You might recognise the face of this month’s Super Styler, as it’s usually all over huge billboards in Hong Kong! That’s right, we caught up with the gorgeous former face of Folli Follie, Hong Kong model, actress and surfer Gaile Lok. She’s been in the fashion business since she was 14 years old, so not only does she know her way around a camera lens, but she also has a wealth of experience in the industry. That’s why we were excited to hear about her brand new jewellery label, ‘Smoky Roses by Gia’, which is launching this month! We caught up with Gaile about this new venture, her experience as a model and how she stays grounded in this month’s Super Styler.
Fill us in on your background and your childhood?
I loved growing up in America, as there’s such a diversity of mixed cultures. From food and fashion, to art and holiday celebrations. I remember learning about other cultures and respecting different beliefs at a young age.
Where do you live and what touches have you added to your home that reflect your personality?
I think one of the best perks in the modelling industry is the ability to travel, work and meet different people from all around the world. When I travel, I love going to flea markets or small little shops to look at artwork and home ware, which I think is a very important touch to creating style and ambiance in my home.
When did you start modelling and what are some perks of the job?
I was scouted when I was fourteen by an Italian photographer and I’ve been lucky enough to work with so many talented photographers, designers and brands in this industry. Some have been famous and some are just so passionate about what they do.
One of the most inspiring people I’ve met would have to be Vivienne Tam. She has such a strong personality. She’s a woman who believes in herself and worked very hard to get to where she is, starting from nothing. She told me that if you want something, you have to really want it and not just say it, you need to show you want it through your actions too!
Any advice for our readers who want to break into the fashion industry?
I think with any industry, you just have to be passionate about what you do, work hard and be patient. If you are doing it because you love it, then achievement and accomplishment is only judged by how happy you are with it. If you love it and believe in it, then others will see that too!
You always look stylish, what are your style bible rules?
Always wear what you want or you will regret it! Don’t be shy or worried about being over dressed. Fashion is about expressing yourself, and as women we are so lucky to be able to dress up as someone different everyday!
What are your favourite hidden shops in Hong Kong?
There are little shops in Soho that I love and Causeway Bay is great for walking around and browsing.
What are the best budget boutiques in Hong Kong?
Budgeting is about knowing what to look for and where to look for it. I suggest night markets, as there can be some interesting pieces every now and then.
Is modelling as fun and glamorous as it seems?
Some days when you are put into a gorgeous one-of-a-kind dress with diamonds the size of lollipops it can make you feel like a princess, but there are also days where you can be cramped backstage for hours with no food, or wearing winter clothes in 90-degree weather outdoors. I think overall it’s a learning experience, and if you love fashion, then in any situation you will enjoy it and have fun!
How do you keep your two feet on the ground?
By remembering who I was before I started modelling! And trust me, I don’t get any special treatment when I go back to the States to visit family and childhood friends. They treat me like they would anyone else and I love it!
What do you love to do in your spare time? (We heard you like to surf!)
I feel so calm and free when I’m surfing. It’s a great cardio workout and requires a lot of concentration and focus, which is a wonderful way to help improve your daily life. There are also moments when you just sit there on your board for an hour waiting for waves. I like to use this time to think and have a moment to myself!
Why are accessories so important?
Everyone can wear a white T-shirt and blue jeans, but it’s accessories that allow a person to express their own personality and create individuality.
When you’re not modelling, what do you like to do?
I design and run production for my label. When not doing that, I sleep in and watch TV all day or go for a surf to relax. Sometimes the mind just needs to shut down and do nothing!
Are you very entrepreneurial?
I would say I am more creative than business-minded. But I’m willing to learn, and when you are starting your own business, it’s quite important to be hands on with everything and get involved as much as possible!
What country do you go to for inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere and constantly changing. One of the things I learned in art school is that when you’re not feeling inspired, you should just sit there and watch! Watch anything!
How difficult is it to launch a jewellery label and any tips for budding designers?
It’s not difficult to launch anything these days with so much being online. I think it’s important to just carry on with your passion through years of good and bad. Designing and fashion is a constant learning experience and grows as you grow.
What are some signature pieces from the collection?
I think the palm rings are quite reflective of the brand aesthetic. We have three different collections, which are all semi-handcrafted. Some of the pieces are more statement and some are smaller and finer and are great for layering. Since it’s my first collection, I wanted to test out a bit of everything.
What is the biggest difference between American and Hong Kong style?
I don’t think there is much of a difference these days, as online fashion is more available to everyone and people from all over the world can learn styles from each other.
All of the jewellery worn above is from Gaile’s new amazing jewellery range Smoky Roses Jewellery available at I.T.
I.T. Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2890 7012, www.ithk.com
The official Smoky Roses by Gia has just launched! Check it out here.
The beautiful photographs above are all taken by the lovely Martice Milton, check out more of her work here!