3 DIP Design Startups Forging Ahead
Designers are trained to visualise how to make things and life not just prettier, but also better. Some of them stay steadfast in their original career path, while others may choose to branch out to turn their vision into reality in the form of a business venture. The Design Incubation Programme (DIP) has been acting as a launchpad for the latter since 2006, and has witnessed countless brilliant ideas born when design marries business. Hong Kong's design startup landscape is growing ever stronger and more diversified. Let's get to know 3 DIP incubatees who are budding with distinctly different design philosophies and business models.
HIR Studio: Refacing local spaces with eco-materials
Architectural design collective HIR Studio is driven by a passion to create unique and inspiring spatial design and architecture. Drawing inspiration from the past and present, they aspire to deliver innovative, artistic and sensual designs that motivate people to actively participate and communicate with their environments. This is most notable in their project commissioned by the Sha Tin Town Hall, in which they created a series of public seating for the community venue using plastics recycled from the neighbourhood. "With DIP's support, we are able to make more new attempts in our design projects. Gradually, we are establishing ourselves as a locally rooted brand specialised in sustainable materials. As we work with more and more clients from different fields, our sense of financial management has also improved. We have also grasped how to use videos to enhance our publicity and learnt more about communicating with the press."
With DIP's support, we are able to make more new attempts in our design projects.
Charlotte Ng: Challenging Female Stereotypes
Fashion designer Charlotte Ng founded her eponymous brand in 2019 with a philosophy of designing clothes with stories and attitudes. Using elegant tailoring and metallic elements, the label aspires to create independent, intelligent and individual styles that bust the typical gender stereotypes of women. "With the advice and guidance of DIP's industrial mentors, we were able to develop a clearer blueprint for the future, from our business development to finances. It enables us to move forward steadily and take on the right challenge at the right time. We also got to know many design entrepreneurs like ourselves, many of whom are also in fashion. In addition to learning much more about the field, we have also seen many collaborations come into being through the exchanges. It feels like growing up together as a team."
We also got to know many design entrepreneurs like ourselves, many of whom are also in fashion.
Knitwarm: A Hong Kong-made and -invented innovative material
KnitWarm's business focuses on a patented heat-conductive smart textile invented, designed and made in Hong Kong. It reduces the bulkiness and discomfort of winter clothing and unlocks their aesthetic potential. The label aspires to fill the market gap of warm yet stylish clothing with the innovative material. "One of our goals of joining DIP was to promote our brand through collaborating with like-minded companies." In this year's Hong Kong Denim Festival, they worked with 'ideas from life' and enhanced the event's staff passes with their KnitWarm LanyardWarmer, which can help relieve neck stiffness and muscle discomfort. "We also teamed up with 2 designers to join the Industrial Designers Society of Hong Kong's ReMix programme, and got the chance to collaborate with famous local brand Chicks to launch a crossover collection this December. We have more plans in the pipeline, such as expanding to overseas markets."
One of our goals of joining DIP was to promote our brand through collaborating with like-minded companies.
As with any kind of startup, developing a design brand or running a design studio is difficult before they are easy. DIP is committed to working hand in hand with designpreneurs and providing them with financial support, training, mentorship, industry connections and marketing opportunities. If you are in need of a boost to grow your design startup, take a look at the eligibility requirements of DIP and apply now!