Fashion in Hong Kong and China

Wear the same clothes from morning yoga to evening cocktails – new concept in active wear from London fashion label

Convertible sleeves, retractable hoods, detachable peplums – Phvlo, dreamed up by fashion designer and Pilates fanatic Johanna Ho is athleisure gear designed for style and function, and to save time changing outfits

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 January, 2018, 12:47pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 January, 2018, 4:34pm

Have you ever thought about how your life could benefit from an extra hour each day? Thanks to the versatility of new lifestyle performance fashion label Phvlo, you could soon be saving valuable time.

“Phvlo is about creating pieces that save you time, so you can enjoy a slower pace of living. That way you have that extra hour a day to devote to yourself. It’s not just about enhancing your wardrobe, but also your lifestyle,” says founder Johanna Ho.

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Phvlo may be the next generation of active wear. The new line offers adaptable, yet stylish designs that are produced using the best performance fabrics available.

While designing performance wear may seem like a change of direction for a high-profile fashion designer best known for her quirky knits and celebrity clientele, Ho says the idea evolved naturally.

“I’ve been in this business for so long and have achieved so many of my dreams. It came to a point where I was looking at how I could give back to [the] community and society. As a Pilates fanatic myself, I knew the market was missing something that worked beyond athleisure. It took us 18 months from conception to launch,” she says.

One of the biggest challenges for Ho was sourcing sustainable materials that looked fashionable while meeting practical needs. Her research led her to discover innovations such as Minotech, a Japanese fabric which is made using a special weaving technique that creates water resistance (an effect usually achieved by adding toxic chemical coatings) and a 3M Thinsulate featherless fabric, described as a more humane alternative to traditional goose down.

These were then worked into a main line which features 10 styles (one which is unisex) that seamlessly transition from morning yoga to cocktails at night thanks to clever yet functional details. The Meta jacket, for example – which is one of Ho’s favourites and named after the metamorphosis of butterflies – comes with a retractable hood and an extra pair of convertible couture sleeves for a bold look.

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Sweatshirts and leggings have detachable peplums that double as bum bags, while other pieces can be rolled up into pouches when you’re not using them.

Perfect for Hong Kong’s rainy season is a white rainproof coat with hidden interior straps so you can wear it hands-free, a detachable zip hem to adjust the length, and a hidden “backpack” pocket to store the detached piece and your Octopus card. Most styles also feature adjustable or removable hems for easy wearing.

Because so much work has gone into developing the brand and product, Phvlo is designed to be seasonless. Rather than do all the design herself, Ho is also intent on building a community of collaborators who share a similar vision.

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In addition to the main line, she has launched five exclusive padded jacket styles for Lane Crawford and will unveil a capsule collection designed by students at Central Saint Martins College (Ho’s alma mater) in London, also at Lane Crawford, on January 19.

“I often go back as a mentor and lecturer, so I really understand the pain many graduates experience once they leave for a real job. I wanted to help them learn, so we gave the MA students a brief and asked them to present a design concept for a capsule collection for Phvlo,” she explains.

“We chose the winners and brought them to Hong Kong to visit the factories for production and to present the collection to retailers. The best way to help students is to give them real-life experiences.”

Next on the cards for Phvlo is a collection of couture travel and rain gear, but beyond that Ho has bigger goals, including the launch of a Phvlo charitable foundation which will eventually offer educational scholarships for fashion students and schools.

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“We want to continue educating, supporting and nurturing young people through the foundation. I would love to approach different schools around the world from China to the US, to find students we can collaborate with. The whole idea is to create a bridge from country to country, and people to people. It’s all about the community,” Ho says.

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Phvlo is available exclusively at Lane Crawford in Hong Kong.