Ning Lau’s Handmade Fashion Dolls

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Ning holds a master of business administration (MBA) in Fashion Business academic qualification, she has over 15 years experience in the fashion retail industry.
Founder of, formerly worked as Vice President of Marketing Communications and Creative of JOYCE boutique limited from 2007 to 2013, where she oversaw the Marketing, CRM, PR, Advertising, Digital online, Visual Merchandising and Graphics team, she contributed to the development of its branding through numerous local and international creative events and collaborations projects, also increased the customer database significantly by implementing strategic CRM plan.
Prior to working in fashion retail industry, she was a magazine publisher and fashion journalist. She was one of the founder of ‘STORE’ magazine, the magazine published in 2002 with the distribution of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Paris and New York. With the successful set up and establishment of the magazine after 18 months, it was acquired by Asia Publishing Group (now South China Morning Post Group) in HK in 2004.
Being a doll collector, she decided one day to try to make a doll by herself. She used a wooden clothespin for the torso, stitched together a body from cotton shirt fabric and stuffed it with cotton to give it its form. She stayed up until 5 a.m. on the last day of her vacation to finish off the doll, which she named Lisa.

Ning Lau’s handmade dolls dressed in mini replicas of designer fashion. Photo by Xaume Olleros

There was just one minor problem, she recalled: “I used the wrong clay so the head ‘was’ too heavy.”
That issue resolved itself in her subsequent attempts — she switched to a lighter-weight type of clay. Since then, she has crafted more than 50 dolls and managed to snag a series of fashion-themed collaborations that has seen her little gals don miniature versions of Comme des Garçons and front for Shu Uemura.
“I didn’t really realize that people ‘would’ like my dolls as much as me,” said Lau, who has collected dolls since she was a child. Her favorites include the Lenci range-Italian dolls made of pressed woolen felt — and Bradley dolls with their frilly dresses and large doelike eyes.
Lau takes custom orders for her dolls through her Facebook page. Each one costs at least 4,800 Hong Kong dollars, or about $618, and takes roughly 30 to 40 hours to complete.

Ning Lau’s handmade doll heads Photo by Courtesy Photo

Lau said the dolls she makes today look fairly similar to her first effort. She uses clothespins, wire and cotton stuffing for the bodies and employs a combination of acrylic paint and actual makeup for their faces. The dolls’ under-eyes are heavily made up, in keeping with the Asian “eye-bag” look. A vintage lipstick holder props up the heads as they dry. For hair, she distresses yarn to make it fuzzier and more natural-looking or uses mini wigs she buys from a supplier in Taiwan. Lau scours the Internet for miniature accessories — from Hermès Kelly-like bags to trays of sushi — to round out her dolls’ looks or set up photo shoots for them. Most of them are just under 12 inches tall, which is just slightly larger than a standard Barbie, although she has made a few bigger models as well.

References : Ning Lau’s Fashion Dolls Gain Fans From Joyce Hong Kong to Comme des Garçons and


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