Jeanine Hsu began her design journey in 2001 when she graduated from Central Saint Martin’s with a degree in womenswear design. After working in Vienna in theater production followed by a host of top design brands like Vivienne Westwood, Diesel and Alice Temperly, she returned to her roots in Hong Kong to begin Niin; a thoughtful exploration of fashion, beauty and respect for the fragility of nature.
Using collected materials and natural stones, Jeanine and her team create works of art inspired by the natural world. We love her stunning work and the ethos behind her creations, and are so excited to carry niin here at Coco Takumi!
1.) Your work and collections are very heavily influenced by a sense of spirituality and love for nature, is this something you’ve come to as you’ve grown up, or always felt?
Yes! I’ve always loved nature, and we were lucky to spend our summers in Austria immersed in it. From a young age, I would always find and collect things on walks in the forest or on the beach.
I started yoga aged 20, which was less ‘usual’ at the time, and really enjoyed it, so this allowed me to keep a spiritual element in my life and more balance—even living in a busy city like London or Hong Kong.
2.) What draws you to accessory design?
It is a mixture of fashion and sculpture, which are two mediums of expression that I trained in, and love. It is a very personal way of wearing your own fashion but without so much waste, as it is more timeless than fashion, but more useable than art.
3.) Do you have a specific process for designing your pieces?
Not really. Some might call it slightly haphazard, but it makes sense to me!It is a culmination of information and inspiration that tends to build up over time. We discuss it internally, as well as a team, and reflect upon how last season's collections were received.
It can start by looking over the different materials that may have been sourced/collected whilst also becoming inspired in a particular emotion or feeling. Considering my emotions is when the properties of healing crystals comes in, as we often find ourselves drawn towards particular stones at different times. The same happens in the design process for me. The colours of all of these elements also plays a part in how these designs come to life, as colours are said to impact our moods as well.
4.) What about Hong Kong inspires you?
The diversity, the food, the culture and mixing of old and new… the mountains and sea juxtaposed against the crazy bustling city.
5.) Do you have favored materials to work with or create in, if so, what and why?
I love using Abalone Shells (collected from HK restaurants) and wood (upcycled from furniture factories) and making them into designs worn on the body. What can be created from these waste materials is really special and offers a really grounding experience and one of unexpectedness.
I thoroughly enjoy mixing these elements. The different healing properties and colours of crystals and stones helps to create a complete vision and feeling.
6.) What re-energizes you outside of your work?
Yoga and hiking in nature (as cliché as it is!)
7.) What is the driving force that gets you out of bed in the morning?
My adored 2 year-old son
8.) What is a typical day like for you working on Niin?
Each day is very different! Basically I’m juggling a million things like most business owners. I will usually go in to the shop to see the team and maximize efficiency, but also I try to factor in spending a few hours with my baby either in the morning or at bedtime.
If we are having an event, then the schedule is quite different and the team is all running on synchronized task timelines "trying to get the job done"!
9.) What do you hope your customers receive from wearing and owning your pieces?
I hope they can feel happy and confident, and that it can give them a sense of grounding energy. I hope to spread the message that nature is precious and that we need to respect it. That we can tread lightly on the earth, stylishly ;)
Check our selection here !