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London College of Fashion

Models wearing outfits from brand HEW

MA Womenswear alumna Hong Wang aims to break Asian stereotypes with new collection

Written by Fanny Allart
Published date 06 July 2019

After graduating from  MA Fashion Design Technology Womenswear, alumna Hong Wang launched her brand HEW. Based in London, Wang decided to draw inspiration from her Chinese heritage to design a collection that would celebrate Asia, challenging stereotypes and clichéd perceptions of the Eastern world. Following the launch of her AW19 collection, we caught up with Hong to learn more about the inspiration behind her brand, her new life as a designer and her time at university. LCF BA Fashion Styling and Production alumna, and Associate Lecturer Kalina Pulit captured the new collection.

Congratulations on the launch of your brand! How is it going so far?

Thank you. It is going well, although it has been much tougher than I thought. As I'm starting everything from the beginning, I have the freedom to establish what I want for the brand. I enjoy this freedom, but it has its own challenges as there is a lot to do and explore by myself.

What’s the best part of being a fashion designer and having your own label?

It allows me to work as a freelance designer as I have done for a few brands after completing my MA. It has been helpful to gain more experience in the UK as it is different from the work I have done in China. The best part of having my own brand is that I set my agenda when it comes to how I develop and create my work. However, I must also take all the responsibility as well.

What makes HEW different or unique?

Through my brand, I want to evoke new thoughts and perspectives of my Chinese heritage that will break through the stereotypes that the West has formed of China. We have more to offer than the decorative patterns, landscapes and dragons that most people are familiar with.

HEW AW19 Collection

Where did you get your inspiration for your new collection?

For my AW19 collection, I looked for inspiration within Asian culture and took a fresh approach. I aimed to celebrate my heritage but also challenge stereotypical associations and cliché perceptions of Asia, especially China. Looking past the intricate embroidery and prints, I stripped back the decorative patterns presented in ancient Asian costumes and accessories. Instead, the brand focused on the garment's structure and its craft via the process of deconstruction.

Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in fashion?

I actually wanted to study architecture, but I wasn’t good enough at mathematics! After contemplating my options, I decided to pursue a career in fashion design as my mother, who was a tailor, inspired me. So far, I have not regretted my choice — I really enjoy what I do, and I’m excited for what I hope to achieve in the future.

Let’s talk about your time at LCF. Why did you choose to study the MA Fashion Design Technology Womenswear?

I’ve always wanted to live in London! I wanted to develop myself further after working for fashion brands in China for 2 years. My work experiences taught me that technical skills are vital to a creative designer.

I was looking for a university that was professional, had good connections with the industry and a good environment to learn and develop my creativity. LCF met all those expectations.

What advice would you give to potential students who would like to enrol at this course?

Be yourself. Every student has their own style, don’t let others influence you and change what you want to be. Be confident with what you have done and your creative vision. I know the course is not easy, but enjoy it!  Remember to celebrate your achievements and when things don’t quite go to plan, use this as a learning experience — things in life are not perfect. Contentment is not a given but something you have to work towards.

Photography by Kalina Pulit, Fashion by HEW, Hair and makeup by Paul Rodgers, Photo assistance by Silvia Draz and Model Amanda Ljunggren