This season's style is a blast to the past

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 July, 2013, 5:55am

Nostalgia with a sophisticated twist will be a fashion trend next year as the trade takes aim at middle-aged professionals in need of a wardrobe pick-me-up.

That's the prediction of leading fashion forecasters at the 20th Hong Kong Fashion Week for spring/summer that opened at the Convention and Exhibition Centre yesterday.

Michael Leow Chi-wai, head of Asia-Pacific sales and marketing for US-based Fashion Snoop, said styles from the '60s and '80s would be big influences in the contemporary market with distinct oriental overtones as part of the season's "ethnic direction".

"Over the past few years, we have seen very plain dressing - I guess the economy was factored into it - but people are getting tired of that," Leow said.

"With a bit of an uptake in the US economy and hopefully more now in Europe … people are starting to aspire to difference."

The trade show, which closes on Thursday, has attracted more than 1,200 suppliers and designers from 20 countries and regions who are showcasing their latest collections to local and international buyers.

In response to buyers who prefer to take smaller quantities to test market reception, three new product zones have been launched this year: Men in Style, Packaging and Design and the Small-Order Zone.

The organiser, the Trade Development Council, expects up to 90 buying missions from 45 countries and regions to attend the show, which translates to nearly 5,000 buyers from more than 3,000 companies.

Leow said fashion was now more sophisticated to make way for greater differentiation.

"I think that the fashion industry is becoming more fractured and less homogenous because of the market's taste-driven, niche-based tribal culture."

Local designer Mountain Yam Ming-fai, who built his brand through the council's 2010 Young Fashion Designer Contest, says buyers are increasingly looking for special designs.

Yam agrees that people's tastes are changing.

"Before, retailers would order commercially wearable items in bulk. But now, people are more aware of their appearance and do not look just for logos," he said.