yin&yang: hong kong vintage

Imagine two mad scientists sharing the same artistic synergies, creating concoctions of vicarious wiles within crossover collaborations. These seemingly odd couples bewitch the perfect complements to bound us all in absolute awe and creative compulsion.

photographs by joshua galloway and angel butler
introductions by nicole camack / interviews by ciara bird

richard wright & elizabeth steinfels

This daring duo Wardrobe Stylist and Production Designer defines creativity across industries and eras, including Hong Kong Vintage, film, and commercials.

How did the two of you meet, and how long have you been together? We were introduced to each other at Thomas Street Tavern through a mutual friend. As it turned out we were neighbors. We have been together for almost 13 years.

What were you doing before coming together? Richard: I was decorating a mall for a special event and building sets
for a local play.

Elizabeth: I had just moved to Charlotte and was working at a friend’s screen printing shop.

What do you admire most about your partner’s talent/skill? Richard: I admire her taste. Not just what she likes—also what she does not, and how black and white that difference is for her. She is not wishy-washy ever. I’m astounded by her work ethic… no second in the day ever wasted.

Elizabeth: He has the practical knowledge along with the spatial reasoning to bring a concept to life.

Can you describe your individual creative workspace, and how yours either differs and/or is similar to your partner’s? Richard: There is a good bit of crossover in our workspaces… we share a library of books and music and an office space. I have a workshop that Elizabeth would probably use more if I kept it cleaner. But most of my creative work takes place in the field… often far away fields.

Elizabeth: Mine is an organized chaos, I always have many projects going at once, but I still know where everything is. Richard works more on the computer these days, but will still drag out a hundred books when he is researching something, this is very distracting for me; I can always get lost in our collection of art, design and photography books.

How do you deal with creative differences? Never-ending discussions.

If you are experiencing a creative slump, or artistic obstacle or sorts, how does your partner help you? Richard: It seems that, often, Elizabeth simply knows the answer—or at least has an idea or concept that can get me over a hump. Often it’s on the tip of her tongue, but she is pretty good at research too. She’ll say, “hold on a sec” and go pull out a giant book from the shelves, flip to a page, and voila…

Elizabeth: He is always playing ‘the devil’s advocate’. This drives me crazy; he thinks he is being helpful.

What projects have you done around town that people might recognize? Richard: Most recently the movie Mud and the upcoming Prince Avalanche.

Elizabeth: The store (Hong Kong Vintage) of course, but people are probably more familiar with commercials they see everyday that I have worked on.

Passion: Richard: Making things work the way I want them to.

Elizabeth: Partly a thrill of the hunt, uncovering treasures, never knowing what I will discover next.

Interesting Factoid: Richard: With the exception of the college years, I have lived in Charlotte non-stop since I was four years old.

Elizabeth: One of twelve children, grew up sharing one bathroom.

Career Highlight: Richard: Witnessing a standing ovation for the US premiere of George Washington at the NY Film Fest screening in Alice Tully Hall… A surreal experience to be on that side of it.

Schooling: Richard: Studied cinematography at both SVA & UNCSA.

Elizabeth: Attended the museum school of the art institute of Chicago to study painting, dropped out.

Modest Goal: Richard: Visit all seven continents.

Elizabeth: So many… walk the Appalachian Trail, play classical guitar, learn Portuguese.

hong kong vintage
1514 Central Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28205


This interview was conducted summer 2013.

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