On Hollywood Road

Moustache Fifth Anniversary, a Look Back, pt. 2

Posted in Uncategorized by Alex Daye on September 20, 2014

4.P1030370One nice day in the spring of ’09, Ellis and I and our colleague Brandice Chau took a lunch time stroll around Sheung Wan to see what the real estate scene was like for a ground-floor retail space. At that point, the world’s economy was tanking pretty quickly, and though it didn’t turn out to be a severe downturn here in Hong Kong, it was early enough that everyone was freaking out, and maybe as a result there were a lot of vacant shops and the rents were freakishly low-ish for about a week. We jumped. We’d spent a few nights in the gay bar next door- long since relocated- and it was a stone’s throw from our place on Hollywood Road, and those black tile floors- if you’ve spent anytime evaluating real estate in Hong Kong, you know how hard it is to find a good floor!

2.P1030201 1It was kind of a lark, to be completely honest, but I suppose if one doesn’t throw in for something like a lark in life at least sometimes, then big changes will never come. Spoken like an eighty-year old man! Ellis and I just happen do things like that quite frequently. To some people it might seem reckless, but sitting on the other side of five years, it seems like it might be worth something.

As is the ability to make a space look amazing without having to completely demolish it and rebuild- which, for the record, is one of the rudest things a new business can do to its neighbors: I can’t tell you how many gut renovations I have had to endure, how many jackhammers and concrete drills day and night for a shop that won’t even make 6 months in business!

5.P1030443 6.P1030444The local delivery trucks inspired the colour of the wall; the antiques emporiums of Hollywood Road and the rest of the neighborhood inspired the decor, a mix of old city maps and standing screens purchased, in fact, in nearby Zhongshan and not-so-nearby Beijing and Calcutta. 7.IMG_5819 8.IMG_5823 9.IMG_5824 10.IMG_5830 11.IMG_5829 12.IMG_5835 13.IMG_5842We got a lot of attention those days for the Chinese-ness of our decoration style as well as the novel for the time brightness of our knickers and vests. One of the great things about manufacturing underpants is the never-ending supply of underpants one can acquire- I’d encourage anyone to try it. Failing a start up, I can heartily endorse Moustache underpants! 17.IMG_20091210_113216.IMG_20091210_113118.IMG_20091210_1137 19.IMG_20091210_1147 We bought a great big box of vintage cufflinks and other haberdashery mainstays from our old friend from New York and now famously of Miami, Keni Valenti. We also did a bit of crafting, as you do in this era! We bought a whole pile of cheap Chinese canvas plimsolls and had a proper shoe painting party. I can’t tell you how popular these were, but we couldn’t keep them in stock because they were too much damn work! (a sad note about the below photo, our dear old cat Pusskins, standing proudly and beautifully at the end of the row of shoes, who came with us from New York to Boston to Hong Kong and even fell from the roof of our first apartment here in Hong Kong, passed away just as we were packing our bags to move from our flat in Wan Chai. May he rest in peace.)20.IMG_6341Here are a few shots from a photo shoot we did with Rensis Ho, a very friendly and talented photographer who introduced himself to us early in our days at the shop. It follows the same Shek-O / Sheung Wan, town & country vibe, as our last, but with a whole new slew of friendly faces.  SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC

Yes, that is Jen Spencer Kentrup, in a chic silk linen suit, looking very much the lady-of-the-canyon!

14.IMG_5914And the true super models of those hard but fun early days, Brandice, who grew that Moustache just for the brand… 15.IMG_6252

And of course Ellis, posing here with Waffles, who joined just at the beginning of this adventure and is still as cute as ever!

Stay Tuned for the Third Part for More about Our Early Years


2 Responses

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  1. minapark1 said, on September 22, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    This was such a lovely retrospective of Moustache. I wish I had been there from the very beginning! xx

  2. […] Stay Tuned for the Second Part, the Opening of Moustache […]

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