Harrison Wong: Five Speed

We’re coming up on the halfway mark for the year. This is a time for us all to reflect on those dreaded New Years resolution failures. One thing I like to do is set six month goals, and breakdown my progress every six months instead of once a year. How can we do better the second half of the year, or should we try again next January? One of my repeated shortcomings is to start doing home improvement projects, and in the process I somehow ended up destroying my drawer and nightstand. Long story. Others like fashion designer, Harrison Wong, have used the last year a bit more productively and conquered some challenges. The biggest one being crossing over from womenswear to menswear, and that’s not all Wong has set out to do and accomplished along the way.

hwo2The Hong Kong native Wong’s designs come under two different labels. The first is his self-titled line, which is geared towards the high-end audience. While the second, Son of a King, is an urban wear design. This year as with every other year, Wong has set out to increase his visibility and stay relevant. At this stage in Wong’s career, it’s not about being all over the place and in every show, but about being involved in the right ones.

Wong finished strong last year having participated in the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week out in Tokyo. There was a bit of a challenge for Wong this time around, as he commented on the website for the International Woolmark Prize. The International Woolmark Prize is an award given to womenswear designers for their ability to provide a different look for the future using wool. “For this competition, I created clothing using just one type of thread with the theme of ‘protective equipment of Asia.'” He continued, “We were only allowed to produce one style, so I thought that it would be effective to limit myself to just one material while conveying a texture and technique that made it not feel that way.”

hwo3

Wong is a specialist in creating fresh new looks with his designs. He described his styles as elegant, contemporary edgy. He typically mixes and matches different materials and textures to give his clothes the desired “interesting” look. Another way Wong’s able to set himself apart from the competition is the quality of the materials he uses. He says he gets his materials from Europe and Japan, ensuring that consumers get the best possible quality for their money.

Paying attention to consumers’ needs as well as the wants is extremely important in any business. Especially when you’re talking about the infinite changes in the fashion market. He tells fashion and style blog, My Fashion Stage, “They want something a little different from the usual mainstream fashion, but may not be able to afford the super expensive international brands.” Wong having dual lines is something that we see fairly often, but helps to tackle dual markets as well. He continued, “I want to fill the market gap, the niche for them is to be able to buy something of high quality but not at extreme prices.”

hwo4

Wong has been around the fashion world for quite a while. He studied fashion in Hong Kong and also in England at the London College of Fashion where he earned his Masters. Shortly after, he began his career as an assistant for fellow designer, Walter Ma. Just recently he made the decision to cross over to menswear, after spending nearly a decade working with womenswear. He also said in the interview with My Fashion Stage, “Women’s clothing has a huge market, you can do many different kinds of styles but at the same time, it’s very competitive.” He made the transition to men’s clothing, and hit the ground running.

Wong’s brand and notoriety are continuing to rise. He’s done quite well for himself after learning the ropes, and studying the market. What’s next for Harrison Wong, you say? Growing his international marketability. After studying the market to devise a plan yet again, he explained to My Fashion Stage that he plans to, “start joining more tradeshows overseas, in Europe and worldwide to find more international buyers. In order to find international buyers you have to go to them, not many buyers come to Hong Kong looking for fashion brands.” With the success that he’s already had, you can almost expect that his plan should work out for him.

– Blake Holmes