Hidy Ng is the founder and design director of Hidy N.G, a Hong Kong-based global fashion label.
Let’s start at the beginning, what was your childhood like?
Fashion was my childhood. I remember, when I was just six-years-old, my mother would let me dress myself when we went out for dinner. Once I cried like crazy, because she handed me the wrong colour dress. I apologised and said: “This is not my colour. I am sorry mother, but I need a pink dress”. In the end, my father had to take me out to buy just the right pink outfit before we could go out for dinner.
When I was around 12 or 13, I took a class in tailor making, a paper pattern class. I quickly learnt how to make a dress for myself. I then started to wear pieces I had made, all designed and sewn by me. From that time, I fell in love with fashion. When I wasn’t yet sure that I wanted to become a designer, I knew I loved fashion and dressing up.
I have always been very feminine. When I was 16 or so, I already loved high heels, chic dresses and going out. Even today, my collections are still very feminine.
So, you always had an eye for colours and patterns?
All my inspiration comes from colour. I find colour very powerful and it continues to be me inspiration.
Do you remember the exact moment you realised you wanted to be a fashion designer?
My first job was in a fashion house as a colour coordinator. I did the colour correction and editing, and eventually worked my way up to fashion design. As a matter of fact, this is my second job. I have had my own fashion house for twenty years now. I was in my first job for four years.
Why do you think your designs are quite so popular among celebrities?
I believe my designs embellish their beauty, whilst also being practical, stylish and fashionable. Certain celebrities, when they see one of my pieces, immediately know that it comes courtesy of Hidy N.G. My designs have a unique character. While I would say some brands are feminine, we do stylish femininity. It is all about the combination of character, personality and art that we combine in each piece.
What words describe your brand aesthetic?
“Arty”, “timeless” and “confident” are the words I would choose. They apply equally to the ladies who love our brand. It is very important for those who wear our collections that they identify with the brand’s profile. I want people to feel like a star, confident and arty whenever they wear one of my designs.
I find that when people look at women who wear our pieces, they always think they look rather special. My intention as a designer is to make ladies even more beautiful and bring out their natural beauty. When designing, femininity and elegance are always my watchwords. I even see certain celebrities – notably Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn – as my muses.
Do such muses inspire every collection? Are they always in your mind?
They are a big inspiration. These ladies inspire my very spirit. When I am designing, I think, how should I approach this? How should it be delivered? Whether I find a celebrity or a muse, they are often one and the same.
You have also won quite a few awards. What do they mean to you?
I think awards are a form of encouragement. They motivate me to take the next step. They act as a form of incentive for me to – hopefully – achieve the next milestone in my life. It’s a reminder that I need to continue to work hard
How do you think Hong Kong now ranks as a fashion centre?
Hong Kong is very small and some people say it is just a follower. I don’t believe that is true.
My brand is quite international. We aren’t followers, we are part of a trend wave. We have our own character and a well-defined identity. Sadly, though, I don’t think Hong Kong is a hugely important fashion city. It is, however, a beautiful city.
What’s the strangest thing you ever eaten?
A bug in China. I don’t know the name of it. It’s a fried bug and was mixed with other ingredients but I was still able to recognise it when it was served. While it has a good taste, if you know what it is, it is far from appetising. I am told it was relatively healthy, But I am still not sure I would eat it again.
What is the scariest situation you have ever found yourself in?
I am scared about the competitive nature of the fashion industry. In early September, when I have a show to prepare for and I only have 10 percent of the collection completed and I only have one month left, then I’m scared.
What club/s are you currently a member of?
The golf club in Deep Water Bay in Hong Kong, but I haven’t been there for seven years. I did play golf regularly, for a while but Sundays are busy for me as I go to church for most of the day.
What other sports do you enjoy?
I love swimming, even though I don’t have much time for it at the moment. I still swim quite regularly when I can. I used to swim for up two hours in the sea in Sai Kung. I loved that. With my timetable, it is quite difficult to schedule now.
What keeps you awake at night?
I would say the pressure of work, but also when I am upset with someone and I am unable to forgive them. Then I pray and ask god to give me the strength to forgive. And then I try to move on.
What’s the best birthday present you have ever been given?
Flowers. I remember, several years ago, I got 100 roses from my then husband. It was very special and quite a surprise. He placed all the roses in the kitchen area at breakfast time. He woke up very early in the morning, around 7 o’clock, and told me he had to go to work early that day. When I got up and went to the pantry, I was totally surprised.
What do you look for in an ideal partner?
I think my ideal partner would need to have a high IQ. I am not blessed with a particularly high IQ, so I need someone who can understand and tolerate me. They can’t be too emotional either because I am an emotional person. I need someone who is intelligent and patient. I tend to find that people who have a high IQ are also, generally, quite patient.
When was the last time you were sick?
Three weeks ago. I had the flu, which was quite horrible. I am fine now. My most serious illness was about 15 years ago. I had a problem with my thyroids. I was on prescription medication for about four years. Finally, I realised that the medicine was not helping me and my problems had more to do with my lifestyle.
I then learned to take things gently. Before that, I wanted everything done immediately. I learned that when I took things more slowly, it had a direct impact on my recovery. Nowadays, I take it easy. Before I was a perfectionist, I always asked for 90 percent or 100 percent. Now I can accept 70 percent. I think this is a good attitude for everyone to adopt. When you are young, though, you think everything has to be perfect.
When was the last time you got lost?
I am feeling a little lost right now, especially on the business side of things. The industry is going through a difficult time. Is it time for a change? What do I need to do to succeed in the future? What should I really be doing with my life? I am currently questioning my future, everything really. But I don’t think I am alone in thinking this. It is the same for a lot of people at the moment. The world moves too fast nowadays, especially from an economic perspective.
In fact, sometimes I think I would like to be a farmer. Nowadays when you eat something, you always have to question whether it has been genetically modified or not. People are changing everything. I prefer things to be natural. Many things are no longer in their original form. More often than not, things have been synthetically re-created.
My first art pieces were called Is it from God? God is perfect, while man is not. Now everything has changed, largely because of human intervention. When you go to the supermarket and buy tomatoes they are tasteless because we have modified them to be more economical to produce.
Who do you think is the greatest person to have ever lived?
I think that would have to be my mother. She was a source of great inspiration for me. Actually, my mother and I have a very similar personality and she influenced me a lot. She loved me and I loved her, which is very important. I didn’t enjoy a good relationship with her when I was young but, when I moved out, we built a different relationship. I now understood that a mother’s love is forever.
What does the future hold for Hidy N.G.?
For now, I am focusing on producing art. Last year I created my first art pieces. I plan to do a few art pieces per year and eventually hold an exhibition. While fashion is a form of art, the abstract art pieces I create are much more personal. For example, in fashion, I need to sell what I create, whereas my art tells a much more personal story.
I use the skills I learned in the fashion industry when it comes to creating my art pieces. Last year I made them all by hand, using printing, sewing and textiles to produce my first pieces. While I might keep some for myself, if someone is interested in buying them, they are for sale. In any case, I definitely look forward to exhibiting them.