Designers in Singapore: KangYong on Handcrafting Unique Accessories

KangYong started theKANG in 2009, and only turned full-time in 2013. Known for using chainmail and upcycled materials like vinyl records and dyed cable ties, the label offers unisex handcrafted accessories with a modern edge. Here, he opens up about incorporating a part of himself in each of his creations.


Cabtie Earrings by theKang

How did you become a designer of handcrafted accessories?
I am a crafter at heart, so when I first took my label full-time, the biggest challenge I faced was the business and administrative end of things. As a one-man team, I handle everything from production to marketing, so I’m constantly learning, growing and improving, which is the greatest advantage for me.

How do you and theKANG thrive in the Singapore handcraft market?
I take great pride in quality craftsmanship, in creating pieces that are well-finished. It helps to educate the consumer on my creative process, how a particular design came to fruition after numerous trials and failures. Now, people are more appreciative of the handcrafting process. I am confident that my work speaks for itself as well.

Chainmail Body by theKang

Chainmail Body by theKang

What kinds of materials do you work with for your designs?
I work with aluminium and stainless steel in my chainmail work since 2009, a medium I really love. I have also experimented extensively with unconventional materials, like vinyl records, cable ties and fused plastic. I like to present existing materials in new ways, re-working or mixing them up in different combinations to achieve an unexpected finish.

Why do you think there’s a surge of interest in handcrafted products?
With the prolificacy of fast, disposable fashion, handcrafted goods provide a more intimate and unique experience. Every piece I create has a part of me in it. I believe the human touch adds more charm and soul to the final product.

Any advice for budding artists?
Eliminate self-doubt, be true to yourself and take the leap; we all have to start somewhere.

Feature image by Chen Sands Photography.

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