Designer Q&A With Isabel Wong


Tell us about your family background and where you were born.

I was born and raised in York and my family are from Hong Kong. 


How did you get into fashion design?

I come from a very creative family and enjoyed art and design at a very young age so it was quite natural for me to enrol in a fashion course at college and then complete a degree in fashion design. I always wanted to work for myself and so I decided to set up my own business


Did you always want to be a designer? 

I wanted to be a media make up artist or a costume designer before I got into fashion. I'm still very much interested in both industries but I do love having my own label


Where did you train?

I studied at Edinburgh College of Art and in my final year interned for Gareth Pugh and Giles Deacon as a pattern cutter


Who are your favourite designers? 

It's quite varied but one of my absolute favourites is Hussein Chalayan - he's a great story teller and a true innovator. I love the way he can create beautiful pieces with very conceptual ideas. 

Celine is one of my favourites - clean cut minimal design and impeccable finish. Very feminine wearable design 


What do you like most about your job?

It's very rewarding to see someone wearing my designs and particularly when a private client requests a bespoke design. Aside from that, pattern cutting is definitely the best part of my job. It is the most skillful, the most challenging and the most satisfying when everything comes together at the end. I'm very hands on with all aspects of my business and I think it's important to enjoy every part of it too. Photoshoots and fashion shows are the exciting parts as it takes me out of the studio - I get to do something different and also have the opportunity to work with the most talented and creative make up artists, models and photographers.


  ...What about bespoke or commissions?

I also freelance and take on commissioned work which means I get to design and make a lot of different types of garments. Every project is unique because I work around my clients and their requirements. I can really build my knowledge and hone my skills as a pattern cutter. Training at university and gaining industry experience taught me the basics but the projects I've completed for clients in childrenswear, bridal, menswear and accessories, have made this my profession. I have had some unusual requests I love to take on a challenge. I learn something new everyday and will probably continue to do so for the rest of my life!  


What are your hobbies and what do you do in your spare time?

I'm lucky to say that my hobby is my job! I never get the time for anything else but when I do it's usually something creative like illustrating or photography. I love being active when I get the chance to so a good long swim or scenic walk. Most importantly I try to relax and wind down and make an effort to see friends and family


What's your favourite food?

Anything spicy! I'm quite experimental with food and will try pretty much anything. I'm a fairly healthy eater and love my fruit and veggies but I can honestly say I'm a sucker desserts! Tiramisu, ice cream, frozen yoghurt, cheesecake... You name it, I'm there. 


If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?

Paris is one of my favourite places I've been to but if I could go anywhere, I'd probably travel the world! I have family in Hong Kong so it's always nice to be there. 


Finally, if you could give some advice, what would you say to those who want to set up their own label?

The most important thing is to be passionate about it. Know your brand and the direction you want it to go in. Have knowledge in every aspect of the business - design, production, finance, PR. Even in you don't have expertise in certain areas, it's always good to have some basic knowledge and you can always get professional advice. Expect to be working 24/7! This industry is incredibly demanding and if you're a workaholic like me, there will be many all nighters to come.