Although his parents founded women’s label Moiselle in 1997, in its current incarnation all the handprints found on the brand are those of Harris Chan, who has helped turn it into one of the most successful Hong Kong names on the international fashion stage. The 31-year-old designer regularly invites his friends to sit front-row at his shows, and they proudly go all out for the charmer who directed two landmark events in Hong Kong during 2018: Stop the Sea, beside Victoria Harbour, and the epic Stop the Air Traffic, held on the rooftop of Chek Lap Kok’s Terminal 2.
Chan meets us fresh from a trip to Shanghai, where he held an exhibition in collaboration with fashion photographer Russell James, who shot a series of exquisite black-and-white portraits. Even bigger things are in the works, however.
“Well,” he says, “a show in Paris in September 2019, a new campaign and idea to kickstart 2019 which I can’t reveal yet — but a big splash in March. We’re going to have 40 stores opening worldwide. Recently I was promoted to deputy CEO and I want to bring about a new culture and a new team structure for the whole company.
“I want to humanise Moiselle — make Moiselle a three-dimensional person. When you close your eyes, I want you to know who she is. Not just a brand.”
His passport stamps bear witness to his travels, though in the past year it’s been mostly within Asia. “I see myself as an Asian designer,” he says. “I travel nearly every week, to Shanghai, Bangkok, Singapore. And we have strategic stores in all those places, but obviously China is my biggest market” — and one where his affordable- luxury brand is enjoying record sales.
“We’ve seen tremendous growth in online sales,” says Chan. “We have four major e-channels in the mainland and a strong network. We opened stores back in 2010 in China — we had partners and franchises since 2002 — but e-commerce is where we dramatically took off in the past year. We had three-digit growth and according to several economic reports we might have been the only brand to see that.”
Chan also made strategic moves to ensure his brand has prime positioning in visibility. “Since 2015, I closed down all the wholesale and the franchises in southern China,” he says. “We saw a drop in revenue obviously, but I promised the financial department that we’ll recover within five years through the restructured company.”
As for all work and no play making Harris a dull boy, he smirks and says, “Apart from work, I don’t have much else to talk about. I enjoy being busy. It’s fun — I don’t torture myself with work, as it’s been interesting to observe human management. It inspires me, it’s my leisure and pleasure. When it’s your company you happily make certain sacrifices…”
Which clearly means a pause in his personal life. “Oh trust me, I’m very happy,” he says. “With my Asia Miles points!”
Jacket: Ring Jacket for The Armoury
T-shirt: Chan’s own
Jeans: Indigo Farm for The Armoury