Shanghai sashays past Hong Kong as Asia's most fashionable city

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 February, 2014, 3:45am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 February, 2014, 4:14pm

As China further emerges on the world stage, Shanghai is leading the fashion charge.

That's the verdict of a global survey that named the city the most fashionable in Asia - knocking Hong Kong off its perch.

After being given the top regional rank for the past five years, Hong Kong dropped eight places to 20th in the world, the sharpest fall among the top 20 cities.

It was also overtaken by two other Asian rivals, Tokyo and Singapore, according to the survey by the US-based Global Language Monitor (GLM).

Shanghai climbed 12 places to 10th and topped the table in Asia largely thanks to binge spending on luxury goods by its fashion-conscious locals. Tokyo came in at 11th and Singapore at 18th. New York has retaken the global top title from London.

GLM measures fashion trends by tracking print, electronic and social media for top words and phrases. It has released the report every year since 2004.

Without giving a detailed analysis of the individual cities, it said Hong Kong was "still a strong global presence" despite its fall in the rankings.

Mainlanders' living standards have been on a rise, thanks to the country's economic development. The mainland is expected to account for 20 per cent - or 180 billion yuan (HK$229 billion) - of global luxury sales next year, according to 2011 research by McKinsey, a consultancy.

Lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun, founder of clothing chain G2000, lamented the dwindling opportunities for young fashion designers to do business in the Hong Kong.

"Given the soaring rents, the fashion industry has had a hard time in Hong Kong in the past few years," Tien said, adding that at the same time the mainland had opened many new malls, giving room for designers to flourish.

He said fashion retailers in Hong Kong were losing out to shops selling watches and jewellery. Tien said the increase in mainland tourists had also seen high-end brands "snapping up more and more prime locations and malls". He urged the government to have better planning for commercial land use.