— November 13, 2013 —
Electric sekki had the pleasure of sitting down with local fashion boutique Liger's co-founders, Hilary Tsui and Dorothy Hui while Henry Holland was in town to launch the Mr Quiffy for House of Holland capsule collection exclusively at Ligerin Hong Kong. Though we've worked with them closely for several years now in a professional capacity, we've never had the pleasure of sitting down for a proper interview until now--and what a huge pleasure it was! Hilary's and Dorothy's love of fashion and style is contagious. They're fun-loving girls who don't take themselves too seriously. Their character and personality made for a delightful interview and is abundantly visible in their store, which is why we're certain that they will continue to have immense success in the region!
Liger's co-founders, Dorothy Hui and Hilarty Tsui.
Electric sekki: First of all, can you tell me how you think House of Holland fits in with the Ligersensibility?
Dorothy Hui: I think he has a great sense of humour and that he is very colourful. Before we opened this flagship [street-level] store, we had a little store on the 2/F [on Pak Sha Road] and even at that time we carried Henry [Holland]. Before, his collection was a little bit more funky and maybe more "British"; now, I think he has grown up a bit with his collections and he has become more feminine and elegant in his designs.
DH: Yes, the stones, the embellishment.
ES: Can you describe the Ligerpersonality?
HT: We love fun.
DH: We change all the time!
HT: We like new things. We are people who just want to explore new things.
DH: I guess we are changing; like Henry, we are growing up too! We are now more feminine and more classic. We are picking classic things, too.
HT: Yes, we also like edgy stuff but in the meantime we also appreciate, more and more, timeless pieces and maybe more comfortable things.
ES: So, just like Henry Holland has changed, you have changed, too?
ES: What has the experience been like to work with Henry Holland this time in Hong Kong with this special Mr. Quiffy capsule collection?
HT: He is very easy to work with. I think Hong Kong likes Henry a lot and Henry also makes an effort to communicate with this market. We are so happy to work with him on this collaboration and I think we are one of the stores that can really represent his style.
ES: His personality and your personality are very complementary.
DH: Similar! You know what, he has the same birthday as me!
HT: Same birthday!
DH: Exactly the same day. We are gemini.
HT:So he is also crazy! Different personalities. Sometimes quiet, sometimes can go very crazy!
The Ligergirls know how to have fun and don't take themselves too seriously!
ES: How long have you been working with House of Holland now?
DH: Since when? The collection with the denim with the stars.
HT: We were still at [the store on] Pak Sha Road.
DH: Probably S/S '12? No, '11! S/S '11.
ES: So it's been around two years that you've worked together. And Ligerhas been open for how long now?
DH: Four years.
ES: What has the process been like for you for those four years, to now have a store on street-level in Causeway Bay--you started on the 2/F, then you opened a store in Tsim Sha Tsui, now this--how has that process been for you?
DH: It's so busy now, because we need to buy more brands; we now have 160.
DH: Yes, because we wrote it down! Since we opened.
HT: Let me check.
DH: At least 100.
HT: Too many! That's probably not healthy!
ES: How do you choose who gets to be a part of the Ligerstore; the brands? Do you both have to like it?
HT: It doesn't really have to be that we both like it. That's how we work together. Of course there are some things we like at the same time. That's how partnership works!
ES: Do you think that you have similar styles?
DH: We always choose the same things!
DH: When we go to the same shop during different times, we always end up picking the same thing! We have similar wardrobes.
HT: But now we avoid it. We have to pick, even if they are the same shoes, maybe we get them in a different colour, a different print.
DH: We wish we have the same shoe size! Then we could share.
HT: Yes! So we can share shoes when we are on buying trips, so we don't have to bring so many pairs of shoes. Two bags for shoes!
ES: Actually, even today, your colour schemes are very similar. Was this planned?
DH: This is all me!
HT: She picked this out for me. She went to Electric sekki to pick for me and then she picked her own outfit, too. She dressed me.
DH: I guess it will help for photographs, no?
ES: So why did you choose these pieces to wear today, Dorothy?
DH: I always pick the most gorgeous piece for her!
HT: Thank you.
ES: So this [piece on Hilary] is your favourite piece from the collection?
DH: Yes, I love it.
HT: And I think it suits me! She knows I like pink so much.
DH: For my pick, I just match with her! But of course something different.
ES: What's your working relationship like? You were friends first, right, before you became business partners? So how does that work for you?
DH: Well, we were not the very best friends.
HT: We were not seeing each other so much.
DH: And how did the idea come to start Liger?
HT: Before, Dorothy had her own small shop on Cleveland Street. That's where I shopped.
DH: I bought from London; I sold vintage and mixed it with contemporary pieces. I guess I was the first one to 'bring' Topshop to Hong Kong.
HT: And a little bit of H&M toobefore they opened their stores!
DH: It was very popular and the shop was doing well. At the time, I got closer to her.
HT: Because I shopped there a lot and I also hung out there and we'd chat. All my friends and fashion sisters also liked to go up there and chat with her. After how many years did you close?
DH: Three years.
HT: Yes, three years. She closed and I was a bit bored with taking care of my daughter every day, I felt like a "tai tai", gossiping, and I just felt so bored. I knew I loved fashion and I really wanted to do something with it, but I can't really go to work to be a buyer or a stylist, so we thought to open a shop together. I trust her taste, her judgement and everything. So I invited her to open a store.
ES: What's that relationship like now? Are you [Dorothy] more involved in the day-to-day business while you [Hilary] are not as involved? You always go on buying trips together, though.
HT: We do all the buying together. Of course, I cannot be in the office every day because sometimes I need to go to work - I mean, part of my job is going to some fashion shows and events and things - and Dorothy is the one staying at the office. We work on all the buying together.
DH: But she comes to office, as well.
HT: We have different roles in the company. Maybe I am more involved in marketing.
DH: The image.
HT: Yes, the image of the store and in design of our own production. We work on different things.
ES: And how do you see Ligergrowing in the future?
HT: We are actually doing our own fashion label, it's called Oh My God! It's our baby. We hope that one day we can have Oh My God! selling outside of Hong Kong...
DH: Yes, wholesaling.
HT:... and maybe we can open a shop for Oh My God! too and keep Liger going at the same time.
ES: So how did you find the name Liger?
DH: Oh! From Discovery Channel!
HT: We were already planning to open the store and we didn't have an idea of the name. One night, I was watching TV with a friend and they were talking about the lion and tiger animal mixed together, called the liger.
ES: It exists?
DH: Yes! The offspring of a male lion and female tiger.
HT: Looks like a lion, actually. No stripes really.
DH: It's a light-gray colour.
ES: So you liked this animal or you liked the idea of it?
DH: The idea.
HT: Because we're both born in the year of the tiger and in one of our horoscopes, in our moon sign, we are a leo. So 'liger' was perfect for us!
ES: What is it that you like about the Mr. Quiffy collection?
HT: I think it's easy to wear and we are also the exclusive store carrying this collection in Hong Kong. They chose to work with us.
ES: And which are your favourite pieces from the Mr. Quiffy collection?
HT: We have different picks. I like this one, the dress.
DH: I like the Mr Quiffy [tee].
ES: Okay, Hilary, why do you like this dress?
HT: I'm just lazy! I always want to wear a one-piece. So, for me, that's the one.
DH: And for me, a T-shirt is also very easy to wear; it can go with everything, actually. I would wear it with white pants and I wore it yesterday with silver shorts and a blazer--I've actually worn it many times already!
ES: And from the Fall/Winter 2013 collection, is your favourite piece the one that you're wearing, Hilary?
DH: And I like the skirt [in runwaylook 29]. The silhouette! I would wear it with the Mr. Quiffy T-shirt!
Dorothy and Hilary with their favourite picks from the Mr Quiffy for House of Holland capsule collection, available exclusively at Liger.
Visit Liger at G/F, 55 Paterson Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.