PHVLO HATCH’s FW21: Taking it One Season at a Time
Three years after the opening of PHVLO Hatch,
we chat with founder, Johanna Ho, on how the
interior design has served the space’s purpose.
Fashion designer and connector of dots, Johanna speaks of “sustainability” as a 360-degree circular system, one that not only encompasses the environment—as most people would believe—but interwoven elements of people, communities, crafts, industries, economies…
Johanna chooses to work on the human aspect of the ecosystem, a purpose which drove her to found PHVLO HATCH to connect people with the history of Sham Shui Po, with craft and creativity, and with opportunities.
“Sham Shui Po used to be a real
fashion hub, where people from all
around the world and all walks of life
come to discover fabrics.”
PHVLO HATCH is the reincarnation of a three-storey textile shop that dated back to the 70’s. Johanna explains. Since most textile factories have moved to China, the tailors and seamstresses of the glory days have resolved to working as caretakers, doing house work, or working at fast food outlets. The original plan for PHVLO HATCH imagined a café on the ground floor, an atelier on the first floor, and an exhibition space on the top floor, all with the objective of giving back to the community by facilitating training and exchange, ultimately bridging older craftsmen and craftswomen with the younger generation. Colour Brown— a café that uses eco-friendly coffee beans—occupies the ground floor, offering a social space for the neighbourhood and training for young baristas. The intention for the first floor was a fashion sample room, where traditional pattern cutters, tailors, and seamstresses would run workshops for aspiring designers. The multi-purpose area upstairs would be a space for creatives to congregate, whether for talks, exhibitions, or shows.
Johanna soon realised her enthusiasm for obsolete crafts was not reciprocated by either party—the younger generation did not see the value in traditional craft, while the older generation had the heart but not the physical energy to teach. On top of that, the past two tumultuous years have posed obstacles for in-person workshops and further deterred elderly from venturing outside. With the ground floor enjoying much success, Johanna decided to close the atelier and convert it into an extension of the coffee shop, offering exhibition and workshop space for aspiring baristas and coffee business owners to get more holistic training. The art space on the top floor is incredibly unique because people see the building itself as a feature, with many original features like the flooring and staircase intact. Following the same thread of repurposing, the exhibitions are less about building new things, but rather, looking at how to make use of old things, for example, upcycled furniture or art pieces made of items picked off the street.
The name of the game is staying relevant.
“We need to be transient and create a balance between the initial dream and the reality. Even in fashion, you cover one season, and then you adapt and move onto the next. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed! We live in a very different world and it takes open mindedness to question what we need as human beings. Change is good” says Johanna.
With the atelier repurposed, Johanna has gone from being 100% active in the forefront to taking the backseat. Although the usage of the space has evolved, it still realizes the original vision of nurturing connections and creating opportunity. She mentors local design students and connects them with projects, the most recent one being a collaboration with Rosewood, in which one-of-a-kind fashion pieces were created using the hotel’s out-of-service bed linens.
“We want to show young people that art and design doesn’t have to be bling bling. Here in Sham Shui Po, we bring creativity back down to earth.”
The message she wants to convey is that creativity has no boundaries. For the longest time in Hong Kong, art and design has been a luxury hobby for the rich. PHVLO HATCH has become a living space that evolves according to its users’ needs, but the enduring vision is to be a platform for education and inspiration, and an outlet for the younger generation to create. Johanna has been the connector of this creative commune, and reflecting on PHVLO HATCH’s journey thus far, she says, “My job has been fulfilled.”
The collaboration with PHVLO HATCH allowed us to communicate their narrative while giving us the opportunity to do good for the community. Interested in working together? Drop us a message!