Designer a caped green crusader

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 June, 2012, 12:00am


It's stylish and wouldn't look out of place on a catwalk - and it's made of recycled plastic bottles.

The raincape, designed by Polytechnic University student Kerry Chong Chui-yi, is the result of a competition held by Heroes2, a social enterprise founded by retired business executive Raymond Yap.

The group is planning to market Chong's 'green' cape, which won a design competition for eco-friendly lifestyle products.

Heroes2 also hopes to build the city's first sustainable bus shelter, using solar panels, recycled materials and a device that will measure pollution from passing vehicles.

Yap retired from his career in electronics manufacturing in the late 1980s and moved to Vancouver. In 2003 he survived a battle with skin cancer and felt compelled to come out of retirement. He decided to found Heroes2 'to do something for my grandchildren. I couldn't leave it to other people'.

He said the design competitions were about raising awareness of sustainability in a way that involved the next generation.

The rain cape, expected to be on sale by October, is made from a polyester fabric sourced from Taiwan that is made from plastic bottles.

'Eco-fashion is becoming more popular,' Chong said. 'In Europe and the US, people are more selective about what they buy.'

A design competition for the bus shelter will open in September with at least five universities involved.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club has also flagged its support.

Yap said he hoped the competition would be a multi-disciplinary project, with architecture, environmental engineering, environmental manufacturing and visual arts faculties getting involved.

They had been discussing with bus companies the best place to put such a shelter, with a high-traffic area being an ideal location.

Benjamin Yiu Chin-pang, assistant professor of architecture at HKU Space, said it hoped to involve students in the competition as it would make them more aware about sustainability and conservation.

Yap said one of the long-term objectives of Heroes2 was to form a green leadership academy.

It would following a model similar to the one used by the Scouts, whereby young people were taught skills such as team-building, confidence and leadership.

Heroes2 also works with the Guangdong Forestry Department on a reforestation project along the Dongjiang, or East River, in Jiangxi province, which feeds into Hong Kong's water supply.

It has planted more than 11,000 trees over the past two years.