niin | Zayah Collection
Zayah: Pronounced ‘Zai-ah’, the name is taken from a traditional Tibetan girl’s name. It is a name evoking the sounds of ‘Gaia’; earthy, true, wholesome – with a touch of mystique and creativity befitting a confident and vibrant independent woman.
Zayah is inspired by the beauty of transformation. Just as the elements of earth shape one another through movement and seasonal forces, this collection explores the contrasts of the natural world and the breath-taking majesty they create. The untamed, dynamic energy of the earth is personified in one of history’s most iconic women, Cleopatra. Her mystique and independence have been immortalised through legend and literature and live on today in the creativity and strength of the modern woman.
I created the following ten portraits:
Cara G Mcilroy Genie Juicery
Hailing from Australia, Cara McIlroy is co-founder of popular juice brand, Genie Juicery. Born in country Victoria,
Australia, Cara has a mixture of Australian, Singaporean, Swiss, Irish, Thai, German and Arabic. Her unique
heritage helped direct her towards a formidable career as a model and TV presenter. Starting out her
profession in Singapore, she was quickly lured to the hustle of Hong Kong as a promising 21 year-old model.
Cara has worked for the likes of Dior and Max Mara and has shot a host of commercials, print ads and
fashion editorials for magazines such as Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire. In 2010 the popular celebrity
model branched out into TV hosting, debuting on Channel V, Star World and National Geographic Channel.
Being an avid health nut, Cara and school friend Melanie, saw a massive health gap. Having both worked
in the city’s thriving fashion industry for many years, they began to feel the repercussions a busy lifestyle of
a Hong Kong city dweller has on ones body. With no suitable detox options available at the time, in 2011
Genie Juicery was born. As certified Health Coaches from The School of Integrative Nutrition, the girls put
themselves in good steed to educate Hong Kong’s health conscious and opened their flagship store
in ifc shopping centre in 2014. Now offering cold pressed juices, smoothies, nut milks, cold brew coffee and
snacks, Genie Juicery is a one-stop destination for all things healthy.
As a wife, mother, dog owner, business owner and career lady, Cara is a woman who wears many hats. And with
plans to open more Genie stores throughout Asia, this mum-trepreneur isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
“Since becoming a mother, my family - my daughter and my husband - are what inspires me. They inspire
me be to be the best version of myself. That is my daily motivation, my daily inspiration”
Vivienne Tang Editor-in-chief : AsiaSpa
Vivienne Tang has been the Editor-in-Chief of AsiaSpa for three years and has been expressing her passion
for wellness and travel for nearly a decade, having launched her own holistic lifestyle website, The Source
Asia, in 2008. Prior to AsiaSpa she spent 12 years in fashion and lifestyle publishing, working for Prestige Hong
Kong and the South China Morning Post. Today, she fuses the two worlds to bring you the best in luxury
lifestyle, travel and wellness. Furthermore, she has also co-founded The Sanctuary three years ago, a holistic
wellness centre that offers holistic treatments, as well as meditation and workshops.
“I mainly find inspiration in self-development and traveling. Both of them have to do with keeping an open
mind and widening one’s horizon. I love visiting new places and getting to know the culture there and
simply being exposed to their way of thinking, their rituals etc. And then I also love exploring my own depths
and vastness through meditation and holistic healing techniques. Both are beautiful and unpredictable
adventures that nourish my soul and help me grow on a personal level.”
Mimi Brown The Spring Workshop
Mimi Brown is the founder of Spring Workshop, a non-profit arts initiative. Mimi grew up in California, then
headed to the University of Grenoble to study French translation and ski the Alps. Mimi then stayed near the
Atlantic to study music composition and comparative religion at Harvard College, where she directed an
a cappella group, was the first woman to co-compose the score for the Hasty Pudding drag musical, gave
a speech at graduation, edited the Let’s Go France travel guide and spent more time in costume than in
the classroom. After being charmed by the lilt of Italians conversing in a postcard shop, she moved to Rome
where she worked with the European Commission and UN World Food Program after a stint as an on-set
teacher at Cinecitta. She returned to California to work for Quincy Jones and then completed her MBA at
Stanford Business School while cross-registering into the acoustics program across campus.
In 2005, Mimi moved to Hong Kong on a whim with her husband and baby son, looking for adventure, and
has since founded Spring Workshop, a non-profit artist-residency program that supports the people and
institutions of the cultural landscape both in Hong Kong and abroad. She is a board member of Asia Art Archive,
Harvard’s Signet Society and Cate School, and enjoys supporting Para Site Art Space and Performa.
In her spare time, she teaches yoga, listens to jazz as medicine, adores the New Yorker magazine, and
dreams of being a killer salsa dancer.
“I am inspired by efforts and acts that encourage us to remember that we are all in this together, and
inspired by those who extend generosity in good times and bad.
I am energized by fearlessness, especially in women, and especially when a woman uses her voice to speak
up above the din of the normal world to speak her truth, regardless of the consequences.
I am encouraged by people who show a willingness to follow their spirits beyond their rationality, people
who heed Ralph Waldo Emerson’s encouragement to write “whim” on the lintels of our doors, trusting that
the wide and varied experiences that come next will result in greater wisdom and empathy with the world.
I am inspired by singular, blazing talents like the musician Esperanza Spalding, and also by brilliant, stalwart
girlfriends like my fellow niin fan Claire Hsu.”
Katie de Tilly 10 Chancery Lane Gallery
Katie de Tilly arrived in Hong Kong in 1994 when Chinese Contemporary art was yet to come into
international focus. She delved into the rich historical, social and cultural context in China and developed
an eye that sees beyond what Chinese art was perceived as - colourful, political, and derivative of pop
art. She founded 10 Chancery Lane Gallery in Hong Kong in 2001. The gallery has since been exploring the
developing art scenes of the Asia-Pacific region, a key driving force in contemporary arts’ culture in Hong
Kong and is one of Asia’s leading contemporary art galleries. In 2006 and 2008, the Gallery expanded to
5000 sq. feet of industrial warehouses in Chai Wan in order to host large-scale exhibitions. She and her husband,
Georges have recently founded H-KAGE foundation. She is also a member of the Tate Modern APAC
committee and is Co-President of the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association.
“In all moments in time the artists of that generation leave us physical marks to identify our existence and
histories. The architecture, design and artworks left to us allow us to understand the past. Today’s artists are
creating the future’s past. Those who do it well inspire me to no end. I am inspired by those mad people
who challenge convention and break out of the mold and whose vision forges the path for our futures.
Think of the cities of Rome, Paris, Chicago where both ancient and more recent architectures inspire daily
and remain timeless. Think about the great works of art from centuries old to today and think about those
that remain when the rest is sifted away.”
Claire Hsu Asia Art Archive
Claire Hsu is co-founder and executive director of Asia Art Archive (AAA), an independent non-profit
organisation dedicated to documenting and enabling research on the recent history of art in Asia within an
international context. Comprised of 85% donated material, AAA is one of the most comprehensive resources
on contemporary art in the region. In addition to its freely accessible physical library and online collection,
AAA is a proactive platform to instigate critical thinking, research, and dialogue - bringing people together,
and connecting to other nodes within a larger network. AAA is committed to creating a collection
that belongs to the public, in a space that is open and productive, generating new ideas that continually
reshape the Archive itself.
Claire is co-editor of AAA’s e-journal, Field Notes, and she has participated as a speaker in a number of
forums around the world. She sits on the general and acquisition committees of M+ and the board of The
Foundation for Arts Initiatives. Claire received an Asian Cultural Council Starr Foundation Fellowship in 2003,
RBS Coutts/Financial Times Women in Asia Award in 2009, and was selected as a 2013 Young Global Leader
by the World Economic Forum.
“Camille, my third daughter, was born on the 21st April last month, and spending every hour of the last few
weeks with her and her sisters has once again reminded me of the incredible gift and cycle of life. Having a
child is both humbling and inspiring as you ask yourself whether you are doing the best you can to make this
a world you want them to grow up in. And how, as a mother, can you inspire your children as they grow up
to give back and live their life to the fullest?
I am also very lucky to be able to work in a field I am truly passionate about - the arts. I fundamentally believe
that creativity and freedom of thought is at the core of enabling the human spirit to flourish and grow.
Creativity is a frame of mind which allows inspiration to be found in the even the most unusual or difficult of
places - from the heroic, the new, the spectacular to the past, the poetic, the everyday. I am constantly
drawing inspiration from multiple sources driven by the knowledge that there is always something new to
learn and uncover.”
Thierry Chow Designer / Feng Shui Master
Thierry Chow is an illustrator, designer and a feng shui master. In 2011, Thierry started her apprenticeship
under her father, Mr. Chow Hon Ming, a well respected Feng Shui Master based in Hong Kong who has
been practicing feng shui for over 30 years. Graduating from Sheridan College in Toronto, Canada with
a Bachelor of Applied Illustration, Thierry has always been very passionate about art, working on various
design projects. Today, Thierry focuses on feng shui and design, hosting different workshops and creating
different projects. Including founding TRE, a contemporary feng shui concept that provides a new outlook
and creative ideas to modernise feng shui with a 21st century approach.
“I think people that I love inspires me the most, especially those whom are talented , honest and good
hearted people, such as my father, good friends, my fiancé whose also an artist , and anyone that I meet
that are passionate about what they do. Things such as love, good music, good art, nature and my two
dogs Potato & Zoidberg inspire me, these things always give me motivation to do better, to be creative and to
do more good.”
Marissa Fung Shaw Asian Cultural Council
As an active contributor to the arts sector in Hong Kong, Marissa has pursued a number of independent
projects to expand access to the arts in the community. Through Draw Together Hong Kong, Marissa spearheaded
a community engagement project that introduced a broad cross-section of the community to
the joys of drawing, working in unusual venues, such as, hospitals, Central pier sites and historical locations,
including the Fringe Club.
Since 2006, she has worked with the Asian Cultural Council Hong Kong both as a committee member and
a director of external relations. Most recently, she was invited to serve as trustee on the board of the Asian
Cultural Council as well as a board of director for The Absolute Fabulous Theatre Connection - a theatre
production company working with schools and the local community to expand arts learning through theatre
As founder and principal design consultant of Creative Partnerships, Marissa built a vibrant interior design
practice that has evolved to emphasize cross-disciplinary design collaboration as well as the arts. With skills
in design, design team supervision, project and tender process management, Marissa completed a broad
range of office, retail and residential projects.
Marissa is a graduate of Brown University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts. She later
obtained a post graduate Diploma of Interior Design (Hons) from the Inchbald School of Design in London;
followed by a post graduate diploma in Integrated Arts (Hons) from University of Hong Kong’s School of
Professional and Continuing Education.
“I find inspiration by working with and learning from people. Recognizing that everyone possesses unique
gifts and different perspectives, I enjoy collaborating with creative people who have shared vision and
goals; quite often these collaboration spark new ideas and solutions. Nature also provides me with energy,
inspiration and thinking space as well as respite. I enjoy being outdoors or talking walks and observing
whether on land, in the mountains or at sea. Finally, the arts bring me a lot of inspiration. Seeing, hearing or
watching artists at work, or performing gives me a better understanding and teaches me about human
expression on many levels. Music, visual arts, dance are all a part of a universal language that weaves a
rich fabric about how we all see and express thoughts, emotions and view points. The possibilities are endless.”
Su-Mei Thompson The Women’s Foundation
Su-Mei Thompson is CEO of The Women’s Foundation, a NGO dedicated to the advancement of women
and girls in Hong Kong. TWF’s signature programmes include its Financial Literacy and Employability
Programme for marginalised communities of women and its Life Skills and Gender Awareness Programmes
for adolescent girls and boys. Meanwhile, TWF’s highly acclaimed Mentoring Programme for Women
Leaders and Leading Women Speaker Series are helping to build the pipeline of female talent for senior
executive and nonexecutive roles. In 2013, Su-Mei founded the 30% Club HK, a group of chairmen and CEO
leaders who are committed to bringing more women onto corporate boards.
Su-Mei started her career at Linklaters as a corporate finance associate and went on to hold senior
management positions at The Walt Disney Company, the Financial Times and Christie’s. A Cambridge,
Oxford and IMD graduate, Su-Mei was also a recipient last year of the Andy Choa Scholarship which sponsors
Hong Kong NGO leaders to attend the SPNM programme at Harvard Business School. She is a member of the
Equal Opportunities Commission of Hong Kong, a board member of Natural Beauty Bio-technology Limited
and of Opera HK, and a council member of The Cheltenham Ladies College, her alma mater.
“There is a global consensus forming that while progress has been made, we are still a long way from
gender equality - whether it’s the gender gap in pay or rigid workday workplace structures that continue
to disadvantage working mothers or biases about the leadership aptitude of women and men. At the UN
recently, the security of women and girls - not just in extremist cultures but also in the developed world -
was highlighted as a major global concern where we seem to be going backwards. At TWF, we are very
research-centric: we want to get to the root causes of the issues so that we can help bring about systemic
societal change, not just treat the symptoms. And we apply our research findings in the design of our
community programmes that according to independent evaluators are making a difference. Seeing the
transformations that happen when women start to believe they can walk through any door, sit at any table,
have any job or life they want is hugely inspiring!
In terms of role models, I really admire Helena Morrissey – CEO of Newton Asset Management and founder
of the 30% Club UK. Besides her busy day job, Helena is actively involved in arts and education initiatives
and she chaired the independent inquiry into the Lib Dem party in the UK. She somehow manages to fit all
this in while bringing up nine children. She exudes positive energy and is irresistibly charming, which is a very
Jing Zhang Fashion Editor : South China Morning Post
Jing Zhang has been the Fashion Editor at the South China Morning Post for almost 5 years, reporting on
the industry in Hong Kong, Asia and beyond; reviewing and critiquing shows and designers at the helm of
fashion’s biggest and smallest labels. By covering everything from high street to haute luxury, indie labels
to powerhouse brands, Jing aims to give up-to-date analysis on a rapidly changing industry and its global
context where power structures are in flux. Jing has interviewed the likes of Ralph Lauren, Victoria Beckham,
Dolce & Gabbana, Riccardo Tisci, Sidney Toledano, Zaha Hadid, Mickey Drexler and Karl Lagerfeld as well
as manual workers on factory floors. Jing believes style and fashion can say a lot about identity, both personal
and tribal. Her coverage spans creative, cultural and business analysis. China’s rise and its relationship with
other world fashion capitals means that she is well positioned to track and mine this rich dynamic.
Jing’s other interests involve travel, literature, philosophy, culture, neuroscience, bad action films and
everything cats. Jing has a degree in Psychology and Anthropology from University College London (UCL)
and previously lived in London, Manchester, Beijing and Guiyang. Her style heroes include Wednesday
Adams, Marlene Dietrich and Cleopatra. Fortunately for some, less for others, Jing is a typical INTJ.
“This job takes me around the world, it’s hard to imagine anything different. Exploring newness in unfamiliar
places, pushing your own boundaries and connecting surprisingly disparate dots stops life from becoming
too boring. A bit of risk and adventure inspires me.
My interest in fashion was sparked through it’s dynamic visual scope and finding the depth in what seems at
first a very shallow place. Craftsmanship, technology and workings of the entire supply chain interest me just
as much as designers’ beautiful outfits or the fantasy of a runway show. Discovering how fashion and style
relate to the rest of society is high up on my interdisciplinary agenda. I used to paint a lot, so I get inspired
when what I encounter veers into purer form of artistry - those are rare, dazzling moments.
That said, there is nothing better than getting away from it all, whatever your “it” is. Riding camels in the
Jordanian desert, diving stunning reefs or eating spam for breakfast in the Philippines, I find surreal moments
like these perfect for introspection and inspiration.”
Valerie Chow Founder - MamaKid
Valerie Chow is the founder and director of Mama Kid, a designer concept store specializing in apparel,
footwear, and accessories for children from 0 to 12 years.
“I am inspired by my surroundings. It is all about what I hear, see, and feel. When I encounter a unique
sound and vision moment, the experience can be magical, emotional, and intense. Ludlow Street in the
early 1990’s, chasing Metallica, running around and around Pamalican Island, a Baci ritual in Luang Prabang,
overhearing my daughter role play with her stuffed animals ….I am a better person because of it all. Talking
nonstop nonsense to my husband during long car rides is a favourite pastime of mine. He usually breaks
down at some point, and joins my twisted version of a visualization exercise. Bringing reality closer to fantasy,
inch by inch, is what inspires me.”