Hong Kong domestic helper’s upcycled fashion collection combines empowerment and empathy

South China Morning Post Fionnuala McHugh

Some of the outfits designed by Hong Kong domestic helper Elpie Malicsi on show at the Philippine consulate, in Admiralty. Picture: James Wendlinger

It’s a Sunday (February 25), the first warm day of spring, and a fashion show is taking place in Central. Anyone who has passed through those streets on what is supposed to be the domestic helpers’ day of rest will be familiar with their ceaseless motion: a dancing, clapping, singing, often bewildering blur. Such is the constant competition for eye (and ear) that getting any message across requires a degree of innovation.

With that in mind, the organisers of Sustainable Sunday Couture – an exhibition of gowns created from recycled material now on display at the Philippine consulate, in Admiralty – have decided to use the city as a promotional catwalk.

Dr Julie Ham, the project coordinator and an assistant professor at the Department of Sociology of the University of Hong Kong (HKU), and Dr Chen Ju-chen, an anthropology lecturer (specialising in Filipino beauty pageants) at Chinese University, have gathered together a group of volunteer models, make-up artists, dressers and photographers. The starting point for the endeavour lies in the shadow of Jardine House, in Central – or, to be precise, in an area near the Starbucks at Jardine House where Elpie Malicsi, 60, has her outdoor workshop.

Read the article in South China Morning Post

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