Johanna Ho is one of the city’s most prominent sustainable fashion designers. Known for upcycling garments and using eco-friendly materials, she’s also been on the judging panel for the EcoChic Design Awards (an international sustainable fashion design competition) since its launch in 2011.
Walking the line between tradition and modernity, Grace Chen creates East-meets-West dresses for a host of well-known clients including Helen Mirren, Oprah, and Chinese foreign minister spokeswoman Hua Chungying. But Chen is not just a fashion designer—she is a couturier. We sit down with Chen to talk true luxury and her design inspirations in today’s saturated world of fashion.
Sylvie Ganter, the driving creative force behind the brand (Photo courtesy of Atelier Cologne)
Sylvie Ganter often likens the story of how she and her husband Christophe Cervasel co-founded cologne brand Atelier Cologne together to that of a love story. When they first met in 2006 in New York, both were creating perfumes—he for designers and she for a cosmetic brand.
“Christophe and I have only worn ‘cologne’ type of scents our entire life,” she says, but she felt something was missing. “I found myself in permanent search of a cologne that would have different personalities and that would last on the skin.”
Well, there goes another year. How did that happen?
As I sit here typing up this blog post (as I haven’t done in quite some time, despite repeated resolutions to “blog more”), I am struck with the fierce passing of time. I used to hear people say that life just speeds up faster and faster: from high school, then university, where four years can just pass by in the blink of an eye. And now that I’ve entered this uncertain, ambiguous, shifting stage of “career”-dom, time just slips by and no small part of this uncertainty comes from having to figure out what I’m to do with this time that I’ve got. (Side note: should we refer to time as a possession, or an outside context? I exist in this time, but I also have the time… a query for Doctor Strange, perhaps.)
A little while ago, I was contacted by Stay.com to create a guide for local lifestyle in Hong Kong. Granted, I’ve been here for over a year now, I think I’ve earned some semblance of the label “local”. I think I’ve mentioned this on the blog before, but I’ve always found myself in the somewhat unique position of being caught in the middle between local and expat. A Canadian in Hong Kong, with a Chinese face, the ability to speak the language (more or less), and a mix of Asian and Western sensibilities. I’ve never felt the importance of culture so keenly in Canada; I guess it takes a certain ‘leaving’ to do so.
Anyway, philosophizing about personal cultural identity aside, let’s get back to the guide. While I’ve said before in my last post, that I am admittedly somewhat of a hermit, I still have found occasion to go out and explore. Of course, there are city guides about Hong Kong aplenty–just a simple Google search will turn up results about eating, living, seeing, going, and what have you. What sets my guide apart, of course, is quite simple. It’s just that these are the places I’ve deemed worthy enough to actually get ready, leave my apartment, and brave public transportation as well as walking in the blistering sunlight for. (I’m kidding, I’m making myself sound like much more of a shut-in than I actually am, LOL.)