A Busy Season for Emerging Hong Kong Fashion Designers

Fashion is always ahead of time. While we are about to greet Spring, the fashion industry is looking at Fall/Winter. For our FIP incubatees, their first quarter is fully occupied with fashion activities from both local and overseas.

Earlier in January, some FIP incubatees joined the Hong Kong Fashion week FW2018, showcasing their Fall/Winter collection. Loom Loop, joined the Fashion Hong Kong Showroom during New York Fashion Week (NYFW) from 7-20 February featuring eco-fashion, incorporates Canton silk, a traditional fabric that uses natural dyeing techniques. Right after NYFW on 28 Feb, Cynthia & Xiao, FFIXXED STUDIOS and Yeung Chin joined Paris Fashion Week AW18 with Fashion Farm Foundation (FFF) for the project, HKFG Paris AW18, a runway show to present Hong Kong designs in early March.

DMatters has talked to two incubatees, Polly from Loom Loop, and Cynthia from Cynthia & Xiao.

What do you think is unique about Hong Kong fashion industry?

Hong Kong is a city with convenient access to everything we need in the making of design. Most of the fabric and material stores are open from Monday to Sunday. Everything is possible in this place. Also it’s so closed to Mainland China that I can go to my workshop in Shenzhen at any time.

Hong Kong is in a very great hub to do fashion. We have China next to us which is great for production and a massive market. It is also very convenient for exporting goods. Also, there is currently much support from different organisations in Hong Kong that help and incubate new fashion businesses.

What are the biggest challenges for new designers starting out today?

The environment of the fashion design industry in Hong Kong is not optimistic for local designers even for experienced designers like myself. Unlike countries such as Korea and Japan which appreciate their own designers’ work, the buyers of Hong Kong are mostly looking for overseas designs. Our target buyers are mainly from overseas or even from Mainland China. This is a real challenge for the local designers.

However, with the help of the designer hub, PMQ, it’s a good location for gathering interested buyers from overseas to hunt for Hong Kong designs.

Probably production. As the scale of our production is usually very small, many factories might not be willing to help. Even if factories can help, they charge us a very high cost which therefore makes it very hard for new brands to have a good profit margin.

What's the difference between Hong Kong and the overseas market?

Like I have mentioned, only handful groups of local buyers are willing to explore Hong Kong design. Meanwhile, for the overseas market, they emphasis on stories, culture and philosophy behind the brands and are attracted by unique designs.

Hong Kong market is very small. There has been an increase of Hong Kong people that are interested in local designer goods but it is still not enough. People from overseas are more willing to explore new brands with a unique design. Therefore, it is important for Hong Kong designers to explore the options of the oversea market.

2018 New Collection of Cynthia & Xiao (Photo by Cynthia & Xiao)

2018 New Collection of Loom Loop (Photo by Loom Loop)

Cynthia & Xiao participated in the Paris Fashion Week AW18 with Fashion Farm Foundation (FFF) for HKFG Paris AW18 (Photo by Fashion Farm Foundation)

Loom Loop, joined the Fashion Hong Kong Showroom during New York Fashion Week (Photo by Fashion Hong Kong)