Even as a brand new company the DNA of Blind by JW was strong, and today, sitting in their new studio in Hong Kong, the collections have only grown in strength. Here I check out their stunning new collection and take the opportunity to catch up on what’s changed for them as a brand since they first launched…
Blind, known for their use of graphics hand drawn by Jessica Lau and finished with Walter Kong’s computer effects to make digital prints are still a huge feature on their new collection.
With European fairytale, Alice in Wonderland as the inspiration of their previous collection, this one features the Chinese fairytale, ‘The Tiger Story” as the source of their inspiration.
The previous collection was certainly more romantic in it’s hues, using their signature colour of baby blues and pastels however I adore the use of bolder and stronger colours in this new collection. This time they are using electric blues and burgundy’s giving a much sharper feel.
The collection is still uber feminine with it’s mix of textures and patterns with Blind’s signature strong silhouettes, but this collection uses sharper angular edges and hem shapes.
The entire collection has a more energetic feel about it using unexpected mix of fabrics such as jacquard and double knit.
Two of my personal favourite pieces are their coats, the first is the electric blue coat, with stunning hand drawn digital print adorning it. Certainly a stand out piece, the second, a gorgeous pink luxe jacquard material coat, with it's interwoven soft greys and gorgeously luxe feel.
The brand have recently secured a pop up store in Hong Kong’s International airport which give their customers an opportunity to see a wider range of their collection which has more of an every day appeal. Jessica tells me she wants customers to be able to wear a piece to work that takes her all the way through to the evening.
The collection features pencil skirts as well as leggings, all featuring their staple block print for a slimming fit. The collection always features a crop shirt, with it’s asymmetric shape, longer at the back and as always featuring the print at the front.
As Blind by JW are several collections in now, I ask them what they’ve learnt since their first collection.
“We need to grab our audiences attention, whilst still balancing our aesthetic and pleasing our customer.” As for working together, “We balance the east and west. We design together, walk through the print, the fabric the silhouette and the story.”
Back when I interviewed the duo in 2014, they said to me they wanted to change the way people saw Hong Kong designers, and let the world know that Hong Kong is a place of real fashion and talented designers. I ask Jessica if she feels this has been achieved, “We have a long way to go to letting international people know that there are great Hong Kong designers, but we are getting there” I ask if launching the company is different to what they had thought it would be? “Starting the company is different to what we had imagined. Designing is actually 20% of what we do, PR is mandatory. You learn a lot from your peers. Hong Kong is small but there are a lot of designers and people look out for you. They want you to improve. Also the Hong Kong economy isn't going well but there is more light coming through, people who are coming through Hong Kong want to come to Hong Kong and get something from Hong Kong. If I wanted to get something from a Korean brand I would go to Korea.”
Having spent most of her life in London, I ask Jessica if her personal style still has elements of London style in it? She laughs, “ I don’t want to lose my London style. I go back to London to see what’s going on. Don’t get me wrong, London isn’t better it just makes (my style) a little different. I like the fun of England. To not take it too seriously, that’s why we are mixing prints and textures but we are bringing people personality; more colour, more happiness.” Jessica continues, “It’s great having Walter as a partner. Sometimes we test the market and we don’t know if it will work. He is from Hong Kong, and I grew up in London so I don’t always know.”
Although the brand has always appeared to be a strong one, Jessica tells me in the early days a friend said she didn’t understand it, so they thought about the fairytale aspect, so the ‘Blind’ was what was happening outside and they were lifting it to reveal an incredible world out there. So is this a lesson they’ve learnt? To seek others opinions, “Yes, don’t be afraid to ask other peoples opinions. You sometimes need outside people. The reactions have been really great, sometimes the silhouette doesn’t work and that feedback as helped production sampling.
Now Blind by JW is four years old, I ask what kind of women their customer is? “They are so different” Jessica tells me “Mother, daughter, even grandma. It starts with the daughter, and then the mother sees it and it looks good on her. We are amazed at the audience range. We see their face, the happiness, that’s what we want, just to know our brand is strong and it brings people happiness.”
Jessica and Walter proudly make everything in Hong Kong, and will continue to use the fairytale design in every collection going forward. Jessica passionately tells me, “We hope we’re helping this positive energy to continue, wearing the clothes is wearing a dream.” And having seen the collection up close, I couldn’t agree more.