16 July - 9 October 2020
Around the World
with Pitti
KEVIN POON
News
Edition 98
12.10.2020
Kevin Poon is the co-founder of Hong Kong-based label CLOT and boutique retailer JUICE. A prolific creative entrepreneur, Poon also co-founded popular restaurants Elephant Grounds, Morty’s, La Rambla, WagyuMafia, and Mashi no Mashi.
We spoke to Poon about the culture in Hong Kong, how he stays creative, and his plans for the future.
What do you love about the city?
I love everything about Hong Kong. I love how it's super convenient. It's really easy to get lunch, go to an art gallery, have a drink, go on a boat, and come back all within the day and still go hiking. So I really think that the versatility of the city is awesome. Plus I think people have a really good work ethic. It's a very convenient city, really easy to do things. And if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

What area do you find yourself in the most?

To be honest, lately, I'm most in the area of Wong Chuk Hang, because that's where our office is. Sometimes I'm down in Causeway Bay and Central, but mostly Hong Kong side, Wan Chai, Pacific Place area, and Star Street. These are the areas that I grew up in, and these are the areas that I find myself the most, with like-minded people. Lots of fun things to see, great restaurants, and I feel the good energy in those neighborhoods.

How would you describe people’s personal style? 

Hong Kong people, for the most part, are super busy. So when you think of style, I don’t think people from Hong Kong come to mind. But I do think that people really like shopping here, so we see a lot of name brands. Lately, I've been seeing a lot of people dressed up Sartorialist style, with suits and all types of vintage watches. And there’s also people that are in a lot of street style. So there's a mix of all types of styles.
Favourite restaurant and why?
My favorite restaurant has to be Wagyumafia. I love Hisato, what he's created. It's a really great ambiance, always a fun time. I highly recommend it.

Where do you go to feel inspired?

Sometimes, when I want to feel inspired I go for a run or a hike around the city or go to Sai Kung on a boat. These are the things I think when I'm in Hong Kong, I tend to go to when I try to feel inspired. I used to be able to travel, but because of COVID, I've been locked down here for a few months, so these are the types of places that I like to go, or maybe even get a coffee at Elephant Grounds just to get a moment to myself.

What is your day to day like at the moment?

Every day, I'm up at eight o'clock, working as soon as I get up. Fiona and I have to take care of the dogs. Usually, I like to start off the day with a run, and then I head to the office about 10:00 and then meetings, emails, more meetings, and then I leave the office around 5:00 or 6:00 for another meeting, sometimes dinner, and then I try to take it easy. The day rewinds again. 

Are there any artists (photographers, painters, sculptors etc) that we should check out?
 

A photographer in Hong Kong, Wing Shya is my number one favorite. Kasing Lung is a sculptor that I really like. Michael Lau is another sculptor that I really like. These are local Hong Kong people that I think are doing great things.
Who is your favorite music artist?
Eason Chan is one of my favorites. He's a very local superstar. Leslie Cheung is a late great. My wife likes Jacky Cheung. I really like him too. I like how they can really sing songs that are inspiring and in the local dialect, that people can listen to generations upon generations and don't feel outdated.

How would you describe the creative community?

I would describe the creative community as being a little bit shy. I think everyone's kind of doing their own things a lot and it would be great if the creative community could be more unified. I think there is actually a big creative community, it's just everyone's kind of stuck doing their own thing.
How has the pandemic affected your creative process?
I don't really know, actually. I think that the creative process happens naturally. As circumstances change, I think creatively, your mind kind of works in a different direction. But, I don't think it really affected my creative process. Maybe it's changed it a little bit. But for the most part, I still sometimes, because of the pandemic, feel a little bit uninspired. But I think exercise breaks through that barrier and talking to cool people and hanging out with friends, I think really helps out.

Who would you love to collaborate with?

Right now we're collaborating a lot with different people and I'm really happy with the people that we collaborated with already, especially Nike. I think they make one of the best products in the world and I'm really happy to work with them. 
What's your favorite part of your job and why?
My favorite part of the job is when I see people enjoying our products and when I see people are genuinely having a good time, connecting and telling me I'm a positive inspiration. That makes me really, really happy. And giving back to young people. I think that's really fun as well. And also the freedom that the job has given me that I can really do what makes me happy, whether it's designing or talking to people or setting up structures. I like that my job is always changing and there's always challenges to face.

How do you keep yourself motivated in the current climate?

I mean, I sort of touched base on the answer before, but I think the best way to keep yourself motivated is to read a lot of books and also exercise. I think those two things are really important, alongside being with loved ones.
Have you had any creative revelations post-pandemic?
Creative is something that comes naturally to me. I don't really think too much about it. I just want to keep positive and stay happy and I think when you're happy and you're feeling good, I think those are the best times to be creative.

In terms of trends, where do you see streetwear heading in the next year?

Back to the terms of trends, I think streetwear is heading for more of a lifestyle family approach. I think it's really interesting when streetwear brands create accessories or any home goods. That's the stuff that we're developing too. Furniture and things like that. So I think that that's really where my head's at in terms of where I think the trend is going.
What are you excited about at the moment?
I'm really excited about everything. Running is something that I'm super passionate about lately. I'm excited about art. I'm excited about life. I'm excited about everything, to be honest.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on a new JUICESTORE app, a few new retail shops, building a family, collecting art, working on keeping in touch with my friends, working on this interview. Hopefully this time next year I'll have more time to do the things that continuously make me happy.

Sounds great, thanks for your time, Kevin!