Hello everyone~! I am back with another batch of mini interviews featuring super cool creatives!! It's been a while since I got one of these out and I'm so excited to share some more insight about awesome designers! This entry features another local designer from Toronto! A cool streetwear brand with bold designs.
Hieng Tang - Designer and Owner of 1% Talent
I have not personally met Hieng, but I have seen his work displayed in the artists alley/crafters corner of Anime North. I believe even one year, I saw his booth at Anime Expo!! (that was quite some time ago, probably around 2015) His designs really stand out and are so funky! Perhaps I'll have a chance to personally introduce myself once the world situation is a little safer and we can go to cons and events again!
I asked Hieng when he started his brand, as well as when he decided that he wanted to put his artwork on clothing and accessories: "I've always had the idea of 1%talent even before I could point it out and had always been drawn towards making some sort of brand. When I graduated art school, it became more of a concrete thing I wanted to do. I've been learning screen printing as a way of exploring different media, and naturally I started putting my designs on fabric and later clothing."
(I really love all the animals that he designs!! They are so cool and I just love the style.)
Designing wearable goods can be a lot of fun, especially when you see your products being worn for the first time!! I asked Hieng what he likes most about designing wearable goods.
"The best part is at the end: when the design becomes a real product. Until that point, it feels like imagination, just this idea in my head. Having a real product in your hand makes me feel like I've chanted a spell to create magic."
(Some small pouch keychains! From concept and sketches to the final product.)
I asked Hieng was aspect of fashion he likes. Actually, his answer was a lot more true to the reality of things.
"Fashion used to feel more creative: so cool and mysterious. It was a real way to present yourself, and that can make a person feel confident. But lately, to be honest I kind of hate fashion. It's become so manufactured. Style has become so cookie-cutter and consumerist. That doesn't exempt 1%Talent either, but I hope that I can still stay true to myself."
At this point in life, fashion is sort of a hard thing to be truly unique with because there are so many things exist. For consumers, the way to show uniqueness is essentially by coordinating the special pieces they have in a way that best suits what you want to express in life. For us creators, we want to show our personal touch on our creations while, of course, still creating items that people want to buy.
I asked Hieng if he has a favourite design of his. It's always hard to ask this question because people usually love everything they create!! But I am always so curious to see what people say~ "It's hard to say if I have a favorite. I do have designs that I feel happy with how it came out. For example the "snake lantern" design, I like how I executed it. I'm proud of the technical aspect since it was a difficult design to really capture. I had an idea for it, but I had to do several iterations of it. In the end, I would say it came out pretty well!"
(The snake lantern design, which is featured on various goods at the 1% Talent website.)
Hieng says "I'm proud that I'm still here, still making art and still doing 1%Talent." when I asked him something he's proud of. A short and simple response with a lot of meaning behind it. As a fellow creator, there are times when we get ourselves into a slump. Not necessarily on purpose, but perhaps we loose motivation, we aren't feeling that creative flow, ect. Its a great achievement when we can work around those road bumps and keep pushing forward to bring our creations to life!
I also asked if Hieng had anything in the works that he's like to share with all of you! "I'm constantly working on new designs for shirts, patches, and stickers. Maybe we'll have some shorts for summer! I try to do more slow custom, one-off projects. Last year, I did these military jackets with custom embroidery and this year I will be trying that again with a new design."
(the custom embroidery military jacket featuring the tiger! I wonder which creature will be on it this year?)
And lastly, I asked Hieng if he could make anything in the world, what would he want to make. He responded with public art! "Maybe public art of some kind, like a sculpture. It would be cool to create something that everyone could enjoy."
(This little Yak pin is so cute!!)
Thanks for your response Hieng! And thank you all for reading. Be sure to check out the 1% Talent social networks and website, and check out our other blog posts on KAWAII INTERVIEWS, events I've attended, and more!
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