Following a brief stint as a political analyst for the Ministry of Defence, Su Pei moved to London to pursue fashion design. In the last 14 years, she has worked as a fashion designer for premium-luxury brands in Spain, Hong Kong and China, and also set up Su by Hand, a sustainable womenswear label that produces its clothing in small batches and uses natural dyes obtained from flowers and vegetables. She’s pictured here wearing a cotton dress from her label.

“I’ve always been an avid sketcher and, as a child, was obsessed with sketching clothing on models. Now, fashion design – the lines on paper, 3-D draping and fabric manipulation – is my medium of expression.

“I didn’t think I could live with the notion of ‘what if…’ or regrets, so I decided to just try,” she explains.

And she sure hasn’t looked back, particularly since she loves how her label allows her to connect with new people, from seamstresses and independent drafters to small production houses, local and international creatives (such as photographers and models), and retailers.

“This is especially important for our foundation as a slow fashion label. It is a joy to collaborate with authentic creatives who are all artists in their own right and bring new interpretations.”

That said, things aren’t always a bed of roses: Su Pei still faces challenges like managing the gap between a good product and getting it out there to the right customers at the right price point. She also concedes that her need for perfection results in endless delays as things are “never good enough”.

“But spending more time on something doesn’t always make it better! I overcome this by making myself accountable to others – tying myself up with external retailers and collaborating with other creatives on projects and deliverables with clear timelines.”

PHOTOGRAPHY Makiyo Lio
CREATIVE DIRECTION Windy Aulia
STYLING Debby Kwong
HAIR Aung Apichai, using Kevin.Murphy
MAKEUP Nikki Fu, using Urban Decay
FLOWERS Charlotte Puxley

Cotton dress, Su By Hand

This article was first published in the April 2021 issue of Her World.