Tsai Ming Hung

FROM TAIWAN TO SINGAPORE. WITH A DOG. PLEASE MEET MR HOWARD. 从台湾到新加坡,来这儿与Mr. Howard见面吧。

Ming Hung is from Taiwan and he has been living in Singapore for a long time, since he was a high school student. He is currently trying to turn his passion for fashion into a full time job. After working for other labels, he recently established his own brand, Mr Howard, and he is really determined to turn it into a successful experience.

蔡明宏(音译)祖籍台湾,中学时移居新加坡,自此在这个国家扎根。在为多个品牌工作多年后,洪明正式转型做设计师,并创立了自己的品牌“Mr. Howard”;对时尚的热爱、丰富的经验以及对于这份事业的执着让洪明深信自己会获得成功。

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We met for a coffee at the Contemporary Art Museum in Singapore, and we discussed present, past and future over a cup of very foamy cappuccino.

此次的采访我和洪明约在了新加坡当代艺术博物馆,在卡布奇诺香浓的氤氲中,洪明开始讲述自己的创业故事。

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What is different about working for an independent designer, as opposed to working for someone else as a designer?

If you’re working for others, you can feel it as a restriction – you need to follow what their brand is like and its direction. I worked for other designers before, but now it’s totally different because I have my own freedom and season after season I can develop my own thoughts. To me, design should have no restriction, because it’s the only place where you can express what you’re feeling and thinking – without boundaries. Mr. Howard is someone that I made up – he is not afraid to show his character, his lifestyle, what he likes and what he does. I would like to be him.

为别人做设计与自己独立做设计师有哪些区别?

为别人工作的时候会明显感觉到限制,你必须了解品牌内容而且需要紧跟趋势。以前,我为其他的设计师工作,现在感受完全不同。我有更多的自由,而且每一季我都会有自己独立的想法。我认为设计不应有任何限制,因为只有在设计中你才能任意抒发思想。Mr.Howard是我创造出来的人物,他会勇敢地展示他的性格、他的生活方式、他的喜好以及他的行为。我希望自己能做Mr.Howard。

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What does the dog in your logo represent?

I have a dog, his name is Peanut. I’m alone here in Singapore, my family being in Taiwan. Peanut keeps me company – I’ve always loved animals, but with him it’s different. He is important to me and he shows me his affection. And Mr Howard has a dog as well. That’s the dog on the logo. I’m currently working on an avant-garde line and the dog will play a major role. You’ll see!

品牌Logo里面的狗代表什么?

我养了一只狗叫花生,它是我在新加坡的伙伴,因为我的家人都在台湾。我一直都很喜欢动物,但是花生对我的意义不同。Mr.Howard也有一只狗,就是品牌logo上面的那只。目前,我正在创作品牌的另一支“先锋”系列,Mr.Howard的狗会在其中担任很重要的角色。你们很快就会看到的!

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Is there a difference between Chinese and Singaporean people?

My impression is that despite the higher spending power Singaporeans are not so daring, especially when it comes to dressing – there is some kind of social restriction. I guess it’s also because people here are more up-to-date, informed and, in general, better educated. These are all elements that brake personal expression. People might also be a bit colder, and you do feel the difference if you are here by yourself – but the environment is much safer and, moreover, the government itself is quite towards the direction of fashion – which makes a big different for independent designers.

新加坡人与中国人之间有什么不同?

在我看来,尽管新加坡人的购买力更强,但中国人更具有冒险精神,尤其是在个人着装这方面。我想可能是因为有一些社会限制,新加坡人更加紧跟潮流,对信息更敏锐,受教育程度也更高。以上这些元素限制了个人表达,所以人们可能会表现的更冷静,如果你在新加坡你可能会明显感受到。但是新加坡的环境更安全,政府本身也很支持时尚产业,这对于独立设计师而言非常重要。

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Is your label avant-garde?

Well, I guess it depends on what you mean. To me, being an avant-guard designer means being able to be represented by my own creations – which is pretty unusual nowadays. In Mr Howard’s case, the avant-garde is all in the details – pockets, folding, stitching. Of course it’s challenging – details come at a high price, and consequently make every piece harder to sell. But I’m willing to try even harder if it’s necessary – this is something I should not compromise on.

你的品牌属于“先锋”类型吗?

这点我觉得要看你怎么定义。对我来说,先锋设计师意味着要用自己独有的创作说话,而这个在今天是不太常见的。就拿Mr.Howard这个品牌来说,先锋元素存在于作品所有的细节中,包括口袋、折线、针脚。这对设计师来说是个挑战,因为细节也意味着代价高,最终每件作品的售价也就不低。但是,我愿意为此努力,因为我不希望在这个方面妥协。

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Do you see yourself running Mr. Howard for a long time?

I think I will try to do it as long as possible. During the years I developed a customers base which is pretty solid and stable: they are very supportive, and they normally buy new pieces as soon a collection is out. My customers come mostly from art and fashion communities – I guess they have the right sensitivity to understand what I’m doing. Moreover, I’m also more and more involved with made-to-measure. It’s not time for me to give up!

有没有觉得自己会长久地将Mr.Howard品牌做下去?

我会努力将这个品牌经营下去。过去这些年,我们拥有了一批忠实稳定的顾客群;他们对品牌非常支持,而且全新系列一旦发售,他们就会购买。我的顾客从事艺术和时尚产业的比较多,我想他们能够理解我的创作。不仅如此,我现在也开始接受定制单子,我想我会坚持下去!

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Do you enjoy doing made-to-measure?

I enjoy it but sometimes it gets… weird. Well, I need to confess it: it’s something I’m a bit scared of. It’s not easy to understand what a person wants, take the right measurements, especially if you are meeting them for the first time. And I do and sew everything by myself – only ask for help to tailors when I’m stuck. So I feel the pressure and the responsibility – for me the most important thing is that my customers are satisfied. When I deliver a made-to-measure piece it’s like I’m giving away a piece of me!

你享受当下的定制服务吗?

还不错,不过有时候事情会…有点怪。噢,这点我必须得坦白一件事:我对现在这个服务有点…害怕。要完全了解人们的需求,还要量取的准确,这点很不容易,尤其大家第一次见面的时候。我自己会动手干活,也自己会做缝纫;只有我在干活卡住的时候才会请师傅们帮忙。所以我觉得很有压力,因为对我来说最重要的是让我的顾客满意,这也是我的责任。每次将定制的服装送达顾客的时候,我都觉得是把自己的一部分送出去了。

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What’s coming next for you?

I’m working on my second line, and Peanut is going to be the main character. It’s a collection made of T-shirts with different prints. I’m still working on the sketches, but I’m very excited. Also I wouldn’t mind collaborating with a Taiwanese painter. It’s too early to plan everything, but we are both very interested in this project. I’ll make you guys know when it’s happening!

下一步你有什么计划?

我现在正在准备第二个系列,花生是这个系列的主人公。这个系列以T恤为主,印有不同的设计图案。现在我还在画图阶段,但我非常兴奋;要说明一点,我很期待跟台湾的艺术家合作。当然,现在讨论这些也还太早,我会及时告诉你们最新进展的!

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Ming Hung is, like most independent fashion designers I met, a dreamer. At the same time, he has a very sharp attitude and he knows that at the end of the day this passion of his has to be sustainable and profitable to make sense. And it doesn’t matter how hard it’s going to be, he wants to get to the point where his brand his established and known internationally.

我已经采访过很多独立设计师,他们大多数人和洪明一样,拥有自己的梦想。蔡明宏的事业态度更加鲜明,也更清楚热情只有落地才能持久并且让自己和他人受益。无论是遇到什么样的困难,只要能建立品牌并且推至全国乃至世界才是他想要的成功。

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A Singaporean by now, he often looks back to his home country, Taiwan – and he is currently working with a Taiwanese designers on a project, still top-secret, which will involve both his roots and the love for his adopted country. Will see where this leads him! It just sounds so exciting so far!

身在新加坡的洪明经常回忆起在台湾的岁月;目前他正在与一名台湾设计师合作,项目暂时保密,内容应该关于他对于台湾的感情以及对于新加坡的热爱。我们一起期待他的最新作品吧,目前听来一切都很精彩。

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Ming Hung ha lasciato Taiwan quando si e’ trasferito a Singapore all’eta’ di 13 anni. Dopo aver finito il liceo, ha iniziato a lavorare come fashion designer per vari brand locali. Insoddisfatto a causa della mancanza di liberta’, ha fondato Mr Howard, marchio avant-garde di abbigliamento uomo. Da allora la sua vita e’ cambiata e, nonostante le difficoltà e le sfide, Ming Hung e’ determinato a far conoscere il suo lavoro anche all’estero. Buona fortuna!

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For the pictures, special thanks t0 Mr Howard.

图片由Mr Howard友情提供。

 

Translation by Jasmine Wang.

翻译由Jasmine Wang完成.

 


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