[Mingpao Daily News] Aries Sin (冼美玉) is an independent, Hong Kong-based fashion designer. Although small in stature, she speaks powerfully about life and fashion. Weaving her ideas into her designs, she lets fashion speak for her.
1. How do you see yourself?
I consider myself a relatively neutral person, neither particularly feminine or masculine. I quite like it, and I think it helps me a lot in the fashion process, as my work doesn’t necessarily have to come from a feminine perspective. Whether as a person or a designer, I want to be able to jump outside the box.
2. How do you view fashion trends?
I think it holds up a mirror to real life. For example, the growing popularity of street fashion is a way to express people’s desires to escape the conventional and forge their own identities. I think it shows that a lot of young people nowadays want to speak for themselves.
3. What’s your most memorable design so far?
When I participated in the Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers’ Contest (YDC) in 2013, I submitted a collection entitled ‘Shadow Movement’, inspired by the dappled shadows cast by tree branches. At the time, I found it difficult to transform such abstract imagery, into fashion that you could see and interact with. After a lot of trial and error, we used embroidery to create the shape of leaves and branches. When the model would walk, the three-dimensional leaves would sway naturally, though the tree shadow would remain still. This way, we were able to express an abstract idea dynamically. It’s something I’m really proud of.
4. How do you find confidence?
I tend to find confidence through failure. While studying, I participated in many fashion design competition. When I won awards, I would be incredibly happy because my work was able to touch people’s hearts. However, I found that successes like this weren’t quite as memorable as what I learned from failure. I feel as though you truly find your place in the world when others turn you away. In failure, you are alone. Through that, you discover your own beliefs and convictions, and ultimately your confidence.
5. Toughest period in your career?
Probably the third to fifth year after I started my own brand. In the fashion industry, there’s a lot of support for newcomers and fledgeling designers. But after the honeymoon period is over, one must discover their own strength to succeed. Navigating the gap between ‘young designer’ and ‘professional’ felt very much like crossing a wide river. You had to feel for the stones underwater, and navigate difficulties you can’t foresee. But I got there eventually.
6. Person you admire the most?
Elon Musk. He’s a dreamer with the courage to do what others don’t, like setting up SpaceX to reduce the cost of space travel. Although people may think its not profitable business, I admire his conviction and his ability to pursue what he believes in, to turn ideas into actions. It’s amazing.
7. How would you describe your style of dress?
I like loose-fitting clothing in monotone colours, it helps me feel relaxed and to balance the stress of daily life.
8. The best part of your day?
Work, because I love what I do every day. The best thing about fashion design is that everything is flexible, including the time and place you work at. Sometimes, I go to the factory in the morning to check out the samples, then to the office for administrative work in the afternoon. Or maybe I’ll go to the shop in the morning instead and interact with guests, then shop around for new materials in the afternoon. There are also days where I like to work from home, because sometimes you need a comfortable environment to concentrate. It’s all very enjoyable.
9. What is beauty to you?
Confidence is beauty.
10. What do you think we over-value?
Social media. I think we have a tendency to measure success digitally – we’re continuously counting the likes, the clicks, the hits on the content we put out. But I think that to distill the value of something into numbers is a form of measurement that’s far from comprehensive. Digitization, I feel, is completely overstated.