GLUSH/ is an indie handbag brand, selling across Hong Kong, China and in 3939 on London’s Kingsland Road.
Founder and Hong Kong fashion designer, Grace Chan, asserts her left of centre self through peculiar materials and fun colours for her handbag range. They have become a talking point amongst Hong Kong fashion trends. The evergreen Grassy range of AstroTurf accessories anchor the brand, with complementary travel and tote bags seasonally developed. Our man in Hong Kong, Jim Morrall, talks with Grace about owls, AstroTurf and boobs…
JM: What is your role at GLUSH/?
GC: I founded the brand, design every item, sell them, promote them, I do everything for it. It’s like a hard-core lovers’ relationship – you would just do whatever possible (or impossible) for it.
JM: So you do GLUSH/ on your own?
GC: GLUSH/ was founded by me and I have two partners who are very good friends. They give me a good balance of product development and marketing direction, and to keep me from going too crazy. I’m the main person running it though, so yes, madwoman I am!
JM: What is your favourite material to work with?
GC: So far, I have two; AstroTurf and recycled cork.
JM: Is there an eco element to your product?
GC: Not directly. GLUSH/ explores into various kinds of materials apart from leather, as its supply chain is rather unhealthy with such a high demand worldwide. We still appreciate leather goods but we are trying to stay away from being one of those demanders.
JM: If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
GC: If I were an animal… That’s a tough question! I guess I can tell you what kind of animal I want to be – an owl! First of all, they are quite cute (some people might think they look scary though), they are pretty well rounded (they can turn their heads all the way round), and they don’t need to sleep at night! The fact that they have special adaptive feather structures to allow for silent flight is simply amazing!
JM: Don’t you feel like owls are a bit Fall 2012?
GC: Haha, I don’t care about trends at all!
JM: Give us a few anecdotes about your travels with GLUSH/
GC: The most interesting one is definitely our very first trade fair in Tokyo last year. I brought over a big piece of AstroTurf for display, and from the first hour on, all I hear from the visitors is “Kawaii!” (very cute!) or “Kakkoii!” (super cool!) or “Sugoi!” (the best!), and they couldn’t stop stroking the grass. Even when I was carrying the Grassy clutch underarm, people started touching the turf – that’s the only thing separating my ahem… boobs and their hands!! I love the fact that the Grassy collection always puts a smile on people’s face. I simply love this direct communication though air (you don’t even have to say a word) with strangers in various countries. It’s like the universal baby language.
JM: Do you think people were touching the bags to get closer to your boobs?
GC: Haha! Or you can think it the other way round… Maybe I want to get touched!
JM: You mention that fashion can be a direct communication with strangers. What is the message you want to say with your work? What message do you think is normally received?
GC: My messages are simple – I just want to bring a smile to everyone, and remind them to appreciate and respect themselves. GLUSH/ bags are quite quirky in style, they are only for the confident ones to carry as you will need some guts to wear a piece of grass out, drawing attention on the street with all the people smiling at you. Only because they find it bizarre and fun!
JM: I hear that you’re an avid hip-hop dancer?
GC: I love love love dancing and I started taking jazz classes when I was twelve. And when I was sixteen, I changed to a new studio right behind my school and that’s when I got hooked with hip hop (old school!!), I ended up there every night, and that was when I became a freelance dancer, which I did until I graduated from uni. Fun times performing in tours, concerts, music videos and stuff!
JM: If you had to communicate GLUSH/ through the medium of dance which genre or choreographer would you pick?
GC: It would be something like a mix of hip-hop, jazz funk, and lyrical.
For more on the GLUSH/ handbag range and Hong Kong fashion see GLUSH/