FIP Graduates Spread their Wings as Fashion Entrepreneurs
What captivates us most about the stories of legendary fashion designers, be it Coco Chanel, YSL or Vivienne Westwood, is not just their glamorous designs but also their unwavering passion, ambition and determination to turn their vision into high-flying businesses that eventually shaped fashion history. The Fashion Incubation Programme (FIP) has been supporting ambitious local fashion designers to acquire the entrepreneurial skills they need to shape up their fashion labels. This summer, we see another cohort of designers completing their 2-year programme with flying colours. Let's hear from Classics Anew, Matter Matters, Oplus2, MASSBRANDED and Blind by JW about their marvellous FIP journeys.
Classics Anew: Innovating local qipao education
Classics Anew has had a very productive 2 years with FIP. In addition to launching seasonal collections, they have opened a new flagship store in PMQ, nailed a consignment deal with Chinese Arts and Crafts, and developed their unique educational arm. "The brand consultation of FIP's empowerment programme was invaluable. It guided us to reposition our brand by reflecting on our past, present and future. Our direction is much clearer now both in our brand image and within our team." They took a further step in their mission of reviving classic Chinese fashion by founding the Classics Anew Academy, by introducing a series of online qipao-making classes. "We hope to build brand awareness and customer loyalty through fashion education. We have also developed more systematic social media campaigns to promote our label to the public and international markets, reaching fashion lovers outside the industry."
We have also developed more systematic social media campaigns to promote our label to the public and international markets, reaching fashion lovers outside the industry.
Matter Matters: Reinforcing its brand philosophy
Matter Matters' FIP journey went beyond growing their flagship store in PMQ to maturing their label's philosophy. "We broadened our vision not just in terms of business but also in our creative process. The experience reinforced our belief that good design is not about hype but a pursuit for timelessness. We'll insist on creating products that explore intellectual complexity with visual simplicity, uniting fashion and functionality in effortlessly wearable designs with the soul of great artworks." While finding the manifold FIP resources very helpful, they think the most effective support came from the expert mentors. "At times, the challenges in front of us seemed insurmountable. But our mentors always reinspired us and helped us work towards our goals. At the moment, building a strong small team is a priority for us. We will also continue to strengthen our online retailing using the e-commerce platform we rebuilt with the help of FIP."
We broadened our vision not just in terms of business but also in our creative process.
Oplus2: Diversifying to sustainable eco-products
Oplus2 had a clear focus during their incubation period – to diversify their product lines. They developed new eco-products such as natural dyes and a hand-painted floral pattern series, and created a new line of organic personal care products to enhance retail sales. "FIP's seed funding and marketing support helped our brand become more competitive. Our sales have upped 5%, and we have made great strides in both our brand development and sales performance." Despite the pandemic, they have launched a new ready-to-wear collection every season and have matured their business model. "By launching more styles in small batches, we keep our inventory lean. FIP's training helped us grasp the best time and channel for launching new collections. Our next step is to expand to the Chinese market."
FIP's training helped us grasp the best time and channel for launching new collections. Our next step is to expand to the Chinese market.
MASSBRANDED: Galvanised by creative crossovers
For MASSBRANDED, their FIP-arranged collaboration with indie band Mocking Bullet for 'EarUp Gig Online 2020' was a remarkable milestone. "It was a great experience working with the musicians to create a set of stage looks inspired by their music and attitude, while keeping true to our brand's ‘stand-out’ statement." They used monochromatic patterns mixed with structured silhouettes to convey the emotions and energy of the band. The results were graphic and bold. "It’s amazing what happens when you put creative people from different fields together." Talking about their FIP venture, "The workspace provided by FIP is very generous. Also, the trend-forecasting subscriptions, seminars and other resources available are crucial for our brand's development. We’re getting demands for unisex or gender-neutral styles, and hope to launch an inclusive capsule collection in 2022."
The workspace provided by FIP is very generous. Also, the trend-forecasting subscriptions, seminars and other resources available are crucial for our brand's development.
Blind by JW: Combining wayfinding and fashion
With the backing of FIP, Blind by JW has been able to step out of their comfort zone even in this trying time. "FIP enabled us to explore different ways of collaborating with different businesses such as hotels, museums, banks and shopping malls. It also connected us with different production factories and supported us to join the trade shows in Paris and Shanghai. These opportunities are instrumental to the success of our new DiSCARVERY line." Innovatively combining wayfinding and fashion, their new collection won them the IDA Design Awards 2019 Honorable Mention, Hong Kong Smart Design Award 2020 Judge Award and Merit Award, and Hong Kong Smart Design Award 2021 Corporate Promotional Gifts Gold Award. "Every aspect of FIP's support are useful to us in different ways. We are planning to expand our DiSCARVERY collection and work with companies outside of Hong Kong. We also endeavour to become a more sustainable and eco-friendly fashion and lifestyle brand."
FIP enabled us to explore different ways of collaborating with different businesses such as hotels, museums, banks and shopping malls.
This is what FIP wants to see – aspiring fashion designers liberating their potentials and surpassing themselves. We hope you will continue to cheer for these 5 fashion labels after their brilliant graduations. We have faith that with their FIP training, they will fly high in the fashion world and bring Hong Kong fashion to the next level.