There’s no doubt Alex Lam inherited his musical talent from his parents, his father being Cantopop legend George Lam Chi-Cheung, and his mother, Sally Yeh. Still, the singer-songwriter and actor hasn’t let privilege get to his head — he’s not afraid to explore other paths, from a stint in Los Angeles to discover yoga and becoming a yoga teacher, to dipping his toes in fashion.
Lam met Hiro Yoshikawa, founder and designer of Washi Jeans, a Japanese denim brand, a couple years back and was intrigued by the designer’s backstory. Now based in Hong Kong, Yoshikawa is the 18th generation of a revered sake maker in Okayama, Japan, and the first to leave the family business to pursue his own passion in denim-making. By chance, Yoshikawa had found an old document that charted out his family’s history, written on washi paper. Inspired by this, he developed and patented the Washi No. 6 paper yarn, which he utilizes in his first solo collection launching this month.
Lam, who has always had an eye for detail, quickly became an ambassador and muse for Yoshikawa, and took it upon himself to bring the recognition Yoshikawa deserves by helping him stage his upcoming solo debut.
We sit down with Alex Lam and Hiro Yoshikawa at Washi Jean’s studio to talk about style and the upcoming debut of Yoshikawa’s solo collection Life on Earth.
Can you describe your style? What are your wardrobe essentials?
AL: My style has always been inspired by musicians. I grew up watching some of my favourite bands like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and today, I’m inspired by singers like Drake. For me, my summer essentials include a sleeveless vest, a good multi-functional blazer and a pair of high-quality designer jeans.
Have you always been passionate about fashion and did you want to work in fashion?
AL: I have always cared about how I look and my outfits since I was a kid. I remember there was one time when the collar of my t-shirt wasn’t right and I wouldn’t wear it out until my parents fixed it for me. Having friends who are in the fashion industry allows me to execute and experiment my ideas during workshops, like the ‘marshmallow’ colourway of the t-shirt I’m wearing right now.
How did the both of you meet?
AL: I met Hiro-san thought some of our mutual friends.
HY: have been making jeans for other brands for the past 30 years and it has always been my dream to have my own denim brand. I have always hung out with people from the fashion industry, and meeting Alex from the music and acting world has made my life more fun and exciting.
Can you tell us a bit about your project with Hiro-san?
AL: I was hanging out with a group of producers and we often talk about fashion shows, designer brands’ videos, installation art and music. Once we found out Hiro-san wanted to launch his own denim brand this year, we decided to catch this opportunity and put our ideas together. We are organising a VIP launch event with a fashion show on June 11, 2021.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome with this project?
AL: I think the rules of the game changed after Covid started last year. We looked at online fashion shows last year, without the tradition styles, and we knew our team needed to do it in a cleverer way. The restriction for event gathering is 30 persons at the moment, so we were not able to invite too many friends and make the event as big as before. Plus the campaign and fashion show video shoot all in one day, that’s the biggest challenge in this project.
HY: We have been staying in our studio almost every day is the past few months, meeting different parties like our PR team, models, videographers and producers.
What else are you up to this year that you can share with us?
AL: I have released a new song and I just finished a music video for another song. I have also been working on my YouTube channel and created a few series, but it’s been slightly slowed down because I was focusing in this project.
Has the pandemic affected the way you work or changed your priorities?
AL: Before Covid, I was busy working with clients, who often prepared everything. With changes and restrictions during this period, I am able to organise and create more content by myself.
What are you currently inspired by?
AL: There are many indie musicians and young kids out there who are doing their music in their unique styles. I admire them a lot as they can release songs as long as they think it sounds good. I used think good music requires the best studio and recording equipment, but turned out a lot of indie musicians are producing high quality songs just by working at home.
You have a YouTube channel, you’re into fashion, music as well as classic cars. How did you get into each of those passions and how do you balance it all?
AL: Project by project. I’m now focusing more on quantity over quality and I’ll keep learning from the progress and mistakes.
Do you have a motto you live by?
Stay healthy. As I was a yoga teacher, I still practice yoga for two to three hours each day. It’s a good way to reflect on myself and find peace.