Interview with designer Petra Greening

Briefly say hi and tell us a little about yourself

Hi there Stade Mag! I’m Petra, a half-Chinese half-British graphic designer, resort wear designer and entrepreneur born and raised in Hong Kong.

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How did you get into graphic design? What attracted you to it? Funnily enough I never set out to do graphic design!

When I left high school, I landed an internship with a local fashion brand to get my start in fashion marketing. We were a small team and as an intern I found myself working in different areas of the company. This is when I started doing graphic design professionally, mainly postcards, flyers and name cards. I already had some basic knowledge of using design software as a teen, photo manipulating portraits of myself and friends and doing nightlife flyers for club events.

As my boss was an entrepreneur, the company moved into jewelry then we rebranded and became a wellness PR firm doing branding for wellness companies from activewear to health food brands as well as hosting our own events. I wasn’t discouraged by the changes in the industry during the five years I worked for this company because I enjoyed learning about all the different sectors and the experience was invaluable.

So to answer your question, it sort of just.. Happened!

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What kind of projects do you look forward to working on? Do you have a topic or category you enjoy working on the most?

I really enjoy working for the F&B industry. Restaurants and bars tend to need a lot of design assets and update them regularly for promos, menu changes, pop ups, flyers, you name it. I think it’s one of the best industries to showcase design and brand cohesion that tells a memorable story. It’s very rewarding when you have a chance as a designer to showcase your original work over various mediums which people will remember.

I also really enjoy creating nightlife flyers. They don’t take up too much time and Hong Kong has had some great events and artists come through, especially in recent years.

Along with being a designer, you’re also a model. What came first? Being a designer or model?

The graphic design came first. I was designing nightlife flyers in my late teens but the modelling came shortly after when friends that were starting their own businesses reached out to shoot. I never signed with an agency – I much prefer the freedom of being freelance. I’m also shorter than the average international model and have tattoos. I had a few things working against me but the modelling industry has definitely become more accepting.

I see you also designed your own swimwear line. How did this come about? Was designing clothes always something that appealed to you? Looking forward, what do you have planned?

Fashion design has been at the back of my mind since hand sewing my own Barbie clothes out of 1 foot by 1 foot fabric swatches my mum brought home.

I was always hesitant about which area of fashion I wanted to be involved in and struggled with what felt most authentic and organic. Did I want to get into jewellery, millinery, activewear, bridal? I had always been anxious about starting my own brand, but my husband was a huge driving force in making my swimwear brand, HOLLOW happen. He was incredibly encouraging and supportive and my mind was made up when we moved to a little beach village. Resort wear just seemed to fit perfectly with my lifestyle and what I wanted to share.

As for the future, I have my next collection planned out but am conscious about overproducing and being mindful about waste and production so I’m currently finding ways to make my brand going forward more ethical.

One amazing thing about Hong Kong is how densely creative it is. I’m involved with a few projects at the moment aside from

my swimwear and graphic design – along with more modelling, I have an exciting new venture into the adult toy and sexual health community in Hong Kong. It’s still in its very early stages but I’m really excited about it.

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For more of Petra’s work, click here to see her website or click here to visit her Instagram.

Click here to see Hollow’s website, Petra’s swimwear label.

Photography by Petra Greening, Bowl Li, Geoffrey Chow, Nicoline Aagessen, Inga Beckmann and Jo Cheung.