Austerity shows its stylish side

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 January, 2012, 12:00am


Eco-hedonism, radical neutrality and 'hyperculture' - what was that again? These are the fashion trends to look out for in an austere 2012/13.

That is according to global fashion analysis and research company WGSN, which pointed to protest movements as one key inspiration as Hong Kong's autumn/winter Fashion Week and the World Boutique started at the Convention and Exhibition Centre yesterday.

The two events will feature 20 fashion shows, including the Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers Contest and the Fashion Extravaganza, featuring Hong Kong designer Hidy Ng, Londoner Craig Lawrence, Parisian Risto Bimbiloski and Shanghai's Qi Gang. About 1,900 exhibitors from 25 countries are at Fashion Week showing off the styles the world will be wearing this year, while more than 5,300 buyers from 42 countries are seeking out new trends for next autumn at the World Boutique.

'Fashion is the catch-all for everything that happens in the world,' said Angelia Teo, WGSN's head of content for the Asia-Pacific region. 'Think of the Occupy Wall Street movement, or even Choi Yuen village [in the New Territories, site of demonstrations against a new high-speed rail link] - people protesting in a calm and orderly manner.

'Things like that come together and signal to us that people are looking for a more austere approach to life - we help our clients deliver that.'

This is where the theme of radical neutrality has its roots, Teo says. It is characterised by bold, exaggerated shapes in neutral colours.

Teo explains that eco-hedonism, on the other hand, is paganistic, shamanistic, dark and mystical, and characterised by raw natural textures such as heavier linens and feathers. Hyperculture, Teo says, is about the quirks in local culture and the 'ability to laugh at oneself'.

But WGSN's predictions failed to move Ychay Simkhai, a buyer with Ravel, a US-based women's apparel company. 'We set our own trends.'