Chan King-hei, Calvin & Kun Tsz-yan, Joyce
J: Could you tell us the story behind your label, The World Is Your Oyster?
C: Establishing our own label was such an alien concept when we were pursuing our studies, as it seemed so far-fetched and unrealistic. But shortly after our graduation, we were invited to sell our works at the pop-up, Joyce Talent Shop, an initiative that provides a platform for aspiring local fashion designers to launch their careers. After the initial success, which saw most of our clothes sold within the three-month sales period, we decided to officially start our own brand.
K: Besides, rather than having to work and contribute our creativity to an employer, why not express our uniqueness under our own brand?
J: The origin of the brand’s name, its vision and style are…
K: “The World Is Your Oyster” stemmed from the same phrase coined by William Shakespeare from The Merry Wives of Windsor. It means that we are in the position to take all that life has to offer. Opportunities in the world are like oysters – the pearls are yours to take if you just keep on looking for them. The World Is Your Oyster is as much our life project as it is our motto. Hopefully, the brand will bring together customers that share the same values.
C: The World Is Your Oyster is primarily a menswear label. There have been subtle adjustments on the brand’s style over the years, but our nature remains the same. It has always been grounded in meeting the needs of daily lives, with designs that are simple yet rich in character and details.
J: Which areas do you each specialise in? How do you collaborate?
C: We play equal roles in the designing process and often discuss with each other. I noticed that male and female tend to have different perspectives towards menswear. I lean towards practicality, whereas she often comes up with unconventional ideas that enhance the general aesthetics of the design. We strike a good balance between pragmatism and creativity.
With just the two of us running the brand, there are many things that we need to handle. As I am more experienced in the fashion business, I take care of production and communication with the manufacturers. Meanwhile, she focuses on social media marketing and sales.
| New Wave
J: What are your pursuits in fashion design? Any particular elements or materials you particularly like to use?
K: We are always trying new things, looking for breakthroughs and fostering collaborations with new partners. For design, we like to mix and match different kinds of fabrics, creating interesting combinations of materials, patterns and colours. We find inspiration in everyday life, and from objects around us and the films we have seen.
J: What is the concept behind your Autumn/Winter 2021 collection?
C: The theme for the next season is “Castle Peak Heights”, and home as the main subject. In the past year, we have spent more time at home due to the pandemic, and started to notice things around the house that were previously neglected, for example the patches on the sofa hand-sewn by my mother, patterns of the ceramic tiles and the peeling wallpaper. We have integrated these subtle nuances and details found at home into our design.
We decided to have our promotional photoshoot at Hong Kong Dragon Garden in Sham Tseng, because it not only matches our theme, but is also a Grade II historic building with fascinating East-meets-West architectural features. From the settings to our models, we tried to create a sense of family.
J: Your favourite collection/design is…
K: We seldom include dangling accessories in our previous designs. This time, however, we experimented more with different accessories to tab into a sense of home. I especially like the buttons with ceramic tile patterns.
C: In last year’s Autumn/Winter collection “Destroy to Create”, we created floral patterns by employing bleach printing to “destroy” the surface layer of the fabric. We also stripped part of the cashmere to expose the underlying patterns. I am quite happy with the result.
| Destroy to Create
J: Could you share any memorable experience from participating in local and overseas fashion shows or exhibitions?
C: Our first fashion show in Shanghai had been the most memorable. As newbies to the city, we did not have connections there, but had to produce the whole show – from venue set-up to finding models. With no expectations whatsoever, we tried to recruit helpers online and over 10 strangers showed up on the day to offer us help. It was quite a touching experience.
Taste of Unknown | Paris Fashion Week
Taste of Unknown | Paris Fashion Week
J: Did the pandemic cause any impact or changes to the fashion industry?
C: Before the pandemic, fashion collections were usually launched at physical venues like a runway show. Now, everything goes online. This year’s Paris Fashion Week, for example, blasts promotional videos of different brands through its online platform. On the other hand, we are also changing how we conduct our sales. In the past, we relied on collaborations and consignments with retailers. We now pay attention to direct sales as well, establishing direct contact with customers.
K: In recent years, we started operating our online store. Although the sales volume is smaller than retail distribution, we have direct access to market information, including demographics of our customers, their preferences and feedbacks. This is considerably helpful for developing the brand.