HAMCUS [Interview]
HAMCUS [Interview]
For sure, many of us have developed a definitely biased opinion to brands from China. The once-established reputation of copying and the black market are the first associations about this location in the industry. However, there are exceptions. With that, completely opposite.
HAMCUS Brand founded in 2015 (along with our magazine), and has already appeared at the Paris Fashion Week with its show.
The designer of the brand Tuff Leung shows absolute individuality in his designs, the concept of which focuses not so much on clothes as on characters from sci-fi movies and video games. Each collection is dedicated and presented as a separate race, which is already unique. We asked the designer about this concept, inspiration, modern industry, and their recent meeting with Errolson Hugh, designer of ACRONYM.
Interview: Alexander Zabelin [TECHUNTER, chief editor].
Answers: Tuff Leung [HAMCUS, founder, chief designer].
Layout: Tatiana Vasilenko.
In this article were used the pics of the new brand's lookbook _prmtvsm / 1902_aw.
Ph: Tatjana Huong Henderieckx; Eileen Vancraenenbroeck.
Md: Exaucer Ntela Simão from IMM Bruxelles model agency; Garnett Chambers.
[Please, tell us more about the people behind HAMC.US.]

Well, we only have 2 people in terms of designing the brand. Me the designer of everything, while my wife Michelle overrun the market and also sourcing for materials, fabrics etc. I used to be a graphic designer and never study anything related to what we're doing now, but luckily I met my wife one day, she used to study fashion design and we came up with this idea to make some dope designs and there we go.

We also own our manufacturing facility and company 3 Garment Co., in China, established back in 2009. We have around 40 people working and situated in 3 different places in China. We manufacture for other brands around the globe for many years, so that's the foundation of our brand, since we're very well integrated vertically company. So for every season we are capable to have a large collection (around 100pcs).
And yes, basically, we make everything ourselves unfortunately. [Laughts].

[Can you describe the concept and the brand's definition in one formulation?]

I used to say "unpredictable forms" and now I still use it, since we're always evolving the concept. I will call it a universe of HAMCUS rather than a clothing brand called HAMCUS, since we're starting to figure out what our purpose will be in the future. Which is so exciting to even think of it, that where we're heading to, jumping out of the physical concept of a clothing object, but instead, extends the inspiration we found into a broader cosmic axis.

I call this world a "Primus" and a "Cosmos Character Style System". That is how we define different races for everyone that "lives" in this world.
[What materials do you prefer more in designing? What is the development process based on?]

Sometimes it is a cotton, sometimes it is a nylon, sometimes they are both and mixes, it's all based on how they fit in the theme and the story I'm going to tell for the character of each season. Now we have 4-th season already, and already roughly introduced 2 major races and background, which is PMU/18SS-18AW and ADAM/19SS.

They all have a distinctive touch on how I dress them up with their own style which reflect their own character background. Just like designing a character for a game or a movie, you had to match with the right ingredients and consistence for every episode.
[What are you most get inspired by to produce this avant-garde and dystopian clothing?]

Sci-fi / video-games / movies / manga / industrial stuffs / concept arts, a lot of these that raised me from my childhood to now that inflict great influence to my designs. I always wanted to be working in the movie or game industry. But, instead, I became a designer of clothes, and I find it also cool!

I believe that you need to force yourself sometimes, to find motives and then find love, kind of in a dystopian dream and environment in real life. It's the same.
[The style of the brand seems very unique and original. How difficult to stick your own concept in nowadays?]

Well I don't think it's very hard to keep your own identity. I mean if you're so fascinated with the stuffs you love, then you'll create the stuffs around and slowly people will see the whole greater picture.

I think the difficult part is how to survive for most of us : either you have to build a strong visual identity and also it's not too ahead of the market, or you have something else to holds you while you can ignore everything and just make arts.
I'm doing that both, as I hate to make too similar stuffs and sometimes force myself not to repeat from last season. But people might can't see the consistency of the brand, and they will wonder how HAMCUS is going might be confusing.

[Which technologies you think is necessary in modern clothing?]

Let's say for a dystopian world that you live in – survival first and cool stuff comes second. So a lots of techs and utility stuffs, also some touch of ancient (vintage) would even more delicious.
[How are you met with the ACR team and Errolson personally and what do you recognized after it? Any possible joint work in future?]

Ha-ha, that's best moment of the Year, probably my whole life. I know these modern day genius for a long time but never had a chance to meet them in real life.

Since last year I was told from a fan that Errolson is following us on Instagram, which is so cool you know, that's how we know each other on the virtual world. It happened when we met in PFW just outside of Rick Owens runway when the shows finished, while we're chilling in the cafe of Palais De Tokyo. Errolson pops up with his friend David Rudnick, one of the best graphic designer of this galaxy. Both these guys had great influence to me since a long time, but now you got the chance to meet them both in a package in real life. For me that's so surreal!

So I had these amazing moment talking with the guys over the site and introduce myself. Errolson also asked where we based and what we doing here in Paris. Of course I immediately response that we're also presenting our collection in Paris, and invited them to come visit our showroom checking out the stuffs we did.
And I didn't even think they have the time and interest to come, but you know, they showed up in our showroom just right in the afternoon few hours later.

Just strike in the heart of a fans deep down, our team got so stressed out and thrilled that these guys showed up. We had these sweet moments there in the showroom you might already saw on our Instagram with Errolson and David checking out our collection, trying on their favorite pieces one by one, and we took some dope pictures.

They had make huge complements to our designs and which I really appreciate from these guys which I learned a lot from.

These guys are super nice human being, and really humble, which I admire a lot beyond design and as a friendly person. We don't really talk about working together in the future which I'd die for it, you just couldn't ask for more you know. But I think if we keep concentrate making nice stuffs and construct my universe, then it will happen in some way eventually. I always believe in karma.

Maybe just like Errolson described: "It was a great spontaneous meeting. The universe put us all together today."
[What do you think about modern fashion trends and the situation in general? Any ideas what will it lead to in the future? And what is the way of HAMC.US in this future?]

For me I didn't really pay attention to the general trends. I only pay attention to what I like and find it interesting, as the most important part of design is creativity. I used to be a fan boy playing all kinds of games online or offline, and sci-fi movies related stuffs which shaped how and what I'm making now.

For clothing is always a similar pieces of garment which human can wear, with some contemporary touches in different time periods. Just like a movie or a game, you can shoot Star Wars movie for 10 times, and people still watch it, or a sci-fi based online game for a few generations. It's about how you present the story with a new approach, or use some new technology.

As in my own opinion, we won't be presenting our collection only during Fashion Week forever, it's a bit old school for me.
We need to find a new bridge between brands to customers, just like games and movies, to be able to find a new bridge between products to end users. Like putting a characters in a world of HAMCUS with your own user identity, that this world will have so much freedom like an open world multiplayer game. That user can evolve with their gears and empower them to create their individual garments to fit their own aesthetics.

While you can have an actually HAMCUS or whatever it may called pieces of clothes in real life, and you have the same piece in virtual ID online in our universe.

I believe it would be so cool when real life wearable fashion, and online virtual world, can converge to each other, once can live between these two and share their works and experience without boundaries. That is possibly the most ultimate goal of my purpose will be in the rest of my life. HAMCUS is only a foundation of the giant multi-universe in the future. It won't bound to only fashion, it's more.