Fashion in Hong Kong and China

Hong Kong fashion designer opens her first genderless boutique at creative hub PMQ

Modement’s Aries Sin has always been fascinated how people identify with menswear or womenswear, but prefers to blur the lines as she brings genderless dressing to Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 November, 2017, 1:18pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 November, 2017, 7:07pm

When Aries Sin, designer of Hong Kong-based label Modement, launched her ready-to-wear collection in 2013, she knew she was in for a challenge.

“Genderless dressing was a completely new concept at the time. After the first season, buyers were unsupportive and told me that a market for my creations didn’t exist. I didn’t agree and just stuck to it,” she says.

As a student at the Hong Kong Design Institute, Sin was always attracted to the idea of a gender-neutral brand. Despite this, she followed in the footsteps of her peers and created a tailored evening wear line when she graduated in 2008.

For the next few years she developed a small but successful business outfitting celebrities and tai-tais, while experimenting with smaller capsule collections. Three years later she entered the Hong Kong Young Designer Contest and decided to go back to her original vision.

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“I was always very curious why people choose to identify with womenswear or menswear. I also noticed that the wealthier people became, the more they wanted the freedom to create their own identity rather than being dictated to by society. A big part of this is the freedom to choose their own clothing. It didn’t matter what sex the item was designed for, as long as they liked it,” she says.

After her spring-summer 2014 catwalk debut, Sin began forming a solid identity for Modement. She kept the silhouettes simple and uncomplicated – she uses oval and H shapes for their ability to flatter both men and women – and instead turned her eye to fabrics, many of which she designs and develops exclusively in Hong Kong.

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Highlights have included a special glow-in-the-dark material that reveals its special pattern when the lights are out. For spring-summer 2018, she was inspired by the creation of Eve from Adam and has used mainly natural fibres such as silk organza accented with cotton strips, linen and summer wool. One fabric features black lace as the base and is decorated with woven white cotton ribbons to mimic skeletons.

“Fashion has become too fast and too commercial. We have to go back to the very beginning and ask why we want to create beautiful clothes. To me, handicraft and materials will be our future,” she says.

What also makes Modement unique is its point of view on genderless dressing. While other unisex lines are dominated by boxy, futuristic shapes, Sin using details such as fastenings and buttons so the wearer can adjust the silhouette of the item and therefore the whole look.

“Unisex doesn’t mean you need to hide your shape. When you put on my clothes they conform to your silhouette. For example, a top can have a drop shoulder on a woman but on a man it becomes a larger armhole. It’s easily adjustable,” she says.

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While Sin targeted overseas distributors initially, she has gained momentum in Hong Kong through projects with the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and the boutique Joyce. And although she continues to participate in various fashion weeks and trade shows, she decided it was time to set her sights closer to home.

This month sees her launch Modement’s first boutique at Hong Kong’s PMQ, featuring her entire collection, which can also be made to order (prices range between HK$1,500 and HK$8,000 and pieces take three to four weeks to complete). Interestingly, her customer base has also grown considerably, and is split evenly among men and women.

“Our market is really Asia focused now. People here have become so confident with their fashion choices. Perhaps it’s due to influences such as K-Pop but people are more open to dress differently, especially the men,” she says.