An interview with S.I.L.K. fashion designer Michele Lee

In April, we partnered with New York fashion label S.I.L.K., giving away one black & white silk/cotton abstract circle print sleeveless top from the Spring 2015 collection to a lucky reader.  Shortly afterward, we interviewed the creative director behind S.I.L.K., Hong Kong native Michele Lee.

Angela K. Hom: Your brand seeks to dress the “cosmopolitan woman.” Why did you choose silk as the fabric to work with to achieve this?

Michele Lee: Silk is a fabric that gives a sense of luxury and richness. We feel that silk and silk-inspired fabrics work with the lifestyle of the “cosmopolitan woman” from casual chic to evening.

S.I.L.K. also focuses on construction. What about the construction of a garment do you want to highlight for women?

The construction of our garments are of “designer quality” at an affordable price point. This is a key concept for our brand.

The usage of different prints is a signature in every collection. Where do you get inspiration for them?

We get our inspiration from many different sources.  There is no single one that we draw upon.

What is the inspiration for the Spring 2015 collection?

Spring 2015 was inspired by city chic and modern romance.

With your latest collections, you have started incorporating some decidedly non-silk fabrics, such as velvet and brocade. What triggered this deviation from your core material?

To make the brand more diverse, we have incorporated some exciting and modern non-silk fabrics. However, the core of the collection is still silk and silk blended fabrics.

The brand’s clothes are produced in New York City’s Garment District, a historic area in the clothing manufacturing industry. Why did you choose this neighborhood to produce in, as opposed to overseas?

S.I.L.K. is produced in China.  However, it is an American “niche” brand, and one of the reasons we chose the New York City Garment District [was] its energy and focus on the fashion business.

You grew up in Hong Kong, and your brand is based in New York City. Do you spend a lot of time traveling between both? Do you have any favorite spots in either city?

There are many similarities in between Hong Kong and New York City. These two cities are both fast-paced with lots of talented and energetic people. Thus, I always feel at home whether it be in Hong Kong or New York City.  Besides, I love the food New York has to offer!

Since launching in 2013, what is one of the most fascinating things you’ve learned about being a creative director and running your own brand? What led you to change careers?

When I was a child, I sketched a lot of clothes and this was my early entry into fashion design. I was very particular about what I wanted to wear for each occasion and my taste level in fashion continued to grow. I joined a garment manufacturing company in 2002 and started to take charge of the brand that the owner had always wanted to open. We worked together on his vision and he me let take on development of the S.I.L.K. brand. This is my baby and very precious to me.

S.I.L.K. Spring/Summer 2015 Lookbook

Images from the S.I.L.K. Fall 2015 Lookbook
photos courtesy of S.I.L.K.