Forget about Armani, Gucci and Klein. Macau is becoming a hotbed of fashion talent, producing a wealth of young designers and start-ups. We profile five of the most fashionable new kids on the block
Taking its name from literal ink and the creative process, I.N.K is also an abbreviation of the names of operations director Inky Leong and creative director Kris Chan. Vvisitors to the brand's new pop-up shop, located at The Promenade Shops at Galaxy Macau, will discover a ready-to-wear line and accessories that are both cutting-edge and culture-crossing.
The brand caters to aesthetes who want to be trendsetters, not followers, encouraging thinking in fashion with new technology, clothing material and 3D draping techniques. The shop will keep popping until January 21, 2018,
Nega C Fashion
Isabella Choi, who left Macau at 15 to study fashion at London’s Kingston University, launched her women’s wear label, NEGA C Fashion in 2010, and has since participated in numerous local fashion shows. Best known for her funky, multi-coloured high-heeled shoes, the designer’s shoes and clothing lines feature a quirky feminine street style, inspired by music, architecture, art—and life.
“The Macau fashion community is inspired by the city’s East meets West heritage, and leans towards bold design-focused styles, rather than safer, fast fashion or mass-market apparel,” says Choi. “My emphasis is on individuality and craftsmanship. People who buy my clothes usually aren’t the type to go for mass-market fashion.”
Nega C Fashion, Alm. Lacerda 131-133 Edi. Va Lung 5 Andar B Macau
+853 28551922, facebook.com/NegaC.Fashion/
Born in Macau, Robert Lai studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before moving to Paris to work in fashion. He returned to Macau in 2003 and founded his obèse.plein brand in 2010, producing fashion known for their dark tones, geometric lines, military influence and unorthodox fabric combinations. Lai describes his collections as “pretty dark” and plays up the military feel. “I’ve always considered clothing as protection, more in a psychological way: to be able to mask or shield one’s identity,” he says. “I’m interested in giving the modern woman a don’t-mess-with-me attitude.”
Lai eschews mass manufacturing, preferring to focus on limited-edition runs. “Even when a product sells out quickly, I don’t do re-orders,” he says. “I try to design a large collection with fewer pieces per design; others do the exact opposite. I think that’s what makes my brand unique in a way. It’s very hard work and not economical, but that is the way I prefer it.”
obèse.plein, Cave 3-D Calcada do Gaio Macau
+853 2852 3294, facebook.com/obese.plein/
Founded by Macau’s Victor Choi and Kade Chou in 2015, Sartor Labs, with its stylish, upscale interior is the city’s answer to Midtown Manhattan. Sartor Lab’s reputation derives from its relaxed yet timely approach to bespoke tailoring. Time and care is taken with every single design, all cut and handmade suits use only the finest textiles from Zegna, Givenchy and Valentino, among others.
Chou comes from a family of Macau tailors and studied at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. His dedication to creating finely tailored suits has made him Macau’s dean of bespoke tailoring. The atelier also makes the process of getting a bespoke suit easier by coming to you, whether at home, or work, with its travelling style consultant and tailor.
Sartor Lab, 78 Avenida do Conselheiro Ferreira de Almeida, Kou Si Tak Garden, Macau
+853 6557 2640, sartorlab.com
Radio DJ, musician and biker Vincent Cheang added a fourth passion to his resume, clothing designer, with the launch of his menswear label Worker Playground in 2013. Named after the old Workers Stadium where he played football as a youth, Cheang’s designs are inspired by sports, the Hell’s Angels, gasoline shirts and vintage Americana.
Cheang is a member of a local motorcycle club, Twin Shocks, and one of the most popular items in his collection is a leather biker jacket. Baseball jackets also feature heavily, complemented by a range of shirts, t-shirts and accessories. Products are manufactured in small numbers in the belief that scarcity can increase the brand’s status. Given the popularity of Cheang’s designs that strategy is working very well indeed.
Worker Playground, Travessa da Fabrica, No 5
+853 2875 7511; workerplayground.mo/
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