Meet the region's leading fashion designers
South Korean designer Kiok Kang has been in the fashion business for 26 years. She studied at the International Fashion Institute in South Korea in the 1970s. She's now pursuing a master's degree in fashion design at Hong-Ik University and will complete her studies next month. In addition to designing her own labels, Kang designs uniforms for several schools in South Korea. Nowadays, she presents her collections at shows all over the world, including Paris, Milan, Hong Kong and Singapore.
When did you launch your label? Kang-mode debuted in 1979. In 1988 I opened my first boutique, and I launched my new lines Kiok by Kiok Kang and Kiok Jeans collections in 2003.
How did you set up your company? I started with a made-to-order business and in 1990 I changed to ready-to-wear. My business did not grow that quickly, but today I have a loyal clientele. I have 35 people working in my company.
How many lines are there? Kiok by Kiok Kang is a luxury line for professional women. The collection mixes woven materials and features comfortable pieces. Kiok Jeans is a premier jeans brand with casual, yet luxurious clothes and trendy designs.
What is the design philosophy?
I never stop creating new ideas and I challenge myself to break away from conventional designs. I accept what is new on the market, but I like to challenge it. What I care about the most is the quality of the finished piece. That's what makes my designs different from others.
Who are your customers?
Women who are in their 30s and love trends. I also cater to celebrities.
What does your current collection look like? I had this vision of a girl in a deep sleep. In her dream she travels through time to the Romantic era. She is surrounded by romantic dresses, bustiers, ribbons and lace ornaments.
Do you design accessories? Yes - hats, belts, shoes and bags.
Are your designs available in Hong Kong? I'm working with Biba Fashion Trading, so my clothes will soon be available in Hong Kong. Right now my collections are available in France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Japan.
How do Korean designers fit into the international fashion scene? Talent and effort are requirements for a designer in Korea. Our traditional colours and design have their own character. That is what attracts the European buyers.
What are your plans for the future? I'm opening two shops in Lotte Department stores [in South Korea] soon. I want to be a world renowned designer. I want to be the best, and I'm giving my all to be the best.
What's your motto?
Never give up.