In Dad's footsteps

In Dad's footsteps

Budding shoe designers Leung Ka-wing and Leung Ka-chun are inspired by their father's wacky ideas

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Leung Ka-wing (centre) with her father, Leung Dad-ming, and brother, Ka-chun, and her prize-winning Dragon and Phoenix shoe.
Leung Ka-wing (centre) with her father, Leung Dad-ming, and brother, Ka-chun, and her prize-winning Dragon and Phoenix shoe.
Photo: Oliver Tsang
When you scrap conventional boundaries and let your mind run free, innovative ideas will spring up from nowhere. This is how the Leung family's avant-garde and bizarre shoes are born.

In the 11th Footwear Design Competition last year, the Leungs rocked the runway. Leung Ka-chun, 16, won the prize for best ladies' shoe, while his sister, Leung Ka-wing, 18, came in second in the shoes and bags group.

The siblings owe their success to their shoe designer father Leung Dad-ming, who runs a shoe boutique, No Concept, in Lai Chi Kok. Their father's idiosyncratic designs go from funky sneakers to fairytale ballerina flats that allow customers to mix and match.

Watching him work, the siblings developed a passion for shoe design and a taste for the extraordinary.

Ka-chun's award-winning platform shoe is called Travel. He used miniature world heritage sites like Sydney's Opera House and Italy's Leaning Tower of Pisa for soles and heels.

"I have been to places far and near, like Japan, Britain and France last year, with my family and school ... I was fascinated by their famous architectural wonders and would love to put them into my designs," Ka-chun, from Tai Po Sam Yuk Secondary School, says. "This pair of heels speaks of my dream to travel around the world."

Dragon and Phoenix secured the silver prize for Ka-wing. She used sparkling rhinestones to outline the mythical creatures on a pair of white wedding shoes.

"The heels are ideal for Hong Kong, where East meets West," the Savannah College of Art and Design student explains.

"It works well with the white Western wedding gown ... and the red traditional Chinese qipao."

Ka-wing adds: "My dad's crazy and wild ideas have influenced our designs. We put the logistics aside and start with concept sketching, so nothing will hold back our creativity."

The Leungs bring ordinary things and materials that people don't notice in their daily lives into their shoes. They include tyres, fences and tower cranes, to name a few.

With a shoemaker father, the two teenagers have an advantage in shoe designing know-how.

"My classmates smell their shoes to tell whether they are made of real leather," Ka-wing laughs.

"But I know just from the texture and natural marks."

The Leungs' peculiar designs often baffle judges, designers and spectators.

But after six years at it, Ka-wing, whose shoes used to be seen only on the catwalk, now creates shoes people can wear to work and on a night out.

"If you want to be a professional designer, you must cater for the needs of the market. So I decided to shoot for more wearable designs, like Dragon and Phoenix," she says.

"I am happy that the pair of heels has been well-received by my friends. I have already received a couple of orders."


Travel by Leung Ka-chun


Dragon and Phoenix by Leung Ka-wing

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