Entrepreneur, philanthropist, LGBT advocate, daughter of actor Michael Wong and model Janet Ma – Kayla Wong is known for many things, but perhaps these days, she is best recognised for founding ethical fashion label Basics for Basics. After coming back to Hong Kong from Los Angeles where she studied Merchandising Marketing, she worked at a real estate company for a while, but realised soon enough that the corporate world was just not for her – the entrepreneurship itch was calling. After a year, Basics for Basics was born. Our paths crossed with hers as we worked together to create our limited-edition tee shirts for our The Living Room pop-up – tongue-in-cheek slogans across not-so-basic tees. Mid-collab, we sat down with Kayla to talk inspirations, goals and dream superpower!
Aside from creating products of great style at Basics for Basics, there is also a huge focus on sustainability – how did that come about?
I’ve always known that I wanted to do something related to fashion but I also wanted to do something that gives back, so I did a lot of research and came about the idea of ‘fair-trade’, and I just kept going from there. Learning more and more on the way from articles and documentaries, I realized that being sustainable in fashion is a must because time is running out and we are the ones that have to do something about it!
Which fashion house(s) or brand(s) do you think are setting good examples for the future of fashion?
For me, I really like a lot of online retailers that are based in the US who I think are really showing us that sustainable fashion can also be very trendy and chic. Some of my favourites are Reformation and Everlane. I think the future of fashion is all about being transparent with the customers sourcing ethically, and these two brands do a great job with that!
How do you define success?
I think success is achieved when you set a goal for yourself and you reach it one day. I don’t really think it’s so much about what other people think or how much money you make. Being successful to me is just being proud of what you’ve accomplished on your own terms without sacrificing your happiness.
Have your parents been influential in what you are pursuing currently?
My parents have definitely been very influential. My dad has the entrepreneurial heart and he has always taught me to follow my passion, so I guess he kind of inspired me to start my own brand. My mom on the other hand has always been in the fashion industry so I grew up around that environment, but I think above everything she is the one that has always taught us to be giving and to always think of others.
What’s your favorite piece of clothing/ accessory in your closet?
It is hard to choose! But my favourite item at the moment would probably be my Louis Vuitton bucket bag.
If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?
I think I would want to change how people interact on the internet. There seems to be so much hate and bullying online and I would really like that to stop.
If you have a superpower what would it be?
I think I would want the ability to read minds. I’ve always found psychology fascinating so I think that would be pretty cool.
What’s next for you?
I am really just getting started with Basics for Basics so I want to keep pushing and building the brand. We are planning to add more ethical brands later on to our platform and build a stronger community of like-minded individuals.