The unknowable Joey Ma
Kawai Wong meets HK’s most flamboyantly dressed yet inwardly balanced man of fashion. Photography by Janice Li
It’s only a matter of time before fashion blogger Joey Ma becomes a sensation. An icon in his own right, his unabashed style is already making him stand out from the crowd. His six-foot-two inch frame (plus an additional two-inch wedge, courtesy of Rick Owens) often casts an unmissable presence at fashion parties.
Don’t let his cross-dressing prowess and loud style lead you to think of him as an HK version of the diva-esque Bryanboy. He’s actually quite humble and simply lets his clothes do the talking. So here he is, sharing his unique take on fashion, and providing six exclusive autumn/winter styles just for you. In this often-conservative city, with its copycat values, it’s exciting to have somebody like Ma who is so unafraid and experimental with his fashion…
I am totally aware of my style. I know it is extreme and some people love it and some hate it. I don’t care about what people think of my looks. To care about every positive or negative comment about me on top of all the sadness and sorrow in this world would make me emotionally unstable! Besides, I dress for myself and nobody else – so other people’s opinions actually mean nothing to me. And this is exactly why I always remind myself never to judge anyone based on their appearance.
People think I must be a crazy flamboyant person based on what I wear but, in fact, I am quite shy. Therefore, I don’t see myself working in the fashion industry at all. I work at my family’s fruit export and import business. And I travel a lot. When it comes to work clothes, I don’t really give a toss – a shirt and office trousers from Zara or H&M will do the job. I don’t wear accessories for work, not even a watch. But recently I have found that Neil Barrett has some amazing clothes for work – I particularly love their shirts.
I think there are two persons living inside me: the work and realistic self, and the fun and creative self. I think a person can have many personalities. My fashiony side represents how open-minded I can be. I always tell my friends I live a double life because the way I dress is the polar opposite to my personality. But I really enjoy this contradiction. I think this makes my life more fun and memorable.
I have always cared about the way I look since I was a teenager. But I only started dressing uniquely in around 2004, when I was 20 years old and had just moved to Boston. I was really into the local punk rock concert scene back then, so I began dressing like a punk, wearing lots of Vivienne Westwood. I loved how she designed for Sid Vicious from the Sex Pistols back in the 70s. Westwood still makes the same designs that she did almost 40 years ago. Her 3D and asymmetric cuts are my favourite. Her designs are totally incomparable. I don’t think anyone can ever take over her style.
It was around the same time that I discovered Raf Simons (I was browsing on eBay at the time): he has changed my entire fashion view. His collections between 2004 and 2006 were my favourite. I love how he hybridised street fashion with high fashion, tearing the sleeves on long vests and pairing them with super well-tailored high waist trousers... it was so amazing. I am very happy about Simons’ success, but I do miss the old Raf Simons when he was all about innovation. I know I am six-foot-two, but I just love Rick Owens wedges and high heels so much! I’ve been wearing lots of them for about two years now.
Currently, I also have a penchant for Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci. My goodness, his designs are just amazing. From clothes to bags to accessories, he always brings us new and refreshing ideas!
I do occasionally wear womenswear, but only very rarely as I am a tall guy, so I don’t really fit into the majority of women’s clothes.
About five percent of what I have in my wardrobe is womenswear. I guess I have an eye for unisex pieces. When I said ‘wardrobe’, what I really meant was my entire home! I am a messy person, my clothes are scattered everywhere – on the sofa, on the dining table... I don’t really know how big my wardrobe is any more!
‘Looking good’ is a very subjective thing. I hate judging people because I always ask myself this: “Who are you to talk shit about people who you think look bad?” To be honest, whether I look good is the most important thing to me. I think when I feel comfortable in what I am wearing, I know I look good.
I don’t care about fashion trends. I mix and match stuff – mainly vintage apparel and high-end clothes that I buy online from Not Just A Label, Luisa Via Roma or the Hong Kong boutique Kniq. I get inspiration every day by watching people on the street – not just their clothes, but their actions and interactions with the others. I find human reactions very inspiring. I also love going to art galleries and looking at paintings. Abstract paintings always inspire me.
I believe everyone is unique and has their own taste in fashion. That’s why I named my blog ‘Individuality’. And if there is one rule about ‘looking good’, I would say definitely know your body proportion well. Once you know which part of your body to accentuate or hide, then I think you can pick the best pieces and you will always look good.
Joey Ma shops online at Luisaviaroma.com, Oki-ni.com and Hervia.com. Also, check out Ma’s blog: www.joey-ma.com.
For Joey Ma's other looks, please check out Time Out Hong Kong Issue 88, featuring double covers Wyman Wong and Sammi Cheng.