I often get asked about how I transitioned my career from architecture to interior architecture to now fashion accessories design, hence I think it’s apt to start my first blog post on the story behind my design business, MASE.
I have always had a strong vision for combining various design techniques in order to create something unique which I could call my own. One of the perks of being a creative is that there is an alternative outlet to express ourselves other than words. I consider myself very lucky in that respect. For a while I dabbled in the musical world after the completion of my architectural degree and was adamant that song-writing was the outlet for me. I was so into it that I started an art collective with a good of my friend (Suki) to promote the merging of architecture, music, video-making and photography into a one-stop design solution hub. Due to our limited budget and other ongoing commitments, we never managed to fulfil our goals but I learnt a great deal from the partnership nevertheless.
My desire for finding an appropriate creative outlet eventually subsided when I started working for a medium sized architectural practice in London. For a while I thought I was happy with my achievements but deep down I knew something was missing… there was a void that needed filling. Having a 9-5 office job was great for providing financial stability but for me personally it lacked flexibility and creative freedom. I also felt like I was trapped in the office most of the time, busy churning out drawings and meeting deadlines and therefore, I had very little time for scouting for inspirations.
It was 2010, when my husband and I relocated to Hong Kong, that gave me the opportunity to reflect on my career path. Instead of jumping into another job working for an architectural firm, I decided to join a respectable furniture gallery whilst doing freelance interior design work in my spare time. It was then that I began to gain a better understanding of what I wanted to achieve as a designer. Apart from being in charge of the design and renovation of the projects I was undertaking, I also offered a bespoke personalised art print design service which allowed my clients to display artwork tailor-made for their homes. As a result I discovered my passion for digital print design and ways of applying it to various lifestyle products. In 2013, my art-inspired fashion accessories business MASE was born. I spent 2 months designing the art prints and sourcing for my first debut bag collection, this marked the beginning of my ultimate creative outlet which would further inspire me to expand my design endeavours.
Since I had no former training in fashion design, what was lacking at the start was my minimal knowledge in project management and production operation. It has taken me 2 years to fully grasp the extent of work required in order to produce a coherent collection whilst keeping it financially feasible. There have been many challenges, disappointments as well as joy in the past years, but I am confident to say that I have made the right choice in starting my own fashion business. Everyday is a new day, full of surprises and excitement. It is not easy to be an entrepreneur, but the reward you receive is worth every single sweat and tear.