Young alias Bernard Foong is, first and foremost, a sensitivist. He finds nuance in everything. To experience the world he inhabits is an adventure which is mystical, childlike and refreshing. He has a rare ability to create beauty in a unique fashion. His palettes have been material, paint, words and human experiences.
By Christine Maynard (screenwriter and novelist).
Bernard Foong (designer) – A brief history
Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. At the age of 8, he was assisting his aunt and cousin, learning the art of sewing and fabrics/colors matching. He attended an exclusive private boarding school in the United Kingdom before obtaining his Diploma in Fashion Design at the Harrow College of Art & Technology in London, England. He went on to complete his Master of Design at the Royal College of Art & Design, London, England. During his college years he won several international fashion awards and was already retailing bridal and evening dresses to several well known department stores in England. Liberty of London, Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols to name a few that carried his designs. His Royal College of Art graduation wedding/evening wear collection was sold to Liberty of London and displayed in their store windows for the entire month of June that year.
For four years, he worked for Liberty’s bridal department as their in-house designer until a trip to Hong Kong, while working on a freelance project for ‘Bird’s’(casual wear) company, he was recruited by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as their Fashion professor for the next 6 years. During his stay in Hong Kong, he freelanced for numerous fashion companies. From designing casual wear, swimwear, lingerie, and fur garments, men’s wear, bridal and evening fashions to accessories (bags, shoes, and head-wear). He also participated and organized numerous fashion shows, events, functions, and presentations in the Asia Pacific region.
Working for Keys Far East Hong Kong as chief lingerie designer – travelling extensively to the United States, he was soon recruited as an Associate Fashion Design/Illustration Professor to the University of Wisconsin, Madison and also lectured at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design for a couple of years.
Foong was then appointed as the Fashion Development Manager by an established department store – Parkson Grand (22 stores in Malaysia and one in Shanghai, China). Producing under the label, Natural Life by Bernard Foong, he designed casual-wear collections for the Parkson Grand’s flagship store in Kuala Lumpur. After a couple of years later, he was invited by the Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore to join their design school to establish a Fashion Design department. For two years, he assisted several founding members of the design school – working on the fashion department’s teaching curriculum.
The Fitzgerald Theatre Department, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Oahu, Hawaii awarded a full scholarship for Foong to complete his second Master of Art in Theatre Costuming. Now a resident on the Island of Maui, he has assisted many charity organizations in their fund raising events with his extravagant fashion and performance shows/presentations. In 2005, he and his partner, Mr. Walter Jay Bissett opened Fire Dragon Bistro Orient & Design Shop. He also designs costumes/fashions for numerous theatrical productions in Hawaii and abroad.
Appointed as chief lingerie designer for Cerie International Limited – Hong Kong, his lingerie designs can be found in major department stores in Canada and the United Kingdom.
He showcased the BERNARD FOONG R-T-W collections and BERNARD FOONG @ Modern Classic Ltd. (an established – Hong Kong bridal & evening wear company) collections in Hong Kong. His 2008 & 2009 bridal/evening/bridal lingerie fashion show, “Grace” & “Coming Up Roses” were premiered at Hong Kong Fashion Week in July 2007 and January 2008 respectively at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center, garnering positive interest in many Asian press reviews, including a China nationwide television broadcast of his latest collection. Aika (International Opera Singer) wore several Bernard Foong special occasion dresses at her Japan & European tour in September & October 2009.
Foong was the chief Creative Director for Official (Special Occasion fashion manufacturing company) Guangzhou, China producing – BERNARD FOONG Couture (specialty one-of-a-kind creations), White (RTW – Wedding/Special Occasion wear), Foxy Cute (Smart Casual/Cocktail wear), SexZ (decorative bustier) & Diva Bitch (sexual lingerie inner/outer-wear) collections.
Besides working on his regular haute couture, R-T-W and lingerie collections he is a visiting consultant/advisor for:
• Pivot Point fashion college, Chengdu, China.
• Hong Kong Design Institute (fashion department), Hong Kong, SAR.
• Hong Kong Poly/U, Hong Kong (School of Apparel Design & Merchandising), SAR.
• Hong Kong Fashion Designers Association, Hong Kong.
• Singapore Temasek Polytechnic – School of Apparel Design & Merchandising (ADM), Singapore.
Bernard is also writing his autobiography, a seven book series of Mr. Foong’s young life:
A Harem Boy’s Saga: A Memoir by Young.
This provocative story spanning 4 decades and 3 continents is about a boy who was sent to a very exclusive English boarding school in the 1960s where he was initiated into a clandestine sexual society and then spirited away to serve in wealthy and elite Middle Eastern harems .”
A Harem Boy’s Saga series is published by Solstice Publishing and is available in print and E-books internationally.
Out of his busy schedule, Bernard is also working on a mini series of three contemporary paintings for the Rathe Galleries in Dallas, Houston and soon to open gallery in Austin, Texas.
What inspires you to write?
Four years ago, I decided it was time for me to tell my positive harem experiences of being inducted into a sexual clandestine society while attending an exclusive English boarding school, before being spirited away to serve in several wealthy/elite Middle Eastern Arab Household Harems.My story has been kept under wraps for close to 40 odd years.
I’ve listed some of the goals I hope to achieve through A Harem Boy Saga are:
• Provide tolerance to effeminate boys by understanding parents/peers and the community.
I was prompted to document my unique education after watching an Anderson Cooper 360 documentary on the devastating treatment of effeminate boys. This documentary influenced me to tell my story.
• Bullying can be avoided through Big Brother/Big Sister volunteer programs in school or outside school system. Older students acting as mentors to younger students as I had experienced during my boarding school years.
• Gay Adolescent Tolerance – parents/child/siblings relationship issues.
Support/mentorship program to all parties involved to foster understanding and acceptance of Gay kids like the nurturing/support/acceptance my mother provided me from birth until her passing.
• Provide an Alternative Educational System by understanding Big Brother/adolescent mentorship programs in schools, Big Brothers/Big Sisters as protector to keep younger kids from being bullied.
• Human Relationship Building Program between parents/teachers and young students on sexuality/intimacy topics/issues, especially when adolescent are just discovering their sexuality during puberty. They can be guided on a healthy and honest sexual journey instead of “don’t ask, don’t tell” hide it behind the closet policy.
These are some issues I hope will provide enlightenment through A Harem Boy’s Saga 7 books series.
Tell us about your writing process.
Since I’m writing my memoirs/autobiography and had already experienced the events I’m documenting. I would probably consider myself a seat of the pants writer. My past journals and an abundance of photographs taken during my life is more than sufficient for me to remember the events that happened in my life.
Although, I changed the actual names of places and people (I’ve met during my harem years) to protect their identities, my experiences are real. I like to take this opportunity to note that A Harem Boy’s Saga series are no an expose of the secret society or of the various household harems.
What advice would you give other writers?
Be honest, truthful and to listen to your inner voice/calling/direction because the truth will always set you free.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I found that self publishing didn’t work for me because there wasn’t the camaraderie that a publisher can provide an author. Although, I still have to do the majority of promotional/marketing work, a publisher can give me the support and guidelines I needed; rather than maneuvering the uncharted marketing landscape of an inexperienced first time author.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think electronic, audio and visual books will be the next generation of book publishing. That said, I believe print books will still be around because there is a segment of the reading population that enjoys the tactile effect of picking up and flipping through the pages of a 3-dimensional book.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
Currently I am only writing my memoir/autobiography.
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print