Designer Focus

Designer Focus: CAR|2IE

With a background in fashion reporting and studies in knitwear and a Masters in Womenswear, Carrie Kwok launched her own label CAR|2IE in 2016 with quite the background in fashion. She recently showed her pieces at the esteemed Fashionally in Hong Kong, and we had the chance to ask her some questions about her journey as a fashion designer.


Was there a particular moment that made you decide you wanted to work in fashion? 

I believe that fashion is a form of mobile art. Dressing up is not only for gaining a compliment by others, but it is also a way to admire and embrace your own beauty. We love seeing individuals wearing CAR|2IE clothing with confidence—no matter their age.

Do you think you have a responsibility as a designer to respond to the social and political issues of our time? 

I think not just as a designer, but as as adult, we do have a repressibility to respond the social and political issues. For me, my inspiration is all from our surroundings, like movies, art and, of course, the news. I don't think any of us can get rid of social and political repressibility.


In your opinion, what’s the problem with fashion today? 

Because of fast-fashion's popularity these days, many people think that clothing can be cheap and only suitable for a single season. Less people are willing to spend money on higher-quality pieces, which is a shame. 

Has your relationship with clothing changed as you delve into the fashion world? 

I put more consideration into the details—the lining, the buttons, the stitches, and so on. The outlook of the design must be great, but you can't ignore the inner part of garment.car2ie

What are the trials and tribulations of being an emerging designer?  

I think the hardest part is that if you have a brand, you are no longer only a designer, but you need to consider the business side as well. I'm still learning how to be good at that facet of the industry!

What do you feel are the most important ingredients in building a brand?  

100% passion and 200% hard work.


What excites you the most about the future of fashion? 

The rise of technology across the industry brings a new vision to fashion world.

How do you balance your creative vision with the harsh realities of the fashion industry?  

I think creativity is important, but the wearability of the garment is also important.


Tell us any anecdotes about the making of your last collection?  

I you look closely, you can find a six-year-old kid's drawings and a granny's wording in my latest collection.

How do go about choosing your materials and manufacturers?  

I have my own preference for choosing fabric. Usually I choose a fabric with texture. For the factory, I work directly with the pattern cutter to make sure everything is what I want.


Tell us a bit about how you run your business.  

Just like most designers, I have always wanted to set up my own label. I first built up experience as an assistant designer after graduating from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and later became a fashion reporter to learn more about styling and fashion media.

Later, I gained an MA in Womenswear Fashion from Middlesex University, followed by an internship with the talented Simone Rocha. On returning to Hong Kong, I entered the fashion competition YDC and secured a place in the final. Once I got into the final, I saw it as an opportunity to launch my label because I’d have the runway materials for my portfolio and the support of HKTDC.


How do you balance economical business practices with creative vision?  

As I said, if we have a brand, we are no longer only a designer, so I have to learn how to run a business. But at the same time, as we are small company, we don't have many restrictions to establish company, so we still have room to be creative. But I am still learning how to find a balance.

What’s your take on the advent of commerce via social media?  

Just keep posting! It's both helpful and free.


What makes a design compelling? 

Sticking to my own style and creating beautiful pieces.

What would be your dream collaboration scenario? 

It would be complete dream come true to collaborate with Tim Walker.