Serai Spotlight (IWD edition) with Kay Wong of Fashion Clinic

March 9, 2022

On a mission to drive sustainable fashion in Hong Kong is Kay Wong, Creative Director of Fashion Clinic. Having spent the last couple years committed to giving new life to pre-loved items to divert them from landfills, her goal is to transform the fashion industry by spreading awareness. We sit down and discuss her journey from a timid child to running an international label to becoming a leader advocating equality, transparency and sustainability in fashion.

What are you most proud of in this journey of promoting sustainable fashion?

There are two major things I’ve been proud of. The first one is curating a 10 day sustainable fashion festival at The Mills in Hong Kong. We had brought 30 international brands together and held workshops and talks which created a sense of community which I feel the industry lacks. 

The second one is a recent pop-up where people could repair, reshape and redesign pre-loved clothing. From jewellery and embroidery specialists to leather restoration, we were able to create a community for head-to-toe repair and design services. We had a lot of people come in to chat and learn about these services. 

So how long have you been doing this clothes redesigning and repairing service in order to come to this milestone?

Prior to my work in upcycling, I ran a fashion label with my brother for 10 years. However, in 2016 I went to Copenhagen for a year to find inspiration for a new journey. That’s when I learnt about the extent of textile waste in the fashion industry. This was the point I decided to stop using virgin materials. In 2017 I came up with an idea to set up a fashion clinic to repair and redesign. 

So now it’s been four years and I’m happy to say there’s been a huge change in attitude, especially in Hong Kong, towards upcycling and sustainable fashion. Apart from working with individuals, we hope to make a bigger impact by working with brands and corporations. We’ve actually been approached by a lot of brands who want to explore upcycling stock material and garments. It shows that people understand the severity of this crisis.

Speaking of making a change, which women or female entrepreneur do you admire the most and why?

I would have to pick Orsola De Castro, the founder of Fashion Revolution. I really admire her for starting this movement out of her care and concern for female garment workers in the third world. 

Every April, Fashion Revolution Week commemorates the garment workers who died in the Bangladesh Rana Plaza incident. This has become a global movement and it’s amazing how much awareness she’s brought to the exploitation of garment workers.. She also compiles a report every year, gathering 300 brands to increase transparency in fashion production education. 

I’ve joined the Fashion Revolution in Hong Kong as their representative because I really believe in what she's doing.

As a fashion revolution representative in Hong Kong, what are you responsible for? 

Every year Fashion Revolution Week has a different theme. As a representative in Hong Kong, my role is to spread the message - whether through visual campaigns such as photography or posters, speaking to brands and individuals or forming partnerships. Recently I partnered with Redress for a clothes swapping initiative. 

What do you hope to see change or progress for women in the next five years?

Having lived in Denmark for a year opened my eyes to gender equality. I noticed that responsibilities there are shared 50/50. I would like to see more progress in Asia where genders stereotyping is still quite prevalent. 

What message would you like to send out to young women? 

As a child, I was always very shy and quiet and would even hide behind my mum’s skirt. When you’re a young girl, you might always feel scared but with time and patience you’ll start to believe in yourself. Just the thought of me doing an interview as a teenager would give me so much stage fright but you have to keep persevering. With hard work you’ll overcome your self-doubt and break out of your shell. Always believe in yourself! 


About the series

To celebrate International Women's Day 2022, we sat down with seven female trailblazers in the fashion and sustainability industry to talk about their struggles and challenges, career learnings and advice to young women.