The talent: Simone Rocha
London-based 27-year-old designer Simone Rocha (below) talks about the people and places that inspire her and how her family are an integral part of what she does.
You have a special relationship with Hong Kong - what links you to the city? "My dad was born in Hong Kong, so half my family are here - my granny and grandad and seven aunties and uncles. I grew up in Ireland but I'm half Irish, half Chinese so this is like my second home."
Your father, John Rocha, is a famous designer - do you feel his name has been a help or a hindrance? "For me, growing up, it felt like it was just a part of our lives. I grew up in the studio, working away when I was a kid and then a teenager, so it was a huge help to be in that environment. It felt normal to be in a pattern room, or learning to sow or knit, or doing fashion shows. But like anybody who goes into an industry that their family is in, the expectation level … [My dad] always said it's all about the work and the work will speak for itself."
What are the key elements of Simone Rocha? "I want it to feel fresh and exciting, but I also want people to relate to the femininity in it. Things that are really important to me are contrasts, whether it's fabrication or silhouettes. It's really about taking those elements and coming to this kind of femininity, but [one that is] modern and has a sort of strength to it."
What inspired your current collection? "I came to Hong Kong last year - I was visiting my granny - and I started thinking about her and looking at old photos of her and her style. [The collection is] actually a little ode to her, my Chinese granny, and my Irish granny as well. So [my autumn-winter range] was a mash-up and called Respect Your Elders. My Chinese granny was very feminine, a real lady, very neat. My Irish granny is a real tomboy, so it was about taking the masculinity and the femininity and pushing that forward."
You're part of a buzzing London fashion scene - why is London so hot right now? "There's so much creativity [and] variety. It's got great support, great sponsorship programmes. [For example], the British Fashion Council supports young talent, plus the education is brilliant - that's why I went to London."