Jade Palace Collective, founded by Kelly Cho, is a London-based online shop featuring a collection of mostly vintage shoes, handbags and homeware. “The idea of Jade Palace is to give value back to items that have been discarded, mostly for being seen as not having a place anymore in most people’s context of fast-moving trends,” Kelly tells It’s Nice That. Whereas, until recently, all items were vintage, Kelly has now introduced Yat Pit to the shop, marking the introduction of the first contemporary brand with a publication featuring the work of Joyce Ng, Harry Chan, Zhuo Chen and Mika Kailes, designed by Zyxt.
Yat Pit is a Hong Kong-based brand, headed up by designers Jason Mui and On Ying Lai. On how the collaboration first came about, Kelly says: “We had admired each other’s work from afar until On Ying reached out to discuss the possibility of a collaboration. When we finally met and started talking, it made natural sense to me. Although Yat Pit is a contemporary brand, so much of their inspiration and designs are rooted in a deep understanding of Hong Kong grassroots culture that comes from being immersed in their local neighbourhood and observing every little detail, every single day. They’ll look at plastic chairs and gloves lined up in a shop and find beauty in that when most people would walk by without batting an eyelid.” The ensuing designs that make up Yat Pit’s collections, which pivot around ideas of “ugly beauty”, are therefore in line with Jade Palace’s ethos of taking the oft-overlooked and reinstating its beauty.
The idea of a creating publication, specifically, is a continuation of the work Kelly has been doing with Jade Palace since its inception. Aware of the need to view fashion as more than aesthetic, Kelly uses Jade Palace as a platform, not just an online shop, to explore narrative, focusing on “the notion of identity, particularly that of my ongoing understanding of self-identity as a diaspora of Chinese background.”
Utilising the work of four photographers, this latest release interprets Yat Pit’s collection through three photoshoots, each styled differently and showcased in a format representative of the work. “It goes back to the idea of how one thing can be interpreted in a million different ways and not always as it was prescribed to be,” Kelly adds on this idea. “[It also] explores how Yat Pit’s collection and identity serves to question many established norms, stating that if one always chooses to see things the way they are prescribed to be, then they will always remain the same. One collection is styled in multiple ways, art directed differently and presented in various formats.”
One of the contributors, Harry Chan, photographed Yat Pit’s 2018 collection in a manner which embodies the feeling of being in Sham Shui Po, the Hong Kong neighbourhood the brand is based in. “When I think of Sham Shui Po, I can picture an elderly person sitting on a bench, listening to the radio and opening up the newspaper,” Kelly explains. In turn, Harry’s work is presented on newsprint which folds out into posters, a reaction to the rawness of the photographs. Juxtaposing this work is Joyce Ng’s slick, editorial images which are translated onto glossy paper. The shoot by Zhuo Chen and Mika Kailes is a playful nod to Chinese takeaway menus and so is presented with a red motif and a gatefold, mimicking the menus you might get in the post. Finally, the publication also features a series of postcards which reflect the 35mm format, adding another layer to the already tactile publication.
These decisions, while providing an engaging reading experience, are also a testament to how formats and materials can be used in design to uphold a concept. A process which shows consideration and thought, it mimics both Kelly and Yat Pit’s working ethos, highlighting the banal and mundane and repackaging it.
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