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Fashion designer

Designer Patrick Lam talks about his mod-inspired vision

Patrick Lam, finalist of the Redress Design Award 2022, presents his recent collection inspired by the 60s and talks about the challenges he faces as a sustainable designer.

This year Straighten Design Awards brought together a new avant-garde of up-and-coming designers. Still shrouded in uncertainty of the lingering aftermath of the pandemic, these bright young people from Hong Kong’s bustling fashion scene are looking outward through their designs to find solace in nature. This is especially true for the collection of Redress 2022 finalist Patrick Lam, a designer who is committed to putting sustainable ideals at the heart of his brand. Leveraging upcycling and rebuilding techniques as well as salvaged materials, he creates his take on 60s British Mod subculture through his range of suits, parkas and oversized coats.

What inspires your creations?

My inspiration for this collection comes from the Mod subculture, a group of young people who did not follow the traditional mentalities and lifestyles of the 1960s. Mods were determined to break the existing rules and norms of fashion , trends and lifestyle. I believe sustainable design could make people think about fashion waste. The mods had a notable quote, “Once a mod, always a mod”, which inspired me to stay strong and persistent as an enduring fashion designer. My Redress collection this year used recycled fabrics and materials because I want to remind people to think deeply about what it means to be environmentally friendly. My creations are timeless: trench coats, blazers, parkas, etc. As I wanted to express my interpretation of the Mod, I introduced blazer elements into my parka, combining the two styles together. I think such a layered design is what Mod means to me. I used costume fabrics as linings in this collection with the reversible bomber jacket. It allows wearers to adjust the garment for different occasions while respecting enduring values.

Courtesy of Patrick Lam

Why do you favor military silhouettes in your works?

I include it in this collection because Mods liked to wear military uniforms mixed with formal suits. Based on this, I developed an oversized silhouette with different fabrics.

How did you get into fashion?

The first time I discovered fashion was in high school. There was a home economics class, in which I had the chance to design and make a shirt on my own. I really enjoyed the process. It was then that I decided to become a fashion designer.

Is it hard to be a sustainable fashion designer in Hong Kong?

Being a sustainable designer is very difficult because you have to take certain steps to think about fabric waste from pattern cutting, fabric choices and sources. There are so many limits. The biggest challenge here is the lack of support in Hong Kong. Few customers here prioritize durability over aesthetics.

Courtesy of Patrick Lam

Are there any innovative materials you would like to explore?

I recently came across apple leather, which is an organic material made from by-products of beverage manufacturers. Apple leather is soft and durable and has a much lower environmental footprint than cow leather. I think its natural color and texture have great potential in the fashion industry.

In recent years, outdoor elements have become quite large. Because of Covid-19, people are changing their lifestyles to get closer to nature.

Which celebrity or eminent person would you like to dress?

I would love to dress my favorite actor Keanu Reeves. Her generosity is well known and I have deep respect for her.

Courtesy of Patrick Lam

Would you ever consider getting into digital fashion?

There was a digital outfit challenge during the Redress contest, and after that, I realized how important this new type of fashion was. Nowadays, industry players tend to buy digital samples instead of physical ones, which can change the modus operandi of the fashion world and reduce the pollution caused by the production of sample garments.

What future for Patrick Lam?

After Redress, I would like to continue to participate in other competitions to publicize and spread my vision of sustainable design, while always trying to contribute to the protection of the environment.

Hazel J. Edmonds

The author Hazel J. Edmonds