Yat Pit (meaning ‘one stroke’ in Cantonese) was conceived through the diasporic collaboration between two designers – On-Ying Lai and Jason Mui. At its core, the clothing brand sought, and is still seeking, to revive, secure and ensure Chinese fashion design has an essential place in your wardrobe. The label reworks classic Chinese wear into everyday wardrobe pieces, taking cues from traditional Chinese clothes to do so – garments which, from dynasty to dynasty, have maintained a similarly bulky, gender-neutral silhouette.
"We decided to promote Chinese clothing to this generation and not have our outfit choices only being dominated by Western aesthetics.”
This presentation by Jade Palace features photography by Harry Chan of Yat Pit's 2018 collection in Sham Shui Po: Hong Kong’s garment and electronic district, a traditionally working-class but slowly gentrifying area. Says Jason: "We love Hong Kong's vernacular. People think Sham Shui Po is a little bit rough, but that's where all the great stuff comes from. People here have to make do, they have to DIY, they have to fix their shoes and fix their bags. They don't just buy new stuff to replace what they have.
"We take a lot of our inspiration from Sham Shui Po, but instead of just taking, we want to show that we are part of the fabric of the community.”
Instead of a cliché runway setup, Lai and Mui set up market stalls – like the ones iconic to the area – with friends doubling up as models and sales associates for the latest collection, creating a real, see-now-buy-now experience. They also produced a lookbook, with all proceeds going to restaurant owner, chef and philanthropist Cheuk-Ming Chan AKA Brother Ming to help continue his efforts in providing free meals to the underprivileged elderly and poor of the neighbourhood.
“We don’t want to be that brand,” says Mui. “Some new, little, gentrifying fashion brand that just takes over a market stall and turns it into a pop-up store. Instead, we hope that we can have a permanent place here and continue to contribute.”