Fashion designer Vivienne Tam is world renowned for her unique creations inspired by a combination of Chinese culture and Western design. LEAP was honoured when December 2011 she agreed to support us, marking the first time she had made her collection available to benefit a charity in Hong Kong.
“I was approached by Quince Chong, Chairman of LEAP, and was touched by her passion in educating the younger generation,” said Vivienne. “I appreciate the creative concept of the mobile classroom that effectively delivers important life messages. I agree it is so important to educate children early to prepare them for life. I am very glad to be part of this meaningful cause.”
88,000 Reasons to Celebrate – a Vivienne Tam Charity Fashion Show for LEAP was held on 3 December 2011 in the beautiful garden of Taikoo House, home of Mr Christopher Pratt and Mrs Francesca Pratt, who kindly hosted the event. Over 110 guests enjoyed a high tea, the fashion show, auctions and raffle draws with prizes donated by generous supporters including Cathay Pacific, Swire and the Peninsula Group. The event, which celebrated LEAP’s programmes reaching 88,000 students for the second year in a row, raised a net total of over HK$1.4 million.
“Hong Kong is the place where I grew up and it inspires me a lot. I always want to do something for Hong Kong, for the next generation in Hong Kong,” says Vivienne. Born in Canton,China, she moved here when she was three years old. Both her parents sewed, and she took it up herself at an early age. “My mum is my muse,” she says. “I remember when I was a child, we didn’t have money to buy new clothes. My mum and I would find fabric remnants at flea markets to make dresses for everyone at Chinese New Year. She would say to me, this dress is the only one in the whole world, only you have it, it is special.”
Vivienne visited the Buddhist temple with her family, attended a Catholic school, and studied fashion design at Hong Kong Polytechnic University - a bicultural upbringing which was the basis of her signature style. “Hong Kong is the bridge where East Meets West. It has a very special hybrid culture. To me, it means choice – to be fluent in one or both languages, but always to be fluent in mixing them. In the 21st century, this kind of command is very empowering.”
“I wanted to start up my own company after I graduated, but at that time people did not believe I would succeed with a brand with Chinese influences. Therefore I left and started my career in New York. I had faith and belief in my roots and who I am,” she recalls. “To achieve your dream, you must have passion in what you are doing. You must realize that you can make anything happen if you truly believe you can. Always, where there is a will, there is a way.”
Vivienne opened her first store in New York in 1997 and today her shops are in major cities around the world. However, her aim goes beyond fashion design: “I believe one should spend one’s energy and time on creative works, be passionate in what you do and believe in change, go green, use your creativity to make the earth a better place. Understanding and appreciating the beauty of different cultures brings peace to the world.”
All her designs are created with the idea that each wearer’s personality will bring out different aspects from each design. This goes well with LEAP’s philosophy that “Everyone is Unique” and the importance of respect for the individual. “Believe in yourself, everyone is special,” says Vivienne. “Have your own individual style and personality.”
LEAP is delighted that Vivienne has agreed to become the first of its “Life Buddies”, and will support LEAP and our Health Ambassador, Andy Lau Tak Wah, in our efforts to prevent substance abuse. “It is so important that we educate our younger generation to live healthy and drug-free lives; and adopt an eco-conscious lifestyle,” says Vivienne. “I would like to share my story with young people, encourage and inspire them to have creativity, sensibility and compassion, to become young adults who care and contribute to society.”
Vivienne’s Ming Dragon Embroidery Tote Bag was also available on Cathay Pacific flights from January to March 2012, with Cathay Pacific and Vivienne Tam kindly donating HK$700 from each purchase to LEAP. Thanks to their generosity, HK$210,000 was raised.
There is no doubt that with her talent, determination, strong values and consideration for others, Vivienne Tam is a most worthy role model for young people in Hong Kong.