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LifestyleArts & Culture

Kevin Poon of Clot: the Woaw factor

Entrepreneur Kevin Poon has donneda curator's cap for his collaboration with Blitz, writes Vivian Chen

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 December, 2012, 3:21pm

Kevin Poon orders a coffee before sitting down for our interview; his tired eyes and unshaven face suggest he's been burning the candle at both ends.

These days, Poon is so busy with several ventures it's little wonder he's been skipping sleep. A co-founder of select shop Clot (along with actor/musician Edison Chen Koon-hei), he has also expanded to marketing in recent years. His label, District, acts as a marketing and distribution house, bringing lifestyle brands such as The Herschel Supply Co, Rivieras and Native Shoes to Hong Kong.

Now he's putting on a curator's hat, too, for a collaboration between his conceptual fashion label, Woaw!, and Lane Crawford's Blitz - a space showcasing different creative units every few months.

Poon has stocked the retail space with all varieties of lifestyle goods to his liking - think rare whiskies, Beats earphones and Bearbricks figurines. His good friends, model-turned-patisserie-owner Amanda Strang and Lindsay Jang of popular yakitori restaurant Yardbird, have created limited-edition cookies and sake for the project, featuring packaging illustrated by another friend, Prodip of 24Herbs.

"How do I do all these things? Good business partners really help," he says. "You just have to be focused on one thing at a time. And sleep less, I guess."

Today, Poon is recognised as a style influencer, but when Clot was launched in 2003 his creative power was overshadowed by his buddy and business partner, Chen.

Since then, Poon has been expanding his fashion territory. "When we first started, peopledidn't really know that we were designing clothes as well, under the label Clot," says Poon. "And lots of people here prefer overseas brands instead of those made in Hong Kong."

It was through collaborations that the little-known brand grew its image. Clot has worked with a long line-up of established brands, including G-Shock, Kitsune and Kazuki Kuraishi of Adidas.

"People are definitely getting more and more sophisticated and open about streetwear style," Poon says. "These days, pop-ups and collaborations have become the norm, and we see the high fashion brands like Givenchy, Lanvin and Christian Louboutin doing high-top sneakers and those streetwear staples that we like."

Looking back, Poon believes the friends he made along the way have pushed his business forward, despite having to constantly face new sets of problems.

"The challenge now is to keep innovative and do something new every time," he says. "I don't really think about what other people are doing. I don't divide people into competitors and allies - everyone converges into one. That's kind of the philosophy we have - coming together and making stuff happen."

The next step, Poon says, will be realising Clot's worldwide distribution, to add to its presence in Colette in Paris and select shops in New York and Los Angeles.

"I'm just keeping busy, really," he says. "Most of the time I'm thinking how I can pass the day, and make everything work. The next day is another challenge. I have a lot of question marks in my head, too."

But one thing Poon is sure about is that Hong Kong is still a good place for his headquarters.

"As far as the global economy goes, Hong Kong and mainland China are still going strong, compared to Japan," he says. "So far it's been working for us. And in the past year or so, we see a lot more international creative sensations in town. They would have preferred Tokyo in the old days but now they are putting Hong Kong on the map. How exciting is that?"

vivian.chen@scmp.com

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