Panthers, we have some exciting news for you: we dropped a gorgeous new collection! These stunning new pieces are part of Panther Daze Design’s Hong Kong collection. This line is particularly important to Panther Daze Designs because it is a reflection of our brand’s ‘dual citizenship’ and of how we even started!
“Panther Daze Designs started in two places and it’s based in two places: in Toronto and in Hong Kong,” said Deb. “Doe and I started the brand together when we were messaging each other over the interwebs.”
Panther Daze Designs continues to work in both city centres, as Deb and Doe are constantly collaborating and communicating with each other about future plans through the ‘interwebs.’
“I felt to properly say that we’re based [in both cities],” said Deb. “I needed a collection that was featuring Hong Kong.”
Though the Hong Kong collection is relatively small, each piece is inspired by various components that make up the city’s identity, fashion and culture.
“We wanted to capture three different parts of Hong Kong,” said Deb. “We wanted to capture the high-rises, the night and city life, and the urban jungle. We wanted to represent the old history of China and Hong Kong. Then we also wanted to capture the islands because Hong Kong is a collection of islands, so it’s very tropical and there’s lots of beaches.”
The decision to highlight these certain components of such a culturally rich and historical city took a lot of thought. In a Facebook message, Doe wrote that there were even “in depth discussions about colour palettes!”
“We wanted [the collection] to be different but not a fantasy,” wrote Doe. “Too often is the east depicted as a fantastical place, whether it’s through a historical fantasy lens or a scifi dystopian city. So we kept it real grounded.”
Although Doe is from Hong Kong, she didn’t grow up there.
“I’m only really encountering [the city] for the first time this past year,” wrote Doe. “So, we really want to come at it from our perspective, being inspired by this city, representing this place, without taking advantage of it. Ya know? We want everyone to be able to embrace it, knowing that it’s inspired by a specific but for everyone. We’re really proud to create a brand that celebrates self-love, so we never want anyone to be uncomfortable with what we’re putting out.”
Now, before you jump to any conclusions (like I did) - the Friday set is not what embodies Hong Kong’s night life despite its namesake. Friday is one of Doe’s nicknames and though the garter and harness represents Hong Kong’s rich history, it is also inspired by Doe and Deb and Doe’s friendship.
The piece that represents Hong Kong’s night life - the Goddess harness - was first debuted at RAW Artist’s Magnify Fashion Show, with our very own Jane modelling off the piece on the runway. It is an intricate yet versatile white harness, that can be worn with (or without) clothing.
All three of the shoots for this collection took place over a course of four to five days (and Deb was only visiting for six!)
And last, but certainly not least, there is the Warrior harness and garter, which Deb modelled off on one of the beaches of Hong Kong. Now, you can take a guess as to which element this stunning set represents.
“We joke that we had a creative intensive,” wrote Doe. “We basically did shoots in I think five days? It was super packed but super chill at the same time, because it was just us, creating.”
The first shoot, which was the only film shoot of the three that took place, featured the Goddess harness. Deb designed that piece in collaboration with Doe, who wrote and directed the short.
“We definitely knew that we wanted to pay homage to those HK cop movies we both grew up on,” writes Doe. “When I was writing the script, I wanted to deliver a sort of feminist take on it, and also include a sort of surprise. Instead of the usual 30 seconds (real low budget) ads that we do, this one was scripted and directed. We wanted it to be a little short that showcases the badass nature of the garment. We worked with two of our friends, amazing videographers, and they brought it to life. It was real hard to edit cause there were so many cool takes. Hopefully, we can do more videos like these cause it was super fun to have a narrative!”
The next shoot took place at Big Wave Bay, where Deb got to channel her inner warrior. There were nice cliffs and sand to play around with, which gave off some Tomb Raider vibes that they were hoping to - and successfully did - accomplish.
And then, for the last shoot, the roles reversed. Naturally, of course, to model off Doe’s namesake - the Friday set!
“Despite having training as a theatre actor (and meeting Deb for the first time as an actor), I’m really not used to having the audience so close,” wrote Doe. “I am definitely someone who likes to control what others see, and so being a model is definitely very out of control. I have no idea whether I look good or not! But having Deb be my photographer is very fun! It was for sure very casual.”
Deb added that the shoot felt comfortable, and that it went quickly because of the pressure to beat the sunset. The location was somewhere that Deb wanted to take Doe to, due to its historical significance to Hong Kong.
“The last location was actually a place I’ve never been and Deb took me there,” wrote Doe. “It’s more reflective. You sometimes forget that HK has a really rough historic past. It’s been colonized, taken over, and spit back out. So, we decided for the Kowloon Walled City, just not forgetting what the place was and what it is now.”
The Walled City is one of the most historically significant sites in Hong Kong due to its dark and tumultuous past. It started off as a small fort that housed imperial soldiers who were in charge of the salt trade, and eventually expanded into a garrison when the British invaded. Years later, when the Second World War came around and the Japanese seized control, the oldest part of the wall was demolished and used to create the Kai Tak airport (but many continued to live there.)
“This was a weird part of town that sort of lived outside of the law or of any governing system. So, it was very much a ghetto,” said Deb. “Eventually in the mid-90s the government stepped in, vacated everyone, and turned it into a park."
Though there are some remnants of the Walled City still remaining, most of it has been stripped away or demolished. But the history will forever live on.
“It was special to be able to take [Doe] there and shoot,” said Deb.
And there you have it - all of the inspirations and elements to the new Hong Kong collection! It is Panther Daze’s hope that you enjoy these new designs, and feel even more fierce knowing what they were influenced by.
But there is one last thing: “In addition to sharing new designs and their inspiration, if people are interested, I would encourage them to look into the history of Hong Kong and its current affairs,” said Deb. “Because that’s where this set really comes from.”