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Parenting: teens

Ethnic teens' fashions on the Hong Kong catwalk

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 December, 2014, 11:37am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 April, 2015, 1:12pm

A cut-out shift dress with transparent panels inspired by a daily Hong Kong ritual took top honours at the Seeing the Possibilities Fashion Show, an event aimed at the city's ethnic minority teenagers.

Fifteen-year-old Sanjila Gurung from Sir Ellis Kadoorie Secondary School won with her design titled "Dim Sum Dress".

The show was organised by Kely Support Group - a local non-governmental organisation for youth aged between 14 and 24. Its 15 participants were required to tell a Hong Kong story through their designs, and Sanjila says the dim sum basket was a huge source of inspiration.

"The top neck of the dress is the cover of a dim sum basket," Sanjila says. "The middle part is made with a crisscross method and represents the basket which holds the dim sum. The bottom part is the dim sum made from a plain white cloth. The inspiration for the dress comes from walking to the KCR every morning when I see people enjoying their dim sum breakfast. I chose dim sum as the theme of my dress as it is symbolic of the food culture in Hong Kong," she says.

"This is my first dress and my friend Aakriti helped me to create it. Linking the concept of food and fashion was not an easy task, but I love trying new things and challenging myself."

Kely spokeswoman Victoria Wong says the theme of the show was "My Hong Kong", so "every piece created was inspired by these teens' experience in the city".

Amandeep Kaur, 16, says she looked to the city's skyscrapers for inspiration. "The jagged city skyline with gems used as lights of the buildings was the thinking behind my design."

Meanwhile, Aakriti Thapa, 16, adopted a green approach. "This dress is about the city's pollution with the colours - whites and greys - reflecting the city's clean air and dirty air."

The Seeing the Possibilities mentorship programme has helped different communities of disadvantaged Hong Kong youth realise their own potential and build essential life skills through fashion design and event-planning training.

Guest judge at the show was Hong Kong fashion photographer Aanchal Wadhwani, who praised the programme for inspiring Nepalese, Filipino, Indian and Pakistani youth. Hong Kong fashion writer Divia Harilela was another judge.

Wong says the next fashion show is likely to be held in December 2015. "This is not an annual thing - it very much depends on funding - although we have been fortunate enough to have one every year for the past four years," says Wong.