Fashion alters tactics amid crisis

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 January, 2009, 12:00am

The financial crisis has prompted fashion industry players to adjust their business strategies to focus on brand promotion, a trend that is clear in two fashion trade fairs that opened yesterday in Hong Kong.

They are the World Boutique, which focuses on promoting designer collections and brands, and the fashion industry fair Hong Kong Fashion Week for Fall/Winter. Both are being held at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.

World Boutique has grown, with the number of exhibitors up 7 per cent from last year, to more than 270 from 15 countries. The number of brands has grown to 464 from last year's 366. But Fashion Week has 5 per cent fewer exhibitors than last year, dropping to 1,411 from 1,490.

The fairs' organisers, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, said those figures suggested companies were focusing more attention on brand promotion during the current financial crisis. 'They are seeking partners in a range of markets, particularly emerging markets,' Raymond Yip, the council's assistant executive director in charge of exhibitions, said.

'Many of the brands in World Boutique feature cutting-edge style and innovative design that stand out in the marketplace. During financially difficult times, buyers and consumers look for products with unique designs.'

While the number of Fashion Week exhibitors had dropped, Mr Yip noted the number of countries represented had grown from 20 to 23.

Two seminars will be held today addressing how the apparel market and fashion brands have been affected by the financial crisiss.

Meanwhile, 19 finalists competed for four awards at last night's young fashion designers' contest. Luk King-hei, 20, from Caritas Bianchi College of Careers took the overall prize with his design, Rely On. Phoebe Wong Yu-ming, a 26-year-old Polytechnic University graduate, won the casual and jeans-wear group award. The contemporary day wear group award went to Ronnie Tung Sin-man, 24, also a Polytechnic University graduate. Summer Wong Wai-ming, a 25-year-old assistant designer, won the party and evening wear group.

The judges included Ennio Capasa, head of design for the Italian brand Costume National, and Japanese designer Keita Maruyama.