Four leading players known for their sense of style and business acumen go on the record on the world of fashion Kevin Lee, Publisher, editor-in-chief and creative director of WestEast Magazine Founded in 2001, the style rag WestEast Magazine has gained an international readership base with its lush fashion spreads and original editorial content. Aiming to combine the seemingly opposite elements of western design and Chinese spirit, Kevin Lee's magazine has carved out a niche of its own in the saturated fashion publishing market. Hailed as one of the 'nine most 'in' magazines on the planet' and one of the '40 best trend magazines in the world', WestEast has become one of Asia's leading fashion publications. The men's magazine, which will be launched this year, will target Asia's fast-growing fashion-conscious male market. A fresh editorial approach will aim to enhance communication between men and women readers. How did you first get involved in fashion? I have been fascinated with fashion since the age of 15, when I was a student at art school. I became a model by accident. My first catwalk show was for Issey Miyake, and it was featured in a fashion magazine and a TV commercial. Who is your all-time favourite designer and why? My favourite designer is different every season. I think every designer is equally talented, but somehow none of them can sustain my excitement every season. The term 'designer' has taken on a new meaning these days. Sometimes he can be like a rock star and give an impressive show and sometimes he can be just a market-friendly person producing wearable, popular fashion. What do you like most about your work? I like my work very much because I am doing something I love. I like everything I am doing right now. It is a dream come true to be able to contribute everything I have learnt in school and in real life to the community. What have been the most most memorable experiences of your career? I could fill a newspaper with these. But I think anyone who has done a magazine knows what I am talking about. There is so much valuable experience to be remembered. My career brings me many opportunities to meet amazing people from around the world. More importantly, I learn from these amazing people every day. How has menswear fashion evolved over the years? The most significant thing about menswear is that it has changed men's perceptions of gender and their attitudes to what fashion, sex appeal and image are. Through photography and runway fashion, men's fashion has also influenced contemporary culture and certain social issues. How would you define originality? In two words: be yourself. It is sad but true that some people never truly act and think as they are. Which means they will never be themselves in their whole lives. I think each person has his own original side, and everyone can be a creative person because everyone is so unique. It might take you a day, a week, a month or even a few years to find your real self. If you find it hard to be original, take references from the creative people. Quite a few people are doing this kind of cross-referencing in the commercial world. But of course you shouldn't tell anyone the source of your 'original' idea. What is the best fashion show you have attended? Every show I have been to has been magnificent. Perhaps I should say the next one. What is your favourite item in your wardrobe? Black shirts. I have many black shirts, each with different details. Best pick from the spring/summer 2005 collection? Can I pick a bag? Hermes has just released a women-cum-men's style bag called Haut a Courroies. It looks like a Birkin bag for women but is much bigger. It is quite expensive, but I would say I must get this dream bag this season. Any future projects coming up? A men's magazine this year, and some new concept magazines soon. I am looking forward to publishing an art book to promote new and young talent. But I can tell you that publishing magazines is only a stepping stone for nurturing more talent. Actually, I have a lifetime dream. I dream of setting up a school of visuals, art and design, teaching western art techniques and eastern cultures in one course. East-meets-west often results in strong end-products. My objective is to refine the aesthetics in China. Roberto Cappelli, Chief executive of Diesel (Asia) It appears that fashion runs thick in the blood of Roberto Cappelli, chief executive (Asia) of denim and streetwear label Diesel. Born in Croatia, Cappelli moved to Italy, where he got a Master of Business Administration from Padova University. Shortly after graduating, he joined the Italian textile giant Marzotto Spa, and later worked for the Max Mara Group and Hugo Boss Women. He joined Diesel as global sales director in Molvena, Italy, in 2001, and in 2003 was appointed chief executive (Asia). He oversees more than 35 retail boutiques spanning six countries and expansion plans in the region. What prompted your interest in fashion? Watching my grandmother knitting beautiful sweaters. That was when I started to think about fashion. And this, combined with my MBA, allowed me to pursue a career in fashion. What do you like most about your work? The people I work with, and the responsibilities. What has been the most memorable experience in your career? Having built up one company from scratch with a team of wonderful people. And also my experiences in Hong Kong. What will be the biggest challenge? My biggest challenge would be the unique opportunity to develop Diesel in China. We will launch it there this year. How has streetwear fashion evolved over the years? It has become a major part of our urban lifestyle. How would you define your sense of style? Casual chic with a touch of irony. Who are your favourite designers? Giorgio Armani and Tom Ford. I admire them for their incredible vision. What is your favourite item in your wardrobe? My first pair of Diesel jeans. What do you do to unwind? I dream about new challenges while I'm jogging. Dennis Chan and Guillaume Brochard Chairman and chief executive of Qeelin The flashes from the media's cameras heightened the sparkle of Wulu when the jewellery collection debuted. From the house of Qeelin, brainchild of chairman Dennis Chan and chief executive Guillaume Brochard, the Wulu line brilliantly embodies Chinese culture and a contemporary western spirit. With its chaste but sophisticated designs and cosmic concepts, the collection is the talk of the haute jewellery scene. How did you first get involved in the design industry? GB: I learned about watchmaking, branding and product design when I joined the Swiss watch manufacturer Tag Heuer . I spent hours thinking about watch design and sharing my thoughts with colleagues. DC: I studied design at Polytechnic University in the early 1980s and won a scholarship to work with a famous design consultant in Britain. When I returned to Hong Kong, I joined the company set up by Ken Shimasaki. He was the guru of design at the time. Together, we created many international brand-name products. In 1989, I set up my own company. Since 1992, we have been creating our own brand collections of lifestyle products. These are exported to more than 50 countries and sold through leading museum stores worldwide. What prompted the launch of Qeelin? GB: China is the only leading country with no representative jeweller to express its values. There is Tiffany's in the United States, Cartier in France, Bulgari in Italy and Mikimoto in Japan. But nothing to represent China. Qeelin is about the friendship between two men who have known each other for almost a decade and who wanted to venture into business together. DC: Qeelin has been in my imagination for the past 10 years. More importantly, I was searching for a way to explore the rich cultural heritage of China and present something precious to the world that the country can be proud of. What does Qeelin mean? DC: Qeelin is a mythical Chinese animal, a hybrid creature that is not quite a deer, a fish or a unicorn. It is legendary for its gentle, caring nature and it symbolises peace and harmony. It is also part of my Chinese name - Chan Shui Lun. What is the design ethos of your label? DC: Simplicity and modernity. Superior materials and craftsmanship. And a contemporary expression of Chinese culture, from a universal perspective. What do you most like about your work? GB: Getting to know people in a variety of fields with a wide scope of personalities. And creating, sharing and building a brand. DC: Bringing happiness and satisfaction to people through my work. What will your upcoming collections look like? DC: Our next collection is called Tien Di, which evokes heaven and earth and everlasting love. In Chinese, these concepts are usually represented by a circle and a square. The design forms a harmonious union between the two geometric elements, and the result is an exquisite, sculptural object. The pieces, to be made from jade and diamonds, will be launched in Paris this month. What's been the most memorable experience of your career? GB: The launch of Qeelin. DC: The launch of Qeelin - the result of 10 years of research and design. It's been an unforgettable journey. Who's your favourite designer of all time? GB: Coco Chanel. She created a leading label with a distinctive sense of style that's timeless. It has been fashionable for decades. A rare achievement. DC: Giorgio Armani. His design is contemporary and timeless. It is ultra-subtle but does make a statement in its branding and design. How would you define your sense of style? GB: Rather classic. I aim for a kind of understated elegance. DC: Simple. I am very conscious of detail. I don't like complicated designs, ones that look contrived. Your favourite item in your closet? GB: Shoes and watches. DC: Mechanical watches. I've been collecting them for years. It's a passion of mine.