Take 5 with ... Jolene Fung from Jolene Jolene!

Portrait image of Jolene Fung from Jolene Jolene


This week we present to you: Jolene Fung from JOLENE JOLENE!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, where are you from, where did you study, and why did you choose to be based in Hong Kong (at least for now)?

I grew up in Hong Kong, studied in the UK for 5 years and later graduated from Central Saint Martins (CSM) in London with a Fashion (Print) Design Degree in 2013. I moved back to Hong Kong because it has a good environment for starting your own thing, also, its where many of my loved ones are. 

2. When and how did you come up with the idea for "Jolene Jolene"? How and why did you decide to work with up-cycling?

Its a continuous development of the technique that I developed during my final year at CSM. Basically I create everything with used plastic bags. When I first started, I was fascinated with the way the material shrinks (I still do, haha), the aesthetic and possibility of it. Sustainability actually came second and my interest in it has grown stronger as I look more and more into it day by day. 

With all the the facts and evidence, nobody can ignore that our environment is in crisis. Sustainability starts in design. In this day and age, it’s not good design if it is not sustainable. By up-cycling old material instead of using virgin material, we can keep tons of useful resources out of landfill, saving energy and effort that has gone into creating the old material in the first place and creating something that has even higher value.

Business-wise, a lot of people would say that they care about sustainability if you ask, but most people don't shop that way in reality. In order to provide what today's consumers want, and in order to attract and influence not just environmentally conscious consumers, we must always make products desirable. And I have a feeling of triumph when people are attracted to my work but can not tell that they are handmade with plastic bags.

My goal at Jolene Jolene is to make products/objects that are as desirable as well as sustainable. I also wish to change common perceptions (either less valued or not as appealing) of what handmade up-cycling craft can be.

3. How do you feel about waste in HK? 

As soon as you are conscious about it, you will see waste absolutely everywhere everyday in HK. Its scary when you start thinking about the density of people in Hong Kong, and it’s frustrating to see how most people are still ignoring the problem mostly out of convenience.

4. What's your personal battle? How do you make your everyday life greener?

My personal battle is definitely buying food in restaurant, especially the local ones. They often use single use plastic when you do take away or even eat in. I bring my own water container, handkerchief and tote bag everywhere. Also try to refuse as much single use item as I can.

5. What’s next for "Jolene Jolene"?

“Jolene Jolene” has gone through a period of time of testing the products and the market. Its growing steadily and I do not want to rush things. I am now refining the products, improving efficiency and quality, hoping to expand product ranges and points of sells and of cause continuous developing the technique creatively. I am also hoping to do more collaborations and am open to special projects.