Making life beautiful

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 November, 2009, 12:00am

Fashion designers know they've hit the big time when they manage to get a collection of their clothes into a fashion show. But not many 17-year-olds get to debut their designs alongside creations by some of the biggest names in the fashion world.

On Friday, Hong Kong International School 12th-grader Orange Chan will unveil her first-ever collection at the Style 4 School Fashion Show, a fund-raiser focusing on education for girls in the developing world.

Orange has been interested in fashion almost since she could walk, thanks to her mother's own interest in beautiful clothes. But the student sees fashion as far more than a mere hobby, believing it can actually help people, especially women, on a fundamental level.

'While looks are important, I want to highlight [the fact] that fashion also helps people - with individual self-confidence, by providing employment opportunities around the world, through fundraising at philanthropic events such as this, and more,' she says.

Her beliefs will be borne out on Friday. Organised by the Quintessentially Foundation and Room to Read, all proceeds from the event at the W Hotel will benefit Room to Read's school-building, education-providing programmes.

Under the guidance of her mentor, Hong Kong couturier Kanchan Panjabi, owner of Kanchan Couture, Orange drew inspiration from the countries in which Room to Read currently has a presence. She then had to go through the emotionally draining process of narrowing down her many designs and choosing her favourite five looks for the show.

'To eventually make the selection, I put myself in the shoes of my favourite designers and chose the designs which I hoped they would have selected if in my position,' she says.

As well as Orange's creations, famous labels including Roland Mouret, Giorgio Armani and Matthew Williamson will send their pieces down the runway in a part of the show called The Little Black Dress. These gowns will be auctioned off with Orange's pieces to raise more money.

The next step for Orange is to study design overseas. She plans to study business at the same time so that she will be better equipped to work in the industry.

'Ultimately, I aspire to creating my own line,' Orange says, although she knows she has a long way to go.

'I am committed to helping women - to helping them feel beautiful and confident. If I can achieve that, fingers crossed, the dream of my own line will become a reality.'

Room to Read has donated a pair of tickets to this VIP event. For a chance to win, answer this question: how many countries does Room to Read operate in? E-mail your answers to by Tuesday, November 10, with your name and contact number. Remember to put 'LBD' in the subject field.

This event will be covered by Young Post junior reporters. To learn more about our Reporter's Club, go to, and click Over To You and go into the Reporter's Club page.