Debbie Leung’s ‘Little Ones’ Project

In 2015-16 I started to investigate the possibility of using wool felt to make a cheongsam (the body-hugging one-piece Chinese dress).  I have been trained with the traditional technique in making cheongsam.  This is a very special set of skills to make bespoke 3D tight fitted dress.  The technique, concept and aesthetics are quite different from our modern day garment making.  As a keen promoter of Chinese cultural dress (there is a lot of social and political history about cheongsam), I would like to merge cheongsam making and felt since I am very fond of both.

By end of 2015, I have successfully made a small line of cheongsam in felt.  It is a hybrid by merging traditional cheongsam making and felt making.  The felt cheongsams were highly appreciated at the Hong Kong Fashion Week 2016 by the cheongsam and wool communities.  As I work very closely with The Woolmark Company in Hong Kong, after seeing the felt cheongsams, with promoting local culture heritage in mind, we decided to run series of felt workshop for fashion professionals, fashion design students, teachers and the general public.  I then thought of using dolls to make doll size cheongsam in the workshop so the participants can learn the basic skills of seamless garment, highlighting the unique properties of wool in sculpting the figure of the wearer, the dolls in this case.

In short Chinese cultural heritage is the inner essence and felt making is the tool of this project. The workshops were followed by beauty contests on Facebook by putting the participants’ doll cheongsams into a contest.  I have invited AWI management, Hong Kong Fashion Designers Association, marketing professional, top designers in costume and fashion and academics as judges.  We have done the spring season and summer season so far.  If you have time, you can go to my Facebook photos to take a look.    I am open to other opportunities for these little ones too.