Based in the busy, vibrant city of Hong Kong, fashion and lifestyle luminary Adele Leung owns and manages her unique business. ‘AdeleLeung.hk’ offers a full package of creative services styling, photography, fashion, food and lifestyle.
A woman who has her finger on the pulse in every aspect of her business, her experience in the fashion industry is hands on and first hand. Adele is a ‘people first person’ and runs her business accordingly – not usual in today’s corporate fashion world.
UME: Your work sounds amazing - what is involved in being a fashion stylist
Adele: Our work is about people. We are in relationship every step of the way, within the team and with the companies we work with. This is a relationship that is shared with the clients we meet and in the creative work we produce.
UME: How would you describe your creativity with fashion
Adele: Well, to be very honest I’m not really interested in ‘fashion’. I really enjoy the expression of beauty, and that to me is a kind of harmony, things coming together so that you can feel the different parts working together to present the whole picture.
I’ve always enjoyed looking at things in a different way so that’s my definition of being creative, because I actually am not sure what the world’s definition of creativity means. I feel that being creative is expressing things which can be looked at ‘out of the box’. So that’s how I have lived my life. You know, before we see something, before it’s visual, it’s actually felt first. So that’s a very natural feeling inside of me that wants to be expressed out.
I remember when my parents took me to a shop and I bought a blouse with flowers on and a pair of corduroy pants with a pair of suede ankle lace up boots and I remember, it’s not so much how it looked – that was important as well – but more so it was how it felt when I put everything on my body; the softness of the cotton of the blouse with the lovely kind of velvety feeling of the corduroy pants and the comfort of the shoes, but also how it looked . . . you know that kind of suede . . . the colour the deep browns, the burgundies with the pale yellow blouse . . . again this kind of purpley burgundy colour.
Everything just kind of matched together in physicality as well as in feeling. Those two levels were always important for me – there was the inner as well as the outer – that they matched and actually spoke in alignment with each other . . . that for me was important.
UME: How did you enter the world of fashion
At the age of 17 my parents sent me from my home in Hong Kong to Canada. I studied at university, first as a chemistry major because I felt at the time, that was what my family wanted, but then I went to Chinese studies to learn more about the Chinese culture.
At that time I was looking for a job and a friend told me there was a fashion boutique hiring and I felt, oh yeah, I could do that. I went and had an interview and they hired me as a retail customer service person. I really wanted to work there. I could feel in one sense I did it because of a rebellion – as in I know this would not be what my family wanted me to do – but at the same time I felt it was something that really felt natural to me.
UME: So you learnt on the job
Absolutely and I really feel it’s necessary for me to do it this way because I’d never studied, I never studied anything that related to fashion or design or photography etc. It’s actually very, very, very helpful to learn this way, to learn everything – by living it basically.
In the shop I did retail customer service and then buying, and then I left that job, came back to Hong Kong and worked in magazines. From there I started to learn the publication industry. I learnt editing, writing, styling, dealing with people, connecting and working fashion shoots, getting to know the models as well as being a model myself.
UME: What inspired you working with the magazine
The magazine felt like it was a kind of an avant-garde way of expressing. It was basically about really speaking your mind, speaking how it felt, finding a different way to express things which felt cool – fashion, music, culture, all of that, and there was a calling inside of me that really, really niggled at me saying ‘you’ve got to express, there are so many things inside of you that you’ve got to express . . . start expressing.’
Adele’s intimate experience in the fashion industry to be continued . . .