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Born in 1969, Bowie Wong was intrigued by fashion from a very young age.
As the son of a Chinese Opera singer, his fascination developed from the elaborate costumes by which he was surrounded.
The visual feast of the operatic world fed his hunger for fashion.
Bowie still treasures two of his mothers’ costumes, within his personal collections from which he gathers inspiration. Ironically however, it was the intensity of opera that led Bowie to leave home at the tender age of 11.
“ I was a difficult child, perhaps because I was so curious. My parents were always busy with the opera, so they decided that it would be best for all if I lived with my cousin. It was then that I became exposed to popular music and western culture.”
Having developed his creative mind and experienced modern culture, Bowie decided to pursue his passions further a field and fled to Japan to study a degree in ‘Pure Art and Design’, aged 17. By 1989 Bowie returned to his roots, studying degrees in ‘Theatre and Drama’ and then ‘Stage & Costume Design’ in Canada. Passionate and now educated, the next few years saw Bowie’s life become pure theatrics. Bowie worked on ‘Phantom of the Opera’ in Canada, for Paul McCartney on his world tour, and for Madonna on her European ‘Girlie show’.
“Watching her work from such close proximity was intriguing. The relentless desire for perfection and the need to reinvent herself time and again was a great lesson for me.”
The hype continued with Bowie returning to his native Hong Kong, in a multitude of creative roles that were increasingly fashion influenced. Bowie worked as a TV producer on HKTVB, image designer for Joyce boutique and creative enhancer for HKTDC fashion show, for the likes of Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Trussardi and Calvin Klein.
“At this point I felt destined to work in fashion. I was creating shows for these great designers and I was more and more drawn into the world of fashion.”
The lure proved too much for the self-confessed fashion fiend. Keen to adapt his skills Bowie moved to Australia, where he enrolled to study fashion design at East Sydney TAFE. Whilst the project was intended to direct and broaden his talent, Bowie found the course stifling and restrictive. Bowie therefore immersed himself into the fashion industry, where his hands on experience combined with his extensive knowledge of design (gained whilst obtaining three degrees), proved to better training than any course or teaching could provide.
The result is the increasingly innovative and original labels of Bowie Wong, Bowie, Bowie Genus and 31mo8. Bowie Wong the label, not the person was launched in 1998 and represented Australia in 2000 at Hong Kong Fashion Week. The Wong was dropped with Bowie and Bowie Genus being launched in 2001. 31mo8 is the latest label to be given the Bowie treatment. Raw quirky and original the label is set to be as eclectic and successful as the entire Bowie.