Hong Kong fashion label launches pop-up with edgy French street style
We Don’t Feed The Pigeons by Mahka looks to fill a niche for streetwear aimed at women buyers
Hong Kong urban lifestyle label Mahka is somewhat of a creative melting pot. Founded by French-born Maguelone Calmels, the label literally weaves the work of artists and designers into its looks, with each collection reflecting the work of a different creative.
“I’m not the designer – I’m better at styling,” says 28-year-old Calmels. “My role is to bring together designers and artists and mix their identities with my style.”
The result is her first collection, We Don’t Feed The Pigeons, for men and women, although with a female focus. “Streetwear doesn’t really target women, so I wanted to offer some.”
Launched last month, WDFTP is a collaboration with her Paris-based street-artist brother Antoine, featuring T-shirts and dresses with strong street, rock and vintage vibes. “The street is where everything happens, where people deal with the everyday. To meet friends, to go to work, to randomly walk, to get lost…”
As for the name, “The idea started when I was in France. There was a riot going on and in front of me, I saw a sign that said ‘Do Not Feed The Pigeons’ which seemed ironic seeing that on the other side of the square there was fighting and cars were burning. That’s how the slogan ‘we don’t feed the pigeons’ was born,” says Calmels, who grew up in Hong Kong and has worked in fashion in France, Shanghai and London.
For extra street cred, Mahka launched with a pop-up at French restaurant La Cantoche off Hollywood Road, where guests were invited to graffiti the walls accompanied by the beats of local spinner DJ Rork.
“La Cantoche has a connection with the street, with graffiti and hip-hop culture, so it was an obvious place to launch.”
Calmels says launching in Hong Kong also made sense. “I grew up in Hong Kong, so I feel confident starting this project here, at home. It’s also a dynamic city with a lot of influences – the mix of urbanism, vertical city living and nature is inspiring.”
She says the process of choosing which artist/designer to work with is easy. “By “coup de coeur” (love at first sight). I also have to have a connection with the artist… it’s important to work with someone with innovative ideas. But it has to be created with heart and soul.”
For future collections, Calmels says she’ll scour the globe for street artists, and ask them: “You? What do you feed?”
But details of who will be featured are under wraps. “Artists from New York, London and Hong Kong … yes, there are some I’d love to work with. But I’ll keep that for later.”
Mahka is available for one month only at La Cantoche, 5 Wa Lane (near 227 Hollywood Road) Sheung Wan, tel 2426 0880