designers?
The financial reward means that they can experiment and do more new things, but what’s really great about this prize is that it comes with a certain cache and makes it easier for them to go into the market. The emerging talent we saw are already established as designers, doing collections andselling in a few stores. They already show in Paris and in Tokyo, but it’s much easier when a buyer comes to the showroom and the designer has a sign that distinguishes them as the Woolmark Prize winner. It gives you prestige and puts you on a different trajectory.

We think of Paris, Milan, London and New York as the centres of fashion. What part does Asia now play in the industry?
It’s very interesting to me that all the great talent I saw is Asian. I feel like saying to them, “Where have you been?” I think this is a really good time for anyone in Asia who wants to get into design, because around the world everyone is looking for an Asian brand. I cannot tell you how many times people have asked me to help them find a Chinese designer. They’re out there, it’s just hard to find them, and that’s what makes the prizes like these so valuable.

Are Asian designers in any way different from their counterparts in Europe or the US?

This year, the winner from Asia will go on to compete in the international competition. That proves to me that Asian designers are being taken seriously. I think there is a different aesthetic, especially among the Japanese and South Korean designers we saw. Their work is so methodical, so meticulous, and I couldn’t believe the detail in the construction of the garments, even the inner linings were amazing. The Asian sensibility is so much more thoughtful than anything else’s. You usually see edgy or pretty design, and I didn’t see either, which I was quite happy about. I saw really well-constructed, cutting edge, very modern garments, and that is Asia.
See more from the Woolmark Prize here.

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