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The Movers & Cashmere founder on making a luxury line fit to endure fast-paced lives.

Born in Hong Kong but raised in Vancouver, and with a background as an international entertainment industry executive, Leslie Tsang knows a thing or two about jet-setting. She kept her own itinerant lifestyle in mind when founding Movers & Cashmere, a line of understated, luxurious cashmere pieces designed to carry women through the busy rhythm of modern life. In the two years since its inception, Tsang’s label has set about reinventing cashmere as a contemporary material. Here, she shares her vision for the brand’s elegant, effortless style.  

What’s the big idea behind Movers & Cashmere?

I wanted to make cashmere that could take the dynamic, high-achieving people around me through the day in comfort, style and ease. People often think of cashmere as only scarves or sweaters. We wanted to give it a modern twist and transform people’s perceptions.

How do you incorporate the pieces into your own life?

The cashmere and Sørensen leather bomber jacket is my regular—it’s my favorite travel piece when boarding a flight. In winter, I wear the thin sweater a lot. Our design process has to be simple and minimal: We want to create a versatile piece with everyday design. I believe that if you have a long-lasting fabric, you have long-lasting style.

What other criteria do you consider from a design perspective when working with cashmere?

First of all, we focus on the finest materials and quality. We only use AA grade Inner Mongolian cashmere. With a material that fine, you have to let it speak for itself. Cashmere is so expensive that we require a very high skill set throughout the manufacturing process. We need the design to be pretty, but also workable and practical otherwise there will be a lot of wastage and damage; the cashmere is so delicate that a lot of expertise is required. With really good quality cashmere, it’s the little details that make a huge difference to the design.

Your brand brings a luxurious spin to comfortable staples like bomber jackets and track pants. How have you seen the appetite for luxury casuals change in recent years?

People used to put less investment into leisurewear and so they had an expectation of lower quality. Now, the border between leisurewear and label brands is less defined. Labels are developing leisure lines in addition to their main collections, and people are becoming more receptive to the idea that it can be a luxury. In turn, they have higher expectations from its quality and design.

What is your advice for shoppers who are new to cashmere?

Buy an investment piece that you can wear all the time. Because cashmere lasts a lifetime, you have to understand the nature of the material so that you can care for it. It’s a natural material so it’s possible that cashmere will pill. Comb it nicely, hand-wash it, lay it flat to dry, and then store it properly by folding it and placing in a drawer. I usually put some cedarwood blocks or lavender sacks in there, too.

  • Words:
    Pip Usher
  • Photography:
    Marsý Hild Þórsdóttir

"Our design process has to be simple and minimal: We want to create a versatile piece with everyday design."

You sell at retailers in London and Hong Kong. Do people in each city style your pieces differently?

In Hong Kong, customers enjoy bolder colors and are really willing to try new styles whereas in London they enjoy minimal colors and look for more simple, refined tailoring. In our latest collection, Composure, we have used feedback from the previous two to cater to both markets. We have a little bit of color on top of our natural palette for the Hong Kong clientele, but we also have some sculptural, minimalist tailoring for Europe.

You started out in the entertainment industry as agent to Asian movie star Shu Qi. When did your interest in fashion start?

I’ve always been interested. My grandfather [Huang Feng] was a renowned movie director in Asia—he produced, directed and acted in over 50 movies. I spent a lot of time with him when I was growing up and he had a huge impact on my interest in art, design and creative work.

Are there any advantages to founding a fashion label without a design background?

Because I was not professionally trained as a designer, I think from a customer’s perspective. And when you don’t know the rules, you don’t play by the rules. I’m always challenging the process.

This post is produced in partnership with Movers & Cashmere

  • Words:
    Pip Usher
  • Photography:
    Marsý Hild Þórsdóttir
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