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Goods Of Desire
A Q&A With Designer Douglas Young

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Douglas Young is a designing legend in Hong Kong, co-founding one of the most creative and acclaimed lifestyle brands in the region, Goods Of Desire.

Otherwise known as G.O.D., Goods of Desire sells Hong Kong-inspired furnishings, clothing, and gifts both online and through its go-to chain of shops in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

If you haven’t been to G.O.D., you may have come across Young’s stylings elsewhere.

Young is called upon regularly to collaborate with a host of well-known brands, including Starbucks, Cathay Pacific, Tangram, Hong Kong’s hot Ho Lee Fook eatery, and many other well-known brands.

We think Young is always one to watch. We admire him not only for his wit, creativity, and master design touches, but also for his edgy use of word play.

In Cantonese, “G.O.D.” translates to “Live Better”; G.O.D.’s ever-present “Delay No More” motto has a “Go BLEEP Your Momma” ring to it; and “Ho Lee Fook” roughly sounds like “Good Fortune For Your Mouth.”

If you haven’t checked out G.O.D., we urge you to visit one of their shops in-person or online. You’ll be glad you did.

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THE NEWSWHISTLE Q&A with Designer Douglas Young

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Douglas Young

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1. Tell us about yourself:

Born in Hong Kong in 1965, I was educated in HK until the age of 14. I was sent to the UK for boarding school and architectural school – Sheffield University. I consider myself a hybrid East / West person. I am inspired by things from both cultures and create work that is a fusion of both.

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Nathan-Road-slippers
Nathan Road Slipper Shoes

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2. How did you get your start in the Hong Kong design scene?

I wanted to create work that reflects my unique community. Because such things were hard to find, I realised there was a big vacuum to be filled.

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fishtote
Goldfish Tote

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3. How/when did G.O.D. originate? 

I started G.O.D. as an experimental warehouse store in 1996 with Benjamin Lau. I do the creative direction and Benjamin handles the business side.

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G.O.D.’s Hollywood Road Shop In Central, Hong Kong

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4. What was G.O.D.’s first product? 

Our first products were homewares, because they were closest to my architectural training.

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BambooPencils
“Bamboo” Pencils, Set Of Six

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5. Now how many G.O.D. shops are there? 

Now we have 6 in HK, 4 in Taiwan.

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A Handpainted Mug With Lid

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6. Any expansion plans?

We are looking at expansion in China, but as a private company we are under no pressure to expand rapidly.

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“Double Coin” Candle

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7. When did you know you wanted to be a designer? 

Ever since I was a child, I was very visually aware, so hand / eye coordination was always going to be a major aspect of my life.

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mao-christmas-card
“Mao” Christmas Card

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8. Who are your influences?

Naturally, my parents are huge influences, even though they are not in the same creative field. But life experiences and values are universal to all career paths. It’s a good thing, because I am not under a shadow and am unaffected by prejudices of the profession.

I cannot say I am hugely influenced by any one great designer. There are aspects of all the greats that I admire, but I always remind myself to be original and avoid what other people do or have already done.

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Inside G.O.D.’s Shop In Stanley, Hong Kong

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9. You’re known for your love of wordplay — e.g., G.O.D., Delay No More, Ho Lee Fook, Hongkie, Run HKG — where does that come from?

My time in the UK has endowed me with a British sense of humour. I like the way that it is often shocking and self deprecating. I believe it is the role of the artist/ creative person to challenge society’s taboos and help culture evolve.

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scraf
“Double Happiness” Cotton Scarf

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10. What’s the best piece of furniture ever designed?

The spring mattress and the flushable toilet.

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A G.O.D. Storefront In Sai Kung, Hong Kong

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11. What’s the best type font ever created?

The LiSung font. It enabled the propagation of Chinese text in an elegant and legible way. Because there are so many characters, it must have been an enormous undertaking.

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A Look Inside G.O.D.’s PMQ Shop, Hong Kong

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12. What’s the best slogan you ever heard?

“Delay No More” because it is succinct, punchy, and readable in two languages (Cantonese and English).

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“Opera Woman” Eye Mask

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13. What’s your favorite movie? Album? Book?

I am an huge James Bond fan. My favourite Bond movie is The Spy Who Loved Me.

Breakfast in America by Supertramp; and, The Castle by Franz Kafka.

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Chinese-Jacket
“Cheong Sam” Chinese Jacket

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14. What is something that most people don’t know about you?

That I lack self confidence.

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G.O.D.’s Umbrellas

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15. What’s the best piece of business advice you ever received?

“Build it and they shall come” from watching the movie Field of Dreams.

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Jersey Mui Jai Top, Pink Bird

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16. Why should people shop G.O.D.? 

G.O.D. is an independent local brand that aims to build community pride and identity. We do not have huge financial backing, so if individual citizens do not give us support , we will not survive, and the world will be more generic for it.

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SilverClouds
“Silver Clouds” Photo Frame

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17. Is there anything you’d like to add, promote, or discuss?

G.O.D. is not just about a line of products, but a philosophy of how traditions can be evolved for future generations. Anyone reading this who feels inspired can reach out to us to collaborate in another medium. There is no reason why, for example, the G.O.D. philosophy cannot be transposed into a movie or a hotel.

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Images Courtesy of Douglas Young and Goods Of Desire