Cathay Pacific inflight shopping magazine Discover the Shop supports local Hong Kong designers. This month we talk to Vincci Ching, the designer behind Heritage ReFashioned, about preserving heritage through turning forgotten fashion into modern accessories.
How did you get started?
I started making clutches from up-cycled vintage Japanese kimono fabrics and they were well-received by customers around the world. This made me think about the different kinds of heritage fabrics that I would culturally identify with as a Hong Kong person. The beautiful hand embroidered Chinese kwan kwa from my own wedding immediately came to mind.
What makes these fabrics so special?
The kwan kwa fabrics that I use are from no longer wearable, end-of- use, rental pieces that I source from traditional Chinese wedding stores. Many of these pieces have been sitting in storage for years; my job is to hunt them down and put them back into our wardrobes. Although these pieces are no longer rentable or wearable, the intricate embroideries are still stunning.
Where do you find inspiration?
A story carried through the test of time is beauty that never fades. My inspirations are from everywhere, from reading history books, visiting museums, and chatting with others and hearing their stories.
Why is upcycling so important?
We have limited resources on our planet and there’s no denying that fashion, being one of the largest industries, has created a lot of waste. Through upcycling, not only we are preserving traditional craftsmanship and heritage, but we are also writing our cultural identity and value with the designs created within a modern context.
Tell us more about these fabrics.
There’s much more to the patterns aside from the magnificent dragons and phoenixes embroidered onto kwan kwa textiles! My personal favourites are the little bats and the lovely pomegranates often featured on less prominent spots. Embroidered bats are often featured flying among silvery clouds; they depict a blessing for good fortune. In Chinese, the bat【蝠鼠】is a homophone for good fortune【福】. As for the pomegranates, they are fruits that represent fertility and abundance, for their many seeds. The word seed 【籽】 is a homophone for 【子】, the word for son. It’s truly amazing to “read” the stories off these heritage fabrics through appreciating the patterns.