By Christopher DeWolf
Don’t talk to Douglas Young about kitsch. If there’s any word that gets the designer/entrepreneur worked up, it’s this one. “The South China Morning Post called me the King of Kitsch,” he says. “I think Hong Kong people were brought up to think their culture is ugly or kitsch. People say our products are ngak gweilo – made for gweilos or tourists. When I hear that, I get really upset.”
It’s something Young has dealt with ever since he launched Goods of Desire, a cheeky, provocative lifestyle brand that mines Hong Kong culture and history for inspiration. If there is anyone in Hong Kong who still doesn’t know G.O.D., they will certainly have seen one of its irreverent products: cushions printed with the façades of tong lau tenements, bum-shaped mooncakes, boxer shorts that reference the glory days of Hong Kong comics – not to mention t-shirts printed with the brand’s slogan, Delay No More, a reference to a vulgar yet remarkably common Cantonese phrase.