Yat Pit: The Hong Kong Brand Giving Back to the Community That Inspired it

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Yat PitPhotography Joyce Ng

Coinciding with their presentation this week, AnOther meets On-Ying Lai and Jason Mui of Yat Pit, who are striving to make Chinese motifs more than just a trend

  1. Who is it? Yat Pit is a Hong Kong-based clothing brand bringing awareness to Chinese culture
  2. Why do I want it? Clothes that draw inspiration from Bruce Lee, Hong Kong pop culture while being genuinely in touch with the city’s youth culture
  3. Where can I find it? Message them on their Instagram (@yat_pit) or visit Market Stall 5, 93 Fuk Wa St, Sham Shui Po in Hong Kong

Who is it? Yat Pit (meaning ‘one stroke’ in Cantonese) was conceived a few years ago through the diasporic collaboration between two designers – Hongkonger On-Ying Lai and Britain-born Chinese Jason Mui. At its core, the clothing brand sought, and is still seeking, to revive, secure and ensure Chinese fashion design has an essential place in your wardrobe. “It’s like the qipao being just as much as a staple as the little black dress,” says Mui. “We want Chinese motifs to be more than just a trend.”

In recent years, significant brands across the board (like Gucci) have been re-appropriating Chinese design elements, which is a welcome change for the Yat Pit pair. “I feel lucky to have started our brand during this time, and it’s amazing to see the growing interest,” says Lai. “But for Jason and I, it’s really about diving deeper into the culture and finding a way to give back.”

And giving back is precisely the reason why the duo decided to host their latest fashion presentation in Sham Shui Po – Hong Kong’s garment and electronic district turned burgeoning hotspot for young creatives, as well as the headquarters for Yat Pit’s studio. “We take a lot of our inspiration from SSP,” says Mui. “But instead of just taking, we want to show that we are part of the fabric of the community.”

Instead of a cliché runway setup, Lai and Mui set up market stalls – like the ones iconic to the area – where their cool kid friends will double up as models and sales associates for the latest collection, creating a real, see-now-buy-now experience. Also, they will be selling a lookbook, and all the proceeds from those sales will go to restaurant owner, chef and philanthropist Cheuk-Ming Chan AKA Brother Ming to help continue his efforts in providing free meals to the underprivileged elderly and poor of the neighbourhood (SSP is notoriously known for its cage homes).

“We don’t want to be that brand,” says Mui. “Some new, little, gentrifying fashion brand that just takes over a market stall and turns it into a pop-up store. Instead, we hope that we can have a permanent place here and continue to contribute.”

Why do I want it? The brand is part of Hong Kong’s important youth movement, which values heritage, questions identity and pursues authenticity. Just a few months ago, Mui took a pilgrimage to see his grandfather’s village in Shunde, Guangdong while also researching the art of creating mud silk – a process originating from the region.

Yat Pit has also attracted a group of influential creatives, most notably the late Ren Hangwho shot the debut collection for the brand and became a big part of the brand’s story, essentially legitimising it.  

But more importantly, if you’re into Bruce Lee-inspired clothing, tight-knit qipao dresses, chrysanthemum jackets with Chinese fastenings, mud-dyed silk skirts and sheer tops printed with calligraphy, this is the brand for you. “We wanted to create clothing we would want to be part of our daily wardrobe, and that will always be based on the backbone of Chinese culture,” says Lai.

Where can I find it? Message them on their Instagram or visit Market Stall 5, No. 93 Fuk Wa St, Sham Shui Po in Hong Kong.