X女皇/THE QUEEN OF CROSSOVER. JOHANNA HO

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上衣/ Top – Johanna Ho, 背心外套/Vest – EDIT, 牛仔褲/Jeans – Model’s Own

作家/Writer : Charles Wong
英语/ENG : SPITZ
照片/Photos : Nick D for Precursorprints.com
人像照片/Portrait and Studio : Rio Lam (rioheroo@gmail.com)

在2013秋冬時裝,國際品牌想必成為大家潮流的指標,但本地時裝亦不容忽視。誰說本地時裝沒有人才?!她是JOHANNA HO。在她早幾季的女裝系列已經另眼相看,在這2013年的秋冬季中,她正式推出首個男裝系列。擅長針織技術的她,怎樣將這技術放在男裝設計上?怎麼以一向設計女裝的角度投放在男性時裝上?…疑問很多,但毫無疑問是她是優秀的本地設計師- JOHANNA HO。

So for FW2013, our friend Johanna Ho, designed her first menswear collection. We thought it was pretty fresh and a good excuse as any to break bread with her and pick her mind at the time. Johanna’s last few women’s collections have really come along in our eyes and we wanted to catch her on her accent. If ya don’t know, I would say Johanna’s got a knitwear game in spades, and if ya don’t know, that’s a good chunk of what sportswear is all about.

< English Continued after the Chinese below >

SPITGAN : 這是你首個男裝系列嗎? //為什麼現在才開始?靈感來源自?
Johanna Ho : 對!這是我首個男裝系列,其實第一次接觸男裝是為陳奕迅3年前的演唱會做服裝設計,並得到極大迴響和鼓勵,如WYMAN(黃偉文)、蘇永康等好友,推使我這次男裝系列的產生。但當中最滿足是當人們稱讚她為陳奕迅設計的衣服穿上身時完全看不出身型的缺點時(並不是說陳奕迅的體型大,而只可以說他是實力型歌手),這種挑戰和成功感是我的動力,亦是我一向設計的宗旨-「衣服是設計給人穿,如運用陳奕迅的例子,He is human being(他不是模特兒身型,但他就是人,是現實的反映)。

SG : 靈感除了來自EASON CHAN之外,你老公有沒有帶給你靈感呢?
JH : 我的老公是一個比較對時尚的觸角比較敏感和有要求的人,他比較像是一個QC人員(品質監管人員),當有時候設計了一些款式時,以他的角度看男士的品味,會給我不一樣的看法。

SG : 你所選擇的物料主要是WOOL/KNIT,會否增加製作的難度?
JH : 這又不會增加製作的難度,可能真的要多謝啊臣(陳奕迅),為他的演唱會製作服裝,從而令我製作男裝的技術純熟了;加上我JOHANNA HO這品牌是以針織作特色,因為針織能夠營造出不同的質感,如這季秋冬男裝服飾中,我只用了一種WOOL(羊毛),但當中不同的織法、不同的洗水方法、不同種類的羊毛等,能帶出不同的變化,這就是我為什麼喜歡使用針織設計衣服。因為我平時已習慣用針織做女裝,現在做男裝比做女裝更加方便,加上男士身體比較平服,所以不會增加製作的難度。

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SG : 設計男裝和設計女裝兩者有什麼差別?
JH : 開始設計男裝時,發現它是十分具挑戰性,但這挑戰性亦是它的優勢- 就是不會將男裝設計得太花巧。當知道不能太花巧時,自己就會從剪裁、工序、質素等方面使設計精簡,當完成這方面時,設計差不多已經完成8至9成,最後就要從細節位著手,使設計更加完美。而女裝方面,因為種類太多,如裙有分高腰、中腰、低腰,亦有長、中、短等,當種類太多時,就難以用設計男裝的方法套在設計女裝上。但在顧客方面,兩者是沒有分別。當開始設計男裝後,一些女顧客亦會買男裝穿著,這其實沒有什麼問題。因為現在潮流有時候會流行「交換穿著」,即係男穿女裝,女穿男裝。順理成章,我這品牌就變「UNISEX(中性)」。

SG : 有沒有一些特別意思想透過這次男裝系列來表達?
JH : 其實每一次設計都是講求興趣同熱忱,因為沒有興趣同熱忱,設計出來就不是我JOHANNA HO的設計。而這次秋冬系列上,用了男士紳士服的概念套上針織的方式,如襯衫的翻領位置用了針織的技術,營造「JOHANNA HO式紳士服」。當中想傳達的信息是一向男士紳士服給人的感覺時十分正式、嚴肅的服裝,而我JOHANNA HO式紳士服想表達時尚而又顛覆傳統的紳士服給現代的男士們新的選擇。

SG : 舒適是你們設計時最大的考慮因素之一嗎?
JH : 當然是!因為當人走進一家衣服商店時,首先是用眼去看有什麼吸引著他們,從而走過去拿上手觸摸,當是衣服的觸摸是正面或是舒適時,最後就是拿進試身室穿上身上是否舒適。所以舒適是我們設計時最大的考慮因素。

SG : Art pieces 與 Commercial piece之間怎樣取平衡?
JH : 中間的平衡是在我老公對衣服的意見。有時候我一心專注在設計當中,老公就會以消費者的角度看他會不會買,因為設計最後都是賣給男士,所以老公就像一個很好的監督人。

SG : 在這季的男士系列未見有任何飾物和鞋子,有沒有想過開始設計男裝飾物和鞋子?
JH : 其實我做JOHANNNA HO這品牌已經十多年,很多都已經嘗試過,飾物、鞋子,什至童裝都有設計過,但有時候就因為嘗試過,就發覺分身不瑕。但現在真的想放重心在男裝系列上,因為我看到它的潛能很大。

SG : 聽說這系列是給不高和瘦的人穿著,那比較大隻或腰圍大的人呢?
JH : 這說法是錯誤的,你都知道我一個設計男裝是給陳奕迅,可想言之我們的衣服沒有局限於任何人。加上針織的好處是令衣服有彈性,因為如果是普通物料時,當衣服的尺碼不合身時,這會是衣不稱身。但針織是可以令衣服有彈性,使任何人都可以穿著。

SG : 你平時會有什麼興趣?音樂?電影?….會否影響你的設計男裝概念和方向?
JH : 其實我覺得最大的影響是「人」。可能我是在英國長大,被「咖啡室文化」深深影響著-就是坐在咖啡室一整天,看著人來人往穿梭著,對我來說,這樣的「咖啡室文化」給我的靈感是最大。因為我知道衣服是給人穿著,看到不同人的穿衣服方法,不同人的品味,就好像與不同人交流著不同的故事,而產生靈感。

SG : 除了時裝設計之外,你亦有幫助藝人形象設計,當中與時裝設計有什麼分別?
JH : 其實只是一線之差,當初的想法是我身為時裝設計師,形象設計應該難不倒我。但開始做的時候,發覺與想像中不同。因為形象設計是要按藝人本身的形象再配合當天活動的主題而搭配,加上有時候要一些活動有一些的服裝要求,如一些品牌的衣服時,當搭配完發覺這完完全全不是JOHANNA HO的品味,這個心理關口是很難跨過,可能我是有設計師的性格,個人風格是要十分明顯,當不是自己的風格時,這是很難接受。所以最後都沒有再做形象設計

JHO_STUDIO1

SG : 你又喜歡哪一樣工作呢?
JH : 當然是時裝設計。加上要照顧女兒和剛發展的男裝系列,當分身不瑕時,就要學懂取捨和專注。

SG : 會想過與不同品牌進行CROSSOVER計劃嗎?
JH : 其實我一直都做不同的聯名合作計劃,去年我的好友都稱我「X女皇」,因為與不多不同的品牌合作,如Birkenstock,。在香港的商業市場上,店舖租金一直是投資者最大的負擔,所以我開始經營網上店舖,但經過資料搜集後,發覺若果網上店舖只得一個品牌,除非不斷設計及更新衣服,否則很難營運下去。這時候靈機一動,不如嘗試跟別人聯名合作。一方面可以嘗試不同範疇的設計,另一方面人們可以在我的網上店舖裡享受到全面的購物體驗。

SG : 哪一品牌你最想合作?
JH : 其實真的嘗試了不同的類型品牌,如果真的還未嘗試的是化妝品、香水吧。

SG : 有沒有一些最新聯名合作計劃開始進行?
JH : 最近期應該是與陳冠希的品牌「CLOT」進行一個最新的合作劃,對我來說是一個有趣及期待的合作計劃,就是JOHANNA HO品牌走進「街頭」路線。因為近幾年的潮流開始走進街頭路線,這次合作不只限於品牌與品牌合作,這是文化與文化的交流,在街頭時裝上沒有一條規例是什麼才是街頭時裝,所以這就是這次JOHANNA HO與 CLOT合作計劃的有趣之處。

SG : 經營一個香港品牌時,在香港和中國的市場上會遇到有什麼困難?
JH : 中國的市場上,的確這是一個趨勢,但是要一些長時間去考慮和了解。因為JOHANNA HO這個品牌花了我不少心機進去,但不能一些豐富的利潤去做一個衝動的決定,這樣是十分不智。倒不如一步一步的打好基礎,令JOHANNA HO品牌更加穩固地進入中國市場。在香港經營一個品牌時,只能說一句:「慘啦!」因為香港的租金太昂貴,所以賺回來的金錢只是要來交租金。因店舖地點真的是一個營運品牌的重要因素之一,所以我們現在都開始正在找一個新地點。

SG : 現在你JOHANNA HO的門市在哪裡賣?
JH : 香港九龍彌敦道36-44號活方商場16號店舖

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上衣/ Top – Johanna Ho, 長褲/Pant – Versace Jeans, 靴子/Boots – Dr. Martins

< English Con’t >

SPITGAN : This is your first men’s collection? Why now? What was the inspiration for it?
Johanna Ho : Yes, this is my first collection. Actually I have to thank Eason Chan. He invited me to do the costume designs for his music concert. That was the first time I ever did menswear and I got some positive feedback from friends. Friends such as Wyman Wong…I think that was the intial motivation for me to start doing menswear. The most satisfying part was that people appreciated my designs, and said they complimented Eason Chan’s look and figure, which was a bit of a challenge in itself, hehe. Also, my design purpose is “clothes are designed to be worn by people!” Eason is normal human being, figure-wise. He is not model size, but he is human. That’s the reality.

SG : Apart from Eason , Was it inspired by your husband?
JH : My husband is sensitive and demanding with fashion. He is like the Quality Control. When I come up with designs, he will give me a man’s point of view and give me different ideas and opinions.

SG : This first collection’s menswear pieces used a wool knit as the main material. What specific challenges does this material present?
JH : Well it didn’t increase the difficulty because I had used it before for Eason Chan’s concerts. Moreover, my brand, Johanna Ho’s signature, is the use of textiles and techniques. I can manipulate it to create different forms and textures. For example, this menswear fall/winter collection, I just used one material, wool, but with different knitting and washing methods. Therefore, the results can be different. That’s why I I chose this material for the collection. Also, I use knits for my womenwear. Menswear designs, I find simpler, because the forms are not so curvaceous or form fitting, so its a bit easier than women’s to me.

SG : What are some of the main differences between menswear design and women wear design?
JH : When I started to design menswear, I realize that it is very challenging, but every coin has two sides, challenging is an advantage also. First, in designing menswear, I didn’t think it could be too fancy. So I started to focus on cutting, quality, finishing and make it clean. Also the details, attention to details, will make the design prefect. Womenswear has a lot of categories. Take a dress, it separates into high, middle, and low waist, and long, middle, and short length. So it’s totally different with menswear. In the customer, both are the same. When I started to design menswear, some women bought it to wear themselves, as some trend towards a unisex style.

SG : What are you bringing to menswear with this collection? Do you think it will stand out?
JH : All my designs are about passion. If there is no passion it’s not my design. In this fall/winter menswear collection, I applied my textile techniques into a men’s suiting format. Using a textile technique into the collar, etc. and making it the “Johanna Ho style men suit”. I wanted to send a message to people that a men’s suit doesn’t need to be just formal. I wanted to express that it can be fashionable, perhaps break with traditions, and create a modern men’s suit; an alternative option.

SG : Was comfort in the clothing a big consideration?
JH : Of course yes. When people go to a boutique, they first look at what attracts them. After that, they will touch it and feel it. To see whether it is comfortable or not. Finally, they will try it on in a fitting room. So a big consideration in clothing design is comfort.

SG : It looks very wearable as well was that a major intent? To create less art pieces and more ‘useful’ clothing?
JH : The balance between an art piece and a commercial piece is my husband’s comment. Sometimes, when I focus on design, my husband will stand in with a customer’s view and give me some feedback. My design will sell to men in the end.

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SG : I didn’t see any men’s accessories or shoes this season, will you start to think about this for coming collections?
JH : Actually I have done “Johanna Ho” the brand for around 10 years. I tried a lot of things during this time. Accessories, shoes, kid wear…,but it needs a lot of manpower to do it. I will focus on menswear design first, as the potential in menswear is high.

SG : For males that are not tall and thin what does this collection offer say, a larger person, a bigger waisted man?
JH : That’s a wrong perception. As you know, my first menswear designs were for Eason Chan, who is not model size. Also, the signature of a Johanna Ho design lies in its textile technique which is flexible, and can match any body or size.

SG : What are your hobbies? Music? Movies? Do they inspire your menswear design concepts?
JH : I think the biggest influence is people. I grew up in England. ‘Coffee shop culture’ is big there. For me, this culture inspired me a lot. As I know, clothes are designed for people to wear. So when I see different people in different styles, it is just like an exchange, a different story.

SG : Apart from fashion design, you were also a stylist to different artists, what are the differences between being a designer and a stylist?
JH : In my mind, first, I think I am a fashion designer. When I started styling, it was with a totally different mind set. With design, its dependent on an artist’s imagination. With styling, the concept is based around activity. Sometimes, some activities request artists to wear a special dress code. That’s not my style. It’s not created by me, and I find it difficult. Maybe I have an obvious personality. When I can’t do my style, I find it hard to accept, so I resigned from the job.

SG : Which position you prefer? Stylist or ready-to-wear fashion designer?
JH : Of course fashion design! As I have many responsibilities, taking care of my daughters and the new menswear line, I have made a choice not to continue with styling for now.

SG : How about doing crossovers with other fashion brands?
JH : I have crossed over with many different brands. My friends call me the ‘X Queen (Crossover Queen)!’ One brand is Birkenstock. In Hong Kong, high rental fees are the biggest burden for an investor, so I started to run my own online shop. After some research, I discovered if the online shop just has 1 brand to its name, it is difficult to continue, unless you are always updating the design and product. At the same time, I thought, what a great idea – “crossover”. On the one hand, I can try different aspects of design; on the other hand, people can go to my online shop and get an all-round shopping experience.

SG : Now, having done some, what would you like to try?
JH : I have tried a lot of different categories. I think make up products and perfumes. I haven’t tried, but they are interesting.

SG : Any new collaborations coming up?
JH : Recently I have done a new project with CLOT, which is Edison Chen’s brand. For me, it is an interesting and exciting project. “Johanna Ho enters street fashion!” Street fashion has become quite a fashion trend these years. It is not only a crossover between Johanna Ho and CLOT, but also crossover between different cultures. What is street fashion? Everything is possible. So I am looking forward to it.

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上衣/ Top – Johanna Ho, 長褲/Pant – Johanna Ho, 運動鞋/Sneakers – Nike

SG : Is it difficult being a Hong Kong brand selling in HK and the mainland? Can you tell us why?
JH : Doing business in China is definitely a trend, but I need more time to understand and analyze their market because Johanna Ho, this brand…I invested a lot inside it. I can’t rush into something without considering the pros and cons. I want to do it step by step to enter the China market to make it stable.In regards to Hong Kong, I only can say “tragic”. Hong Kong has such high rental cost. All money gained goes to rent. So location is a main element for running a brand here. I am currently seeking a new location for my brand. The right one.

SG : Where is your brand sold now?
JH : Shop No. 16 ,Woodhouse ,36-44 Nathan Road ,Tsim Sha Tsui,Kowloon, Hong Kong and Harvey Nichols.

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