Introducing Denise Ho, Hong Kong’s acclaimed stylist and Creative Director at The R Collective who led the creation of our latest fourteen-piece collection, ‘Start From Zero’. Denise combines her passion for sustainable fashion, ethics, and styling expertise to exemplify thoughtfulness in her designs here at The R Collective. We explore her inspirations and view on sustainability in fashion, as well as her advice on how she styles certain pieces from 'Start From Zero'.
What or who first inspired you to start your career in fashion and who is your muse at The R Collective?
My mom definitely inspired me to get into fashion. She was the buyer for Jean Paul Gaultier and at that time, fashion was still an untouchable luxury. My mom would introduce me to all her “fashion friends” and I was always so overwhelmed by how well put together they all were.
I honestly don’t think I have a specific muse per se. But I am always inspired by women who are wise, elegant, career-driven and has great individual style. My designs are relevant to these interesting women and I learn from them every day.
With fast fashion on the rise within the past few decades, what keeps you grounded from getting sucked into ‘trends’?
I never really get sucked into trends even as a stylist. Working with Redress for the past 6 years definitely made me realise that it is important to say 'No' to fast fashion. It was easy to get caught up because fast fashion was everywhere. But fashion does have the power to change people’s minds in a very quick way and now people are a lot more conscious when they shop.
At what point in your career did you start to prioritize sustainability and why?
I started when I had my kidswear brand. We were wasting so much fabric and money on sampling. Plus there is so much wastage in kidswear as they grow out of their clothing so quickly. I lost interest and didn’t want to do it anymore.
What role do you think sustainability has in fashion and will have in the industry’s future? What about in your future?
There are definitely a lot more technology solutions these days and I can see that everyone is working more closely together than ever. In the future, I do feel that sustainability will not be divided as another category, it will be mandatory for all fashion brands.
Has becoming a mother changed the way that you feel about humans’ impact and interaction with the World and ultimately, climate change?
For sure, I definitely wanted to focus more on positive change. As a mother, it’s only natural that’s I am worried about the future and I just want the best for my baby.
How do you feel you are making an impact on your environment and coworkers through your designs at The R Collective and with the new launch of Start From Zero?
Our focus is to reduce waste and we work with a collaborative model. From being close to our supply chain, we source waste from mills, manufacturers and luxury brands to manufacturing to the design studio all the way to post-consumer. I mean there is just so so much waste out there! Also with The R Collective, we work closely with design experts and innovative partners to figure out solutions to produce better collections. Creating dialogues is very important for us.
We love how you've styled the Brooks Top! Tell us, how do you style it for different occasions?
Our main collection redefines closet staples that go well with all the eclectic pieces in your wardrobe. For this Brooks Top, the subtle checks can be mixed and matched with other checks/patterns or it can add a little something to a plain outfit. The draped neck is a good feminine alternative if you ever get tired of a plain neck. It can be casual and dressy at the same time. For winter, I would layer it with a long sleeve and for the warmer weather, I just wear it as it is. So it’s good for all year round.
Describe how you envision the future of The R Collective. How does the sustainable community catalyse positive change in the fashion industry?
It’s about growing that community who shares the same values. The R Collective started because we’re a counter effect with a serious problem that is happening in our industry today. I hope our customers will recognize this, start dialogues with one another because they love great clothes and share the same values. It’s all positive.