Aug 04, 2011|
HK Magazine: Can you tell us something about your background?
Momo Ngan: Let’s start in 1999. I was studying for a degree in fashion design when I came across my first sewing machine. Straight away, I started sewing things and particularly enjoyed sewing bags. Since then, I have been making more and more.
HK: How did the idea for leather classes come about?
MN: When I was studying in London, I read a lot of books and taught myself how to make and sew handbags. Once I finished university, I returned to Hong Kong and started teaching fashion to people. I’ve been making bags for almost 12 years now and it wasn’t until two years ago that I suddenly thought—I have experience in teaching and I know how to make bags, why not combine the two and turn it into my own business? So in 2010 I left my teaching job and started giving classes to share my skills and knowledge with others.
HK: Can you tell us more about your products?
MN: I have already made a wide collection of products ranging from small to large, including key purses, cardholders, coin cases and clutch bags. Our larger products include briefcases and laptop bags. I do the designs and make the products, so with some of the more complex items it can be time quite time-consuming; sometimes it can take more than 40 hours to complete one bag. We don’t sell our products—they are used for demonstrations and displays only.
HK: Where does your leather come from? Do you have to skin your own animals?
MN: We source locally and purchase our leather from Sham Shui Po—all our materials originate in Hong Kong. I have never tried to skin my own animals because we mainly buy our materials, and our role is to then transform them into products.
HK: Can you tell us more about what your students will be doing during class?
MN: They will firstly have to select which leather product they would like to make—for instance, a cardholder, coin case or luggage tag. They won’t need to design anything because that’s already been done for them, so mainly it will begin with cutting the leather and punching holes in it so they are able to stitch it together before the final furnishing.
HK: Do you have any future plans for Butcher Lab?
MN: In the future, I would like to focus on fashion design and create my own line of women’s wear. I am especially interested in designing bags, so it would be nice if that could become my job. At the moment, I run these classes in order to make a living.
HK: Do people ever think that the name Butcher Lab is a bit gruesome?
MN: The initial idea came from the similarities that leather makers have in common with butchers. Both of them wear aprons and have to handle dead animals. As with laboratories, we like to experiment with our leather to create different products—just like how scientists work.
Visit Butcher Lab at 3/F, Easy Package Industrial Building, 140 Wai Yip St., Kwun Tong. For appointments, e-mail email@example.com or search for Butcher Lab on Facebook.