PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 July, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 July, 2003, 12:00am

Leung Mang-sing

Director of Leung So Kee Umbrella Factory

We use them in summer for protection from the blistering sun. And now the rainy season is upon us, umbrellas are again in full bloom. Most of us want ours to look stylish or funky. But before you rush out and buy that cute brolly with a cartoon face and sticky-out ears, here's what the experts have to say:

Leung Mang-sing is Mr Brolly - director and the fourth generation member of his family to run Leung So Kee Umbrella Factory, established in 1885.'The practical side and the quality of umbrellas are the most important. Funky designs are interesting, but they don't last. Sometimes the quality isn't as good. When it's broken, the frame of an umbrella can be a sharp weapon,' he says.

And we all know what that's about. In the mad rush that is Hong Kong, getting from point A to B in rainy, windswept weather usually means a poke in the eye or stab in the guts, compliments of someone else's spiny umbrella.

Aside from producing umbrellas that aren't lethal weapons, Leung's company also comes up with new and interesting designs. So what's up this wet season?

'We've been developing multi-purpose umbrellas. There's one that looks like a walking stick, but when you unlock it, you find the umbrella hidden inside.'

Grand. Anything else?

Not so new, but still popular are umbrellas with blonde handles and slim designs, Leung says. And don't forget to check out what the trendsetters will be mostly wearing this season. You wouldn't want to be caught in the pink when the colour to be seen in is blue!

Leung Mang-sing was talking to Vivienne Chow