Imagine this; long, elegant silhouettes emphasized by perfectly placed drapes and a specific intention behind each piece, a story behind each idea and a part of the designer in every garment. This is the experience one receives through Som Kong, founder and designer of the name sake brand.
“If I’m going to work for myself it’s going to be 24/7.”
A fairly recent Ryerson University grad, Som, has already developed an extraordinary portfolio. From winning the Production Award for his senior year Mass Exodus collection, to presenting at both TOM (Toronto Men's Fashion Week) featuring Winnie Harlow and at World MasterCard Fashion Week, to collaborating with Tamina Pollock all while creating three different collections within the span of a year, Som Kong is undeniably a design prodigy.
Starting at at Ryerson University, where Som studied fashion design, then really taking shape when he decided to study a semester abroad, Som's talent and success has been a rapid, but natural evolution of perspective, skill and personal development.
“The four years [at Ryerson] were all about trying new things and exploring new venues.” However, “if it wasn’t for Hong Kong I wouldn’t be the same person I am today.” says Som “New experiences and travel are a good thing to do, especially at a young age.”
Som chose to study at Hong Kong Polytechnic University because of their superior resources and cutting edge technology. He fondly remembers taking a tour of the University and being struck in awe by the facilities; including a dye lab, knitwear lab and 3D printing lab. Already well trained at Ryerson, a program which focuses heavily on the technical said of fashion, Som began exploring his creative side while in Hong Kong. He began experimenting with different techniques which eventually led to the his signature use of what he calls “engineered drapery”.
“Ryerson drapes with muslin and in Hong Kong they drape with paper”. This new process allowed Som to engineer specific cuts within the seam to achieve exactly what he wanted; intentional structure. This type of draping is about controlling the fabric entirely, rather than conceding to the nature of the martial, a process that Som find's very satisfying.
Following graduation, Som was offered a job with Danier after being awarded runner-up in a Danier design competition (another notch on the award post). “They liked my design so much they wanted to reproduce it”. He learned quickly however that a nine to five job wasn't for him; that his experimental spirit needed to be nurtured and that his obvious need for creative control was a dominant force of his success. He decided it was time to pursue his dream of running his own business. “If I’m going to work for myself it’s going to be 24/7.”
Now, hosting private pop-ups and most recently showcasing at #INLANDFall2015, Som has developed a very loyal following who flock and swoon and squeal for the opportunity to buy a piece from his collection. He is humbled by this continuing success and constantly thanks those around him for allowing him to do his "thing" and for being part of his journey. To him we reply, "thank YOU and stay awe-SOM".
Written by: Deborah Lopez-Delgado, Ryerson University Fashion Communications student.