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Made in Hong Kong: Anthony Hill, menswear designer

Time OutBy Time Out Hong Kong (28 Mar 2012)
All eyes on you!
Utter the three words ‘menswear’, ‘England’ and ‘Hill’ and you’ll probably think of Dunhill, the British gentleman’s outfitters. But we reckon for Hong Kong, you should think of Anthony Hill. The womenswear-turned-menswear designer launched his eponymous label in November last year, and is about to make a big name for himself in the fragrant harbour. The 32-year-old rejects the idea of that brand of officious satire which is reminiscent of Dunhill – and he aims to create a rakish and dangerous look for Hong Kong’s city gents.

The Central St Martin’s graduate and former classmate of fellow designer Gareth Pugh was brought to Hong Kong in 2005 following a career move. He soon started a personal project to make blazers and trousers for himself, and the creative venture soon generated a momentum of its own. Friends and families started asking about his designs, and Hill launched his label last year, proudly flying the ‘Made in Hong Kong’ flag. Here, he tells us how to choose quality menswear and more...

That’s a nice suit you’ve got on!
I get people who said to me ‘He’s the new suit guy’. But I’m not the new suit guy! We don’t do suits!
We cater for the dress down Friday crowd. There are brands like Gap and Brooks Brothers which offer a boxier fit for these people – but we want to provide a more British, fitter and sharper twist.

Men’s smart casual clothes look similar even if you look at different brands. What distinguishes between a good and a bad jacket?
With a lot of cheap suits, there’s a lot of what we call ‘fused’ – fusing the outer shell and the lining together. They glue the lining to the outer shell. And, when you move, the jacket moves funny. High end jackets are ‘canvassed’; there’s a separate piece of fabric between the lining and the outer shell. If you buy an expensive suit, you can pull them apart and you can feel the third fabric in between. That’s how Savile Row will make their suits. They ‘canvas’ everything and they’re built inside out, essentially like a 3D subject.

How do you differentiate a pair of chinos at Gap and at Brooks Brothers?
Same again – it’s really the fabrics. My chinos are 98 percent cotton and two percent elastane. You can feel the softness. And there’s also the hand finishing and the seams look smarter.

In men’s fashion magazines, the editors tend to give a lot of instructions and tips on how to dress. Why do they do that?
Men are actually becoming more educated [in fashion] and they are beginning to care. Men just need to enjoy shopping, enjoy buying things and getting dressed in the morning. I get up every day as if I’m going to an interview because you never know who you’re going to meet. And I enjoy going through ties and jackets and putting together an outfit. I mean, thanks to people like David Beckham and Tom Ford, men want to impress now. And first impressions are big impressions. It makes a big difference. Dress how you want to be perceived.

Kawai Wong

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