I’ve always loved menswear inspired pieces, specifically because of the tailoring and the sharper clean lines that can be mixed with a more feminine piece to toughen up an outfit. We’ve seen tux jackets and blazers designed specifically for women in mind and we’ve seen an abundance of collections of menswear inspired pieces hit the runway and high street stores.
But what about a line that goes one step further and creates unisex tailoring, that goes against convention by designing a chic collection, a collection that proves, “originality surpasses gender”? Well step up SKETCHΔROUND.
Founded in 2013 by two Hong Kong designers, SKETCHΔROUND are a very unique brand. They create pieces that are specifically for women, or men, but also pieces that are completely unisex, resulting in a complete collection that doesn’t conform to a particular gender. Their female customer can therefore chose a womenswear piece and match it with their unisex collection that gives the outfit a unique edge.
I was so excited to hear about the uniqueness of the brand and even more excited to get the opportunity to chat to them about how the concept came about, the inspiration behind their brand and their hopes for the future. So, without further ado, here is the wonderful designers behind SKETCHΔROUND …
Firstly congratulations on creating such a unique and chic collection.
Can you tell us about your individual backgrounds?
Yes. Kan was a fashion graduate of University of Huddersfield. And Priscilla graduated in Fashion Design & Textile from London College of Fashion (University of the Arts London).
Wow, you both trained in England! I’m always interested in how designers came to partner up, especially when they studied internationally. How did you both meet?
We both were once colleagues in the design team of an international high fashion brand named Moiselle in Hong Kong.
I love Moiselle! When and how did you decide to begin the company together?
We worked for more than three years in local fashion industry, well experienced in high-end womenswear and fashion shows. As far as we are concerned, quality and delicacy are not an expensive luxury that only exists in gowns or evening wears, but a priceless thing in the fashion world. We both believe that delicate craftsmanship could also work well in contemporary daywear or even minimalistic style. Hence we decided to launch a label with a new definition of modern chic for urban people.
How did the original concept of not conforming to gender specific clothing come about?
We want a garment piece to make the most as a basic wardrobe item for both genders in modern living, so we come up with unisex clothing. Unlike the usual talks about neuter, dandy feminine or masculine feminine as people commonly know. SKETCHΔROUND reforms the concept of “unisex” and installs the idea of androgyny in the clothing itself, but not the person who wearing it.
One of my personal favorite trends is menswear inspired clothing for women. However as it’s quite unusual for entire collections to be made up of unisex clothing, how would you describe the reaction to the line?
I would say people feel that it’s new and refreshing that our collection is made with unisex tailoring. It does attract men and women to purchase our collections. Some SKETCHΔROUND pieces were also picked and styled on both male and female artists and models successfully for show and magazine shoots.
A SKETCHΔROUND customer could be any men or women, who look for quality life and have their own style to express their thoughts and attitude they want to live with.
How did you both come up with the name SKETCHΔROUND and what does it stand for?
The name SKETCHΔROUND is formed by two words “Sketch” & “around”. Each season we aim to explore different ways to sketch our conceptual androgyny form, such like we did digital sketching on iconography and developed chainz finishing on outer edges in the first season.
For the letter “A” replaced by an equilateral triangle “Δ”, it stands for our ultimate statement of pairing both innovative workout and conventional practice on every design piece.
To start up SKETCHΔROUND, we established different web platforms (facebook, instagram, website) to build up its own image and characters. We styled the lookbook models with a wraparound hair make-up, covered models’ face with painted acrylic boards on runway and produced mini-film to emphasize our concepts and major look to our customers.
What has been your biggest feeling of accomplishment so far with the brand?
SKETCHΔROUND has impressed buyers in Hong Kong and Taiwan with its uniqueness and high wearability, resulting six select shops and online stores launching our collections in the first year, with many positive feedback from customers on the fine details paired with the unisex tailoring. It did give us a sense of accomplishment.
What has been the most challenging moment for you both when developing SKETCHΔROUND?
We both look young that caused some difficulties when we first established our company and met with all the factories, suppliers and pattern-makers. Since we were judged by our appearance, it became harder and took longer time to gain their confidence that we are experienced to work with.
There’s some irony in that, it must have been very frustrating! In terms of your customer, are you designing with a Hong Kong customer in mind?
Certainly. Hong Kong people are most likely to live a low-profile existence and style in an undertone. SKETCHΔROUND designs a purity of form on a foundation of simplicity to offer something relaxed but fine for its fast living pace in HK.
Have you delved into the European market yet?
No, we haven’t. Yet our brand and collections had been featured by some European fashionistas this year, for instances, the Australian online publication PITCH, a French fashion blog DRESSED TO KILL, Los Angeles fashioned lifestyle blog DESIGN FOR MANKIND, Paris fashion week snap-shot on NOW-FASHION online platform. They were all impressed by the new presentation of unisex statement and the craftsmanship merged in timeless modern simple look.
By each season, SKETCHΔROUND goes for primary investigation on the fabric finishing, seams forming, lockstitch, zippering, bar tack and buttoning so as to maximize the possibility of constructing garment with innovative materials. Then luxury is in each detail on the foundation of simplicity, and these structural essentialities are laid out to complex the space, volume and movement of unisex silhouette. It unites fine details and ideology to make living more exquisite in modern simple chic.
It’s all about reinventing. We challenge all conventions of normal practice on garment-making. On the other hand, we look for interesting materials, which are barely used in clothing as structural components in our collections to create distinctive and surprising craftsmanship.
How do you divide up your roles within the company?
Priscilla handles the branding, marketing and communication work. Kan takes up all drawings, graphic work and lookbook layout. Apart from that, we work together on research and design development.
How do you make your vision work cohesively together?
I believe we have firmly built up core statement for the label, the concept it speaks for and the style to go with it before we established SKETCHΔROUND. This leads us to run the brand with a very clear direction.
Who are you personal style icons?
Are there any designers that particularly inspire you or that you particularly look up to?
Josh Goot, Jil Sander
What are your future plans for SKETCHΔROUND?
We have strong sentiment on localization. We hope SKETCHΔROUND could collaborate with some local labels and designers from different platforms such like accessory, bags, footwear , photographer. We think collaboration within local design forces would be very beneficial on both market and cultural fields.
Do you have plans to open up your own storefront?
Not in the coming two years, so far SKETCHΔROUND works well with all select shops and online shops in Hong Kong and Taiwan. And we benefited a lot in the pop-up store and projects we had worked together. Yet in future, we would love to have our own storefront opened in Soho, very elegant place near central district.
And finally, where would you ideally like Sketcharound to be 5 years from now?
We would like SKETCHΔROUND to be exposed more to other foreign places such like korea, paris and new york and have some interesting collaboration with other oversea brands.