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Behind The Scenes Of Your Wardrobe

Eclectic East beads3Ever wondered where all the fabrics, trims and beads on your new dress come from? Or how the latest colours are so quickly translated from the catwalk to your local Topshop? The chances are pretty high that a little unassuming low rise area in Hong Kong – Sham Shui Po – will have been part of the fashion chain.

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Before I moved to Hong Kong 6 years ago, I had heard of this fabled place through industry chatter. It sounded like a textile Mecca but I wasn’t sure if I was just hearing Chinese whispers. Fresh off the boat and straight into my job, I was taken to Sham Shui Po by a colleague on my third day in Hong Kong. Let’s just say I never looked back! The rumours were true; a place where you can freely pick up bundles of fabric swatches, ribbons arranged with scissors for you to cut yourself a free sample, beads by the bucket load, and sequins – well don’t get me started.

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Eclectic East fabric3Colour, print, texture, wools, silks, nylons, trims, furs, stretch fabrics, knits, wovens, glitter, feathers and the list goes on. You name it – it is here. Fueled by the high street’s love of fast fashion, this is where fashion buyers and designers from all over the world will come to source fabrics and new ideas to create the latest looks for your wardrobe. I see Sham Shui Po as a giant moodboard and colour palette for the latest trends. When I want to see what direction fashion is about to take, making a trip to Sham Shui Po is normally a good place to start.

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Eclectic East beads2Eclectic East trims1Putting my magpie tendency aside, I have also grown a special love for Sham Shui Po as an area over the six years I have been coming here. Certain shop keepers never change, the delivery men on bikes still make me smile and it is really quite photogenic when the sun shines! I enjoy coming here, not just for the textiles, but for the glimpses into Hong Kong life that has faded in other parts of the city. An afternoon in Sham Shui Po always puts a smile back on my face after a tough week in the office. Give it a visit if you ever have a spare afternoon in Hong Kong, with all that colour and sparkle – I challenge you not to come away with a smile on your face!

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Japanese Textiles – Eclectic East Kimono Collection

Japan is hands down, one of the most fascinating and inspirational places I have visited. If you have not already been – it should be on your wish list. The culture is so rich and that richness is carried through into all aspects of life – be it design, food, fashion or art. As you know, my passion is textiles and I have come clean as having an addiction. eclectic east kimono 7

Japan did not disappoint in fueling my addiction, the patterns that adorned so many of the traditional fabrics are unmistakably Japanese in style but, at the same time, incredibly current and contemporary when seen in a modern context. I found a wonderful store in Kyoto where I spent a happy few hours sorting through hundreds of vintage kimonos and somehow managed to select just 7! (Mr Eclectic East explained that carrying more than 7 kimonos around Japan for a week in his backpack was above and beyond the call of his duties as a husband). Here they are for your viewing pleasure in all their patterned glory! Note the beautiful embroidered details, rich silk fabrics and intricate hand stitching on each one.

eclectic east kimono 31 eclectic east kimono 33 eclectic east kimono 32This one is made with a traditional shibori technique which involves hand tying each of these white dots to create this resist dyeing pattern – the pattern and the colours are still very contemporary looking and the tie detail in coral makes a beautiful accent colour detail.

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You get a free cat with this one!

eclectic east kimono 13 eclectic east kimono 12 eclectic east kimono 11I love the fluidity of the pattern in this one as it appears to flow up the Kimono. It is also printed with metallic pigment details which adds a little “bling” to the proceedings – shouldn’t every girl have a bit of bling now and again?

eclectic east kimono 16 eclectic east kimono 15 eclectic east kimono 14This one is the most classic Japanese pattern out of all the Kimonos I bought. I don’t know if it comes across in the photo but it is such a wonderful colour palette, such delicate subtle colours and the fabric (a stiff silk cotton blend) makes it have a formality that the others don’t have – it is stunning in the flesh!

eclectic east kimono 28 eclectic east kimono 29Simple and informal. This one is cotton and the assistant told me it is a more everyday kimono. I love it for the weaving pattern and the simple colours.

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eclectic east kimono 21eclectic east kimono 22 This one is my favourite! The pattern is so subtle and current and the beautiful ombre dyeing of the lining feels so luxurious. I feel totally inspired by this Kimono and feel a new design coming on. 

eclectic east kimono 1By far the most decorative, with intricate hand embroidery. I can imagine this flowing silk Kimono adorning a beautiful young girl at a traditional ceremony. The colours are fresh and vibrant, the pattern is fluid and playful.

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eclectic east kimono 9 eclectic east kimono 10eclectic east kimono 5Hope you enjoyed looking at these as much as me. I’m back in Kyoto in February so I will go back to the emporium and try to convince Mr EE that we should invest in an extra suitcase.

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Neon Textile Love – Eclectic Inspiration

A quick post today to share with you some colourful treats I bought on a recent trip to India.

Eclectic east fabric2I fully admit I am a textile addict, my collection of fabrics from around the world takes up quite a bit of space in my studio and the problem is I just keep collecting more, like a magpie! So I made a promise recently to start making use of my beautiful hoard and to share it with other textile lovers. So, here it begins! I decided to start with this little bit of neon from India. I’m thinking they would make beautiful linings to clutches, wonderful silk blend scarves or even reverses to some cushions I am in the process of designing. Do you have any suggestions to help me break my addiction and make my collection more than just a colourful addition to my shelves? Let me know any ideas that you have – I would love to hear them.

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Hi 60’s – Eclectic Art

This weekend at Eclectic East we visited the Hi 60’s installation project at Fine Art Asia.

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The project invited a group of local Hong Kong artists to create artworks which expressed Hong Kong in the 1960’s. The exhibition was bright, playful and energetic with striking colours and experimentation with light and shadow. We were really inspired by the work of Cornelia Erdmann. Erdmann’s City Pattern showed the changes that went on in Hong Kong during the building of the high rise apartments and “new towns” which define so much of Hong Kong’s architecture today. I am often inspired by patterns in architecture and have used such inspiration to create textile designs. It was interesting to see how Erdmann approached this often divisive subject with humour and visual audacity. See more of Cornelia Erdmann here

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The work of Otto Li also stood out. Li had created a perspex motorbike in sections. When seen straight on it clearly showed a bike, from the side you saw each piece broken down. Li used the motorbike icon because it reflected the Teddy Boys in Hong Kong in the 1960’s. See more of Otto Li’s work here

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The final artist really made my heart sing! Man Fung -yi and her work which depicts traditional Cheongsam made from metal. Man Fung-yi is a renowned artist who has been internationally recognised for her intricate sculptures made from heavy metal work. As a textile designer I loved seeing the structure woven from metal and the colours and patterns were inspiring. Find out more about Man Fung-yi here.

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There is still time to get down to Fine Art Asia, it is open until the 7th Oct. Have fun and hope you are as inspired as we were!

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Hong Kong Mini Malls – Eclectic Wardrobe Heaven

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Hidden in the concrete jungle of some of Hong Kong’s busiest shopping districts (and I really mean busy!) are what we call Honkies’ call mini malls. They are small, badly lit and sometimes hard to find, but here you will feast upon some of the newest trends and most exciting fashion and accessories. Bursting with independent retailers with product sourced from all over asia. Each boutique focuses on a different theme, some stock their own designs of apparel or handmade shoes, some bring in the hottest looks from Korea and others focus on more understated Japanese pieces. Whatever you fancy, there is always something to inspire you. Here are some images from my latest mini mall adventure.

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Handmade shoes from Korea.

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Not so handmade shoes from Korea!

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A local Hong Kong designer creates a collection using the same dress in multiple prints – one for everyday of the week, what’s not to love!

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For similar adventures visit Island Beverly, La Foret and Apple Mall in Causeway Bay. You could even get yourself a HK$60.00 Manicure while you are about it – neon nails anyone?!

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Designer Fashion – Haus Khas Village

I have always thought of India as being full of wonderful traditional textile techniques, handwork, ornament and colour and it didn’t disappoint in that respect. I had not, however, realised that it was also teaming with fresh new design talent who bring together those traditional elements with contemporary fashion that is so exciting I wished I had had a bottomless bank balance and an endless string of events to attend.IMG_8877

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Haus Khas is home to the National Institute of Fashion Technology so it is the perfect place to go and check out all the latest names in fashion and see who will be the next big thing and also see the more established brands. It is teaming with boutiques that are so colourful and glistening with embroidery that I felt like a magpie being drawn into each store.

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Ole caught my beady eye straight away. It is a concept store in which designers each have a section and can display their collection. All items are made to order so you pick what you like and the assistants will take your measurements and arrange the garment to be made. Normal waiting period is 15 – 20 days. This is a really great opportunity for a new designer to make their name without having to take the risks that are normally associated with starting up a new fashion label. It is also a really exciting and inspiring place to be as a shopper.

I was particularly taken with Samant Chauhan’s collection. Chauhan launched his label in 2005 and has had critical acclaim worldwide. His pieces effortlessly bring together the traditional indian embroidery techniques with flowing ethereal dresses in a neutral colour palette. http://www.samantchauhan.com/

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Other standout brands were Ilk Shikha and Vinita http://www.ilk.co.in/ . Famous by Payal Kapoor and 5x by Ajit Kumar.

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