“Before judging a T-shirt aesthetic, we should think about how it has been made.”
For Kayla Wong, truer words have not been spoken. The Hong Kong fashion designer born into a famous family had the audacity to defy others’ expectations. Still shy of 30, she has founded an ethical fashion label and become an outspoken activist for love
Life could have been effortless for Kayla, the daughter of a famous Hong Kong actor and supermodel mother. But after graduating from fashion school and working for haute couture houses, Kayla decided to forge her own path.
“Four years ago I decided to use my passion to make a difference, to spread my desire for change and take the opposite path of what people expected from me,” she said.
The style icon has since made a name for herself in Hong Kong’s famously competitive clothing industry. Placing ecological and social issues at the fore of her thinking she created her own brand, Basics for Basics.
Her garments, made with fair labour, are sustainable, organic and recycled.
While a fabric’s origin is important, with Kayla’s clothing, what is outside can count just as much.
A vocal supporter of LGBTQA rights, Kayla Wong ensures each garment contains a message in support of love between all genders.
And it’s a message she repeats across the breadth of her creative endeavours. Her recent photographic series, ‘Casa of Love’, presented a collection of brave and intimate gay portraits to fight against homophobia, borne from her own lived experiences.
Kayla Wong’s enduring verve and commitment make her a fitting choice to be January’s Standout Swift with Martell.
The multi-faceted collaboration notably includes designing a range of 15 ‘Pride’ T-shirts to fight against homophobia.
Each garment is adorned with the name of a gay couple, with 15% of the price donated to organisers of the first-ever gay games in Asia, to be hosted in Hong Kong 2022.
“All kinds of love should be proudly shown, not just straight love,” said Kayla, who recently became engaged to her partner Elaine.
“I hope this T-shirt will give you the courage to never hide, to defend your opinions, and stand up to defend love and respect, whether in your personal or professional life.”
Despite her hectic agenda, Kayla Wong takes time to get into the festive spirit. With Chinese New Year on the horizon, she has shared her secrets to planning for the world-famous celebration, including her favourite homemade cocktail recipe with Martel Noblige.
Every legacy is different. For Kayla Wong, whether it’s clothing or cocktails, the process always matters. And so too, what the finished product says.
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