Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What is Fashion?

“Fashion is language. Some aren't that eloquent in self-expression, but everybody's using it, regardless of fluency. Some people express themselves beautifully through poetry, some in traditional prose, some in innovative slang. Punks use profanity for shock value, and some babies and straight men just go uh-huh yuh. In fashion, you're either an innovator, or a follower. People who say they don't care about fashion are still following fashion trends that have been set down by their parents or community, so STFU. Why are you wearing a shirt and tie to work if you don't care about fashion?”
--  Johannes Pong, Editor, HK MAGAZINE

“Fashion is about expressing who you are to the world and adding value to people’s lives. Fashion is being in love.”
-- Kanch Panjabi, Founder & Director, Kanchan Couture
“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
-- Coco Chanel

What is Fashion? Fashion: A strong word with a fluid definition. For centuries women and men around the world have used clothes to express wealth, culture, tradition, gender, class, personality and style. People have expressed Fashion with accessories, hair, make up, piercings, shoes, handbags, jewellery. The Fashion Industry is constantly thriving on the sole need for people to express individuality, competition and belonging.

Individuals dress to differentiate themselves from everyone else. Some compete to have something that none of their friends have. Some people buy endorsed goods to feel a sense of belonging, because if you buy something that belongs to a trend – it gives you an unspoken membership into the ‘cool kids club’.

When I was a little enfant, Fashion was something that my mother chose for me. I don’t think I started dressing myself until I was 13! I spent most of the 80s in an awkward state of Fashion. At the age of 13, I was let loose to explore my Fashion style. This of course failed. I just wanted to fit in, so I wore what my friends wore. I figured they had broken the secret code to figuring out their wardrobe, on the qualification that they didn’t look like Punky Brewster at school.

More than a decade later, I face the unequivocal question, standing before my closet, which every warm blooded female faces first thing in the morning…What do I wear?

I have to admit, I am a sucker for the advertising traps. If Eva Longoria uses it, I should too! If Kim Kardashian looks great wearing that dress, I will too! Paris Hilton has a line of canned Prosecco? I want some! Okay, that wasn’t the same thing, I still want Prosecco, but you understand me…don’t you?

Let me tell you about one problem I have faced with my return to Hong Kong. I had forgotten about the shopping in Hong Kong. Shopping in Hong Kong is great. PROBLEM: Everyone shops in the same places. -- I bought this black sequined dress shirt from H&M, wore it, thought I looked great. Heck, I looked FABULOUS in it! That night I wore it to Volar, as I was dancing in the corner with friends, my friend Louis points at the model standing behind me…wearing the exact same top as me. Ouch*
What did I learn from this experience? I don't want to shop and belong to the same club as every girl. What have I done since then? I explore my options. I go to boutiques more. Try to find specific location boutiques, places that suit my taste more. I explore online shopping a lot more... And then I realized something. I have my own style. I like dresses over skirts. I like more classic styles, as opposed to bohemian. I prefer flat shoes over heels (fashion faux pas, but I can’t help it!) I might have a slightly more competitive streak, when dressing for certain occasions, but this way, I would have a few pieces that no one else would be caught wearing to the same party as me.

Sociological aspects aside, at the end of the day, I like to think: whatever I wear, I own, I style it so that it becomes me. It might not always be perfect, but I like it. If I met Coco Chanel and got to ask her one question, I would ask her to stand with me at my closet, “What should I wear today?” 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's ALL about the Accessories

We’ve been in the drawing room working on next season’s accessories. When creating accessories, designers have to think of everything. Working here with Kanch, I get a bit more insight into what she takes into consideration.

Monday morning this week was sunny, bright, beautiful. First thing on the agenda for our fashion forward designer was a trip to Hong Kong’s hub for material and textile sourcing…Lai Chi Kok & Sham Shui Po...

For those of you who are not from Hong Kong reading this, Sham Shui Po and Lai Chi Kok are dense districts filled with wholesalers selling fabrics, buttons, leathers, upholstery, feathers, anything from shell pieces to precious stones and silks can be found here. Kanch spent about two hours in this ocean of countless creative opportunities and came back with some gorgeous colored, textured and patterned leathers.

This time we want some feedback from you! We have narrowed our choices down to different sets of leathers and colors that we like. 

Tell us which one you like and email us:

Enquiries 2117 2187 or email 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

REVIEW: September Issue of VOGUE British

Did you know that the September issues of most Magazines are the largest, out of all the issues from the year? I didn’t. Once a year, right before Paris, Milan, London Fashion Week, all magazines bulk up their advertising, fashion sections and articles are all fashion week / fashion related. It’s all quite intense. To educate me, Kanch handed me the fashion bible, I sat down this week with the September issue of VOGUE British. 

The amount of advertising in this issue is kind of shocking. Large brands and Fashion franchises buying full pages, or even two-four page spreads of models sprawled across the page wearing, holding, eating, flaunting their clothes, accessories, shoes, and handbags. The magazine is 70% advertising, 20% Articles, 10% Supplements = 100% Still Awesome. 

This year’s Fall/Autumn trends are a bit hard for me to understand. But I suppose a room full of Vogue fashion experts can’t all be wrong! For example, Camel Coats (I had to look this one up, Camel suggested Camel-hide to me, so I had to make sure!) with both open collarless necks and funnel necks. Furry boots, coats and vests, which slightly resembled hairy, unkempt bear fur to me. 

But on the other hand, I LOVED the 50s inspired fashions, cropped pants and below knee length hemlines.

Vogue says, ‘tis the season to be MINIMAL! Not in those exact words, but you get the point. They suggest sticking to beiges, pastels and single hued clothes this Fall / Autumn, but don’t forget to add a fun addition, or feature piece to the outfit. This best suits Kanchan Couture’s style. 

Last Wednesday we had some new pieces come into the Atelier, they are simply gorgeous. We haven’t had a chance to take any nice photos of them yet, and I might not be able to! One of my favorite pieces is this Gold, high wasted wrap around skirt wit a Gold print. We received 3 pieces, and sold 2 pieces in one day! This would be ideal to wear with some simple black Mary Janes, plain black tank top, and maybe some studded earrings. Minimal Glamour? I think so! 

Other articles that I enjoyed was the feature on Georgio Armani himself, Sketch Show – a journalist explores the lost art of Fashion sketching and the supplement about Jonathan Groff (completely unrelated, I’m an avid GLEE televsion show watcher.) 

Believe it or not, this was my first time ever reading a full issue of Vogue, and I have officially been converted! Now, I have another magazine to add to my pile each month. Great…

Enquiries 2117 2187 or email 

Friday, August 6, 2010

Surf, Turf, Mao & Bruce Lee

Here at Kanchan Couture, we have a relationship with the skill and art form of Printing. As those of you familiar with our brand know, Kanchan Panjabi has married the art form of hand-screen printing with modern design. When we heard that Phil Hayes, Vice President of Quiksilver & Artist, was holding his 2nd solo exhibition at UFO Gallery, we were more than ecstatic and couldn’t wait to attend. 

Phil Hayes’ current artwork is based on the move from Australia to Hong Kong. He portrays the move and the iconic differences between the two places by blending Australian wildlife, with Asian icons like Mao and Bruce Lee.  He prints this onto various sized canvases, surfboards and mailboxes. 

My favorite piece was HKD$20,000, leave it up to me to like one of the higher end pieces, which was a blend of different shades of blue, the hues, the wildlife, Bruce Lee, it all just called to me. Had it not been bought already, I would have totally wanted to rock that surfboard on the seas. 
Hayes’ beatnik style of art was under spotlight and praise all night as people mingled, sipped on drinks and ate cupcakes. Overall, THREE THUMBS UP for a great collection! 

Never fear, Hayes is still here! Exhibition running until 1st September... 
Visit for details 
Artist: Phil Hayes | email

Enquiries 2117 2187 or email