Being a Slashie is increasingly popular. Dorothea LAM Chung-yan, graduate of the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (THEi) majoring in Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Fashion Design, is one of them. An art co-ordinator, exhibition curator and graphic designer, Dorothea also crafts leather products. Having received comprehensive arts education and design training, she enjoys developing her career in multiple directions and hopes to bring new impetus to Hong Kong’s arts scene.
A Family of Art Lovers
Dorothea is brought up in a family passionate about arts. Her grandma was a seamstress when young, and her mom has good fashion sense. Under influence of the older generation in the family, she has been fond of photography, drawing and arts at a young age. Studying visual arts during secondary school years, she vowed to carve out a career in arts and design profession. Upon completion of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (HKDSE), Dorothea was offered a place in a photography-related degree programme by a local university. She was, however, hooked to fashion design. Eventually, she chose THEi’s fashion design programme. Her younger cousin was also a graduate of the programme. After four-year study, she obtained a good grasp of professional knowledge of fashion design, and possessed an international perspective, as well as artistic sensibilities and creativity. Her outstanding academic results earned her a place in a master’s degree programme with the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (CSM) in the UK, steadily advancing in her progression pathway.
Creating Artistic Milieu from Ground Up
Dorothea’s overseas study not only broadens her horizon, but also extends her professional domains, spanning from fashion design to interior design and installation art. Returning to Hong Kong after graduation, she was engaged as an art co-ordinator in an art consultancy company. She mainly provides artistic advice on interior design projects to local and overseas clients. She tenders professional input to things big and small from chandeliers and mural paintings in a hotel lobby to hanging ornaments and table lamps in a room.
Her artistic knowledge is of immense help to the job. “Some clients prefer minimalism for whom I would advise the selection of furniture made of simple materials. Some other clients may prefer a funkier design. I would then use my artistic knowledge to turn conceptual ideas into concrete designs. Once, a client requested for a bold design theme for his restaurant. We hence brought different paintings into the interior design, bringing out the idea that other than a place for dining, the restaurant is also a rendezvous for interaction and communication.” She quoted the above as examples. During her study, Dorothea also came in touch with skills in visual merchandising and fashion business operations. The diversified artistic training is conducive to her career development.
Many a time, it takes her two to three years to follow through a project. “My job is like planning a long-term exhibition,” she said. “Every interior artistic installation must chime in with the overarching theme in order to impress the client and hotel guests.”
UK Study Extends Horizons
During her UK study, Dorothea took up curatorship work of different exhibitions on themes related to arts and other topics like war and gender equality. Her curatorial experience is thus enhanced and so is her artistic exposure and perspective. After she obtained the master’s degree, she partnered with several friends to curate fashion exhibitions in Beijing and London. As a curator, she singlehandedly tended to all the challenging aspects of an exhibition like identifying a suitable venue, sourcing art workers, planning the exhibition, mounting promotional activities and soliciting sponsors. She is most impressed with the exhibition in an arts school in Beijing. “At the time, I had to organise a sharing session and a talk to students of the school to promote the event. Meanwhile, I had to write up a lot of art reviews on social media to draw turnout. All these happened while organising the exhibition. In spite of the daunting many-roles-in-one challenge, I made it in the end and the exhibition was successfully held.”
Dorothea has developed a multi-faceted perspective on arts, having undergone years of training in educational institutions and workplaces. She is a virtuoso in arts and design work. Also a leather artisan, she infuses artistic and stylistic creative elements into her designs.
Looking ahead, Dorothea will continue to seek fun in her work and curate inspiring artistic exhibitions for Hong Kong. Her younger cousin, Andrew LAU Hiu-lok, is also a recent graduate of THEi’s fashion design programme and will follow Dorothea’s footsteps to progress to a master’s degree in fashion design of menswear at CSM on a scholarship. Dorothea jokes that she is looking forward to his return and their future collaboration in the design field.
HKDSE results are due to be released. “Pathways in life are diverse. Whatever programme you progress to, be it an undergraduate course, a higher diploma or other programmes, it is an interim stage to prepare yourself for your future career and open up more opportunities for life.” Dorothea advised the candidates.