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Misfitted: Unspoken Stories of Tailoring

What is a good tailor – a master of cut and fit, an engineer of paper patterns, or a bespoke stylist saving you from a wardrobe clash? This special display departs from viewing tailoring as a craft, and instead seeks to understand it as a unique set of social interactions between maker and wearer, offering new perspectives on the tailor’s role within a city increasingly reliant on readymade goods.

Through clothes, objects and archival materials, this special display presents 5 case studies of historically overlooked forms of tailoring in Hong Kong from the 1950s to the 2000s. From an amah’s domestic needlework to a wardrobe mistress’s contemporary dance costumes, each case study is centred around a maker faced with specific requirements that led to methodologies and design decisions transcending conventional concepts of beauty and utility. More importantly, each tailor has also assumed unrecognised and sometimes unlikely roles, such as mediator, designer, friend, family and even ambassador of Hong Kong.

To capture the generative potential of textile heritage, a series of videos have been newly commissioned for display and as social media content, where we ask the tailors to speak on their work. Through its constellation of materials, this special display hopes to offer both historical fact and room for enquiry: what is the essence of a tailor’s labour – the materials, the techniques, the social relationships, or all?




The D. H. Chen Foundation Gallery

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CHAT will be closed on 20 April (Saturday) for private event and will be reopened on 21 April. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.