Join us on our journey to unite Elmwood talent and those we admire in one-to-one chats spanning everything and anything creative in our series, Creative Conversations.
The interview below takes place between Audrey Yang, Senior Designer at Elmwood Singapore and Harng Foong, Independent Production & Costume Designer.
So Audrey, why Harng?
Harng is a talented set designer and costume designer. He does set design for music videos and films, but it was his festive shirts that he makes as part of his personal work that caught my eye.
Tell me about yourself, Harng.
I work as an independent production and costume designer in Singapore. I’m also a full-time lemur and artist over at Harngover, where I make festive shirts to commemorate moments and culture of our time.
How did the idea for festive shirts come about?
I wanted to explore products that weren’t restricted by budgets or initiated by an external client. Motivated by the loss of my grandmother in 2018 and going through her items spurred me into creating Harngover. As the name suggests, I see this creative outlet as a kind of freeing “harngover” where I am able to let go of certain inhibitions set on projects because of practicality or cost and freely explore and pour my love into patterns, details and ideas. Although I know the term “hangover” doesn’t always connote well, I think for me the feeling of letting go temporarily and chasing a certain feeling or impulse was what I was following.
Harngover commemorates moments and culture of our time through my point of view. The festive shirts happen from August to February annually (National Day to Lunar New Year), and usually I would have at least 5 shirts made, each with its own unique concept and deliverables. Sometimes, I do get to make something apt for the moment like the COVID-19 vaccination shirts series. I also do small production runs for pieces such as my Van Gough and Mahjong shirt.
May I ask why sewing of all mediums?
My mother was a seamstress back in her days and I was exposed to sewing at a young age, but it was only until university that I really got into the world of sewing.
Sewing/Fabric is a craft that dates back to early civilizations and it tells so much about one’s identity, culture, and story. Putting time and soul into a sewing project just became something very dear to me. Sewing can also be seen as an extension of the body through both the crafter and wearer as well.
What is you most memorable commercial design project?
There are several projects that come to mind. One would definitely be working with local drag queen Becca D’Bus for Action for Aids Singapore. I created a bedroom set with clashing themes and styles (Boudouir, Homely, Kitsch) inspired by drag queens.
Working with local musician Charlie Lim, who truly embraces creatives and artists in the production of his music videos was also very memorable. From a hoarder craft mother to pseudo hypebeast street style labels, we created several memorable, exciting works which we are very proud of.
The final one I think it important to highlight is the costume design for Foodlore – HBO Asia. Something about going minimal for an actress in India where colours and patterns are everything is very uncommon. But it just felt right after looking through location photos, these vast landscapes of rural India, and how the actress will blend and stand out at the same time. Thankfully, the director agreed to this direction as well.
What do you wish to do more of in the future?
In my professional work and creative practice, I work and collaborate with other creatives and I really enjoy that collaboration and teamwork. I would like to continue along that trajectory and design experiences where a variety of disciplines can come together to present a deep memorable experience for the public.
Check out Harng’s website here: http://www.harngfoong.com/
Check out Harng’s Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/harngfoong/?hl=en