Student. Designer. When associated with fashion design, these two words can be a curse. An instant flash of over-the-top, overeager fashion engulfs the brain. For some, the words represent a pit-less plot, a graveyard of such, where creativity comes to die. Of course the opposite can also be true and Chailie Ho, 25, is proving this. Only recently did she decide to pick up a needle and thread, let alone create entire garments. Born and raised in Hong Kong her vernacular is as soft and delicate as the work she creates. In just a short period she’s had stints for legendary names like Clements Ribeiro and Hussein Chalayan. The designer has also had work shown in various exhibitions across London and in Denmark. In just a few months she’ll graduate from arguably the best fashion design school in the world, London’s Central Saint Martins. With her degree in foresight and a pulsating ambition, she just might be ready to take on the industry. I sat down at Match Bar in Central London to have a chat with Ms. Ho and of course a sip of Earl Grey. (I know, I know’ tea in London. How original?)
So how long have you been designing?
Two and a half years.
Wow two and a half years? Do you mean seriously designing, or was this the first time you picked up a needle and thread?
That was the first time I picked up a needle and thread.
What made you get into design?
Well, I actually began in fashion retailing, and then I just decided to get into design. I’ve always been into drawing.
Did you have any design challenges at first?
Oh I had so much trouble sticking to one idea. It is very hard to commit yourself to just one idea when you want to do so many things. The way people work here it is just so different than my country.
In what way?
In my country, when people design they add a lot of different elements and copy a lot of different stuff, then add it all together.
And here it’s more focused on one idea and how to keep developing it.
So here you kind of start with nothing.
There’s such a difference between eastern and western design techniques, do you think that is why?
Yes. The west has so much more of a fashion history than us. That history has had a longer time to develop than ours. In China people do have [a lot of] history in individual design and creative design but in the west they have [hundreds and hundreds] more years. And how people think in the
culture too, it’s just different.
When you came to London to attend CSM was this the first time?
No I came here before when I was 18.
So what made you choose London, instead of New York or anywhere else in the world?
Well I was going to try F.I.T. (Fashion Institute of Technology) but [instead] I just chose Central Saint Martins.
How would you describe your most recent work?
It’s very quiet and soft. I like to play with layering and movement. I enjoy designing something that attracts the hands’it makes you want to touch it.
Are there any designers you’re particularly inspired by?
I like the work of Roland Mouret. He just had this way of using fabric that was just amazing and also Balenciaga.
What do you like about Balenciaga?
I like the original creations and the work from [Nicolas Ghesquiere]. It’s so balanced and structured and the cut’it’s just all a perfect match.
Well, I bet you where very happy when Balenciaga made such a strong comeback a couple seasons ago?
Yes! I was ‘it was amazing?
So how would you describe your personal style?
I dress for work, so, very comfortably. But I love to dress up when I get the chance; like when I go out with my boyfriend or hang out with friends.
Do you design a lot of personal items for yourself?
Actually I don’t. So far most of my work is course work. it only happens when I need something fast. Like if I need a bag to go with something.
When I need it it’s like OH MY GOD’and I sew something
Ha!It must be good to be a designer?
So who have you worked for recently?
How was that?
When I interned for Hussein Chalayan it was amazing, I went to Paris to assist for the show. I was in the studio. It was great.
Chalayan’s work is so theoretical. Especially all the mechanical aspects, as a designer are you interested in that style?
I think designing a mechanical dress is interesting, but right now I am more interested in the possibility of the fabric. I looooove fabric.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the increase in eco-friendly fashion. Mostly because of global warming and natural disasters. Do you have any thoughts?
I think when we (designers) design we should always be concerned with the production and how the design is made. It’s all about minimizing the waste. This is everyone’s responsibility.
So what’s after graduation?
I was thinking about doing a masters degree but I’m still not sure. I do want to go to New York though eventually. Who knows? Many people think that designing is glamorous but if you’re into it, then you know it’s very hard work. As a designer we of course expect to earn some money, but not a lot.
So anything else you want to add?
Not many people have the opportunity to do something creative in life. I think the work of a designer affects a lot of people. I want to fully experience this industry. Even it takes my entire life, I want to be apart of it.