3 Influencing & Inspiring Women You Need to Know!


Who run the world? Girls! In honor of International Women’s Day, we want to celebrate bold & inspiring female fashion designers based in Hong Kong who continue to empower today’s modern woman through their vision, design & craft. An industry that is predominantly led by men, it is more important than ever to acknowledge the powerful role women have played in shaping the fashion game today.

Meet our talented #PolkaPicks who influence and inspire us, and we hope you are just as inspired to be limitless & #BeBoldForChange:


#POLKAPICKS: Jasmine Smith of Raven + Rose

RAVEN + ROSE lingerie is for women who flirt with what it is to be unpredictable. Women who prefer chunky boots over high heels; silver studs over diamonds, soft-bondage over soft-lace; and bed-hair over perfect curls. These women loiter on the edge of classic femininity. They embrace minimalism through simplistic lines and androgynous fashion.

Jasmine, what was your boldest move?  

Deciding to work against the traditions of the lingerie industry when it comes to my branding and target market.  

RAVEN + ROSE doesn't align itself with flirtatious winks or air kisses, cleavage, frills or giggles.  There is no ideal 'Victoria's Secret Angel' in my branding.  RAVEN + ROSE is still very sexy, almost intimidatingly so, but that is because of the wild rawness it captures in women, not because of their perfect proportions.

What inspired you?

Insecurities of my own... which I constantly saw other females struggling with also.

I recognized there was a problem with the way females were being represented sexually and with what they thought was the 'norm'.  I wanted to offer an alternative, fix a problem, and do so via the tools I personally have at hand - which for me is a background in fashion design and the knowledge of how to send a strong message via imagery.

What was the best advise you received from another designer, entrepreneur or business leader? 

"Don't ever get into Fashion Styling, there is no money in it"...

But I did anyway and styled for over 10 years!  

I got into Fashion knowing that I'd have to take on clients I didn't particularly want to, pick up the odd waitressing or English Teaching job along the way, I'd have to budget properly, spend thrifty and skip a night out or two if I had bills instead to pay.

What seemed like a negative piece of advice at the time was in fact the most beneficial words I could have received as a 17 year old as it represented the bare reality of being a 'creative' and what it took to remain one.

What advise would you give to young designers and entrepreneurs?  

A quote to keep you dedicated to YOUR vision, YOUR vision... 

"What's the point in your own thoughts if you are always worried about what others think."

Tell us more about your #OwnYourBody campaign and what you hope to achieve.

#OwnYourBody is a photography series developed to highlight the sexual ethos of RAVEN + ROSE.  I present the brands beliefs via various body shapes and personalities of females who feel connected to my lingerie and what it represents. 

Photographer Sever Mican and I have partnered to create this campaign and through his lens we celebrate what it is to be femininely sensual and sexy void ‘the male gaze’.  

What I hope to achieve... I want women to OWN their own sexuality and how it is visually projected.  I want women to take back the control they gave over to the mainstream media who seems to decide how we should be represented with the males POV always coming before our own.  I want women to feel inspired to simply embrace their form of sexuality as it is.

Because in ownership there is strength, and what better place to start than with your most intimate and raw self!


#POLKAPICKS: Maria Estrada of What the Frock?!

What the Frock?! dresses are made with beautiful high quality fabrics, mainly silk, that feel fabulous on your skin. We believe in flattering silhouettes, gorgeous fabrics, fun patterns and colours, and aim to keep your wardrobe bursting with fabulous frocks for all sorts of occasions.

What was your boldest move?  What motivated you?

Having worked for a company during my whole career, I think the boldest move I’ve made so far was to take the plunge and start my own business. I just felt like it was the right time and place to do it. 

I always had the desire to start my own business and shortly after I moved to Hong Kong I met my business partner Lauren. We both thought that there was a limited offering of good quality summer dresses at affordable prices so we saw a gap in the market and decided to give it a try. It’s been a steep learning curve since we started it but it’s so worth it! There’s no better feeling than hearing that your customers love your dresses, or running into someone wearing your designs! 

What was the best advice you received from another female designer/entrepreneur/business leader?

The importance for an entrepreneur and independent designer to constantly develop relationships that will create opportunities.  To not be afraid to approach people, especially in a city like Hong Kong. You’ll be surprised by how much help you can get if you just ask. 

What advice would you give to young designers and entrepreneurs?   

Sadly there is no shortcut. The only way to succeed on setting up a new business is by working hard and being strategic. First of all, you need to have an amazing product that you believe in, than focus on driving sales and opportunities.

Also, make a business plan that will guide your through your journey. It’s very likely that it will change quite a lot with time, but it’s always good to have a vision and some objectives of what you want to achieve so you can work towards something. I wish I knew how important this was when we first started the business.

What message does What the Frock hope to convey to women?  Confidence, power, self-worth..... 

All the above! We feel very strong about empowering women through our designs. 

Women should be able to feel they can dress in a feminine way without being worried about whether or not they will be taken seriously. Fashion needs to continue to help break down barriers at work. Through our designs we want to help women of all shapes and sizes to build that confidence they want to portray.


#POLKAPICKS: Cat Preston of Catherine Preston Jewellery

Catherine Preston creates and designs luminous, wearable jewellery pieces loved for their distinctive elegance and originality.  Jewellery is often the tangible expression of love, loss, hope or connection.  I trade in the stories behind the pieces.

Tell us more about your collections and what inspires you.

My collections are designed according to my belief that the jewellery you choose to wear tells your story and is a reflection of who you are as a person.

I have always been a magpie, attracted to the beguiling sparkle and magic of jewellery. At it’s best it has the power to delight, transform, empower, protect and even possibly to heal. But for me, the fascination is in the stories that are so often intrinsically captured within the pieces. The sentimental associations of love, friendship, celebration, remembrance that render a piece so personal, cherished and priceless to us.

In 2010 I studied jewellery design in Singapore and started to make simple pieces in silver. My work now takes me all over the world, and has connected me with some incredibly talented, creative, inspiring people for whom it has been my privilege to design beautiful pieces that have become part of their story.

I endeavour to design jewellery that is captures the essence of the wearer and symbolises their personal loves and dreams. Intrinsically beautiful, elegant and wearable but with a little bit of magic in the mix.




March 08 2017, 0 Comments