Calvin Chan and Joyce Kun, co-founders of Hong Kong-based menswear label The World is Your Oyster, talks to us about hope and turmoil, poetic soils and subverting conversations in menswear.
While the womenswear market is somewhat saturated, an exciting, sparser world of menswear has bought forth a whole host of interesting, often radical propositions. The changing notions of masculinity and romanticism in the modern era have pushed designers to express this through their creativity and energy.
Calvin Chan and Joyce Kun started their label theworldisyouroyster.net in 2014, going on to show at Shanghai Fashion Week and being tapped in 2017 one of the “10 Asian Designers to Watch” for Fashion Asia in Hong Kong. This season they’re taking on the world of contemporary art and design as inspiration, seeking to challenge traditional boundaries. Reimagining style or “a new generation of gentleman”, they serve classic models deconstructed and refitted and exaggerated to form new silhouettes with a nod to the traditional.
Joyce Kun: The World Is Your Oyster is about exploration, experiment and emotion. We encourage wearers to proudly stand out with designs that capture style, but also celebrate a way to live. It’s created for a new generation of gentleman, so every design is rich in character. We juxtapose traditional, clean silhouettes with imaginative, modern details, to creates clothing for open minds, free spirits and poetic souls.
Calvin Chan: It’s definitely affected our approach to fashion, as well as other aspects. With our life motto, “the world is your oyster”, we’re hoping to make a statement and spread this message through our brand and designs.
CC: At the beginning of each season, we’ll discuss things that inspired us. We often have different opinions (maybe due to our gender differences); one of us tends to be more practical and another is more dreamy
JK: We won’t say there’s no disagreement during the whole process, but it’s often more interesting to have things seen in different perspectives, allowing both of us to think more and make decisions with well-balanced consideration. It would be so dull if we agreed on everything during the process. So we’ll both work on the designs together, but we also specialise in other different aspects of work to be more efficient
CC: In our spring/summer collection, we tried to adopt an outsider’s point of view to look at how fashion really is aiming to challenge traditional boundaries and ideas. We were mainly inspired by the constant changes of contemporary art and design. We get inspiration from the beauty and creativity that can be found in the seemingly innocuous utility of an object or material. The whole collection explores this idea with pieces that subvert fashion conventions. It dissolves stereotypes by mixing different elements to create new forms.
JK: As for autumn/winter, the whole process of developing the collection was an emotional rollercoaster to both of us. We’ve tried to find something positive in the negative and create new possibilities. It’s been hard not to be affected by what’s been happening in our hometown. In light of the societal turbulence, we’ve sought to explore the nuances of where destruction ends and creation begins, in an innovative collection that embodies hope.
JK: There are more organisations and government funding to help promote Hong Kong fashion to locals. We think the awareness of Hong Kong fashion brands has been growing, but it still needs time to develop. The local youngsters are generally more fashion-conscious than before , due to exposure to different social media — @theworld_is_youroyster is our Instagram handle.
CC: Emotion. We like to take emotion as an inspiration; we transform it into the details and mood of the collection. It gives us more imagination and ideas to make a collection.