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Operation Santa Claus

Hong Kong five-star hotel invites aspiring fashion designers to dress teddy bears for charity

Contestants can draw inspiration from examples by local talents Walter Ma, Allan Chiu, Henry Lau and Benny Yeung

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 November, 2016, 3:28pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 November, 2016, 6:42pm

Lovers of teddy bears are being ­invited to design bear-sized ­ensembles for a hotel’s charity fundraising drive.

Aspiring fashion designers are needed to come up with creations for the Kowloon Shangri-La teddy bear outfit competition, staged in the run-up to Christmas to raise money for the South China Morning Post and RTHK charity campaign, Operation Santa Claus.

Participants may either buy a bear and a sketch card for HK$90 to enter, or simply buy a card and submit a design on it for HK$10.

Cards are available at the hotel on Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.

All entries will be displayed in the lobby of the hotel from ­December 15 to 28, after which four winners will be chosen by a panel of judges.

The winners will then have their designs made into real teddy bear outfits and will each receive a HK$2,000 food and beverage voucher.

Four of Hong Kong’s leading fashion designers – Walter Ma, Allan Chiu, Henry Lau and Benny Yeung – have created outfits for four bears to inspire participants.

The outfits are on display in the lobby as part of the campaign.

Ma, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Fashion Designers Association, said his only previous experience in designing clothes for toys was creating outfits for Japanese fashion doll Blythe.

“I was looking for something challenging,” he said. “But this is the first time I have designed for a teddy bear. It was difficult to ­design because [the bear] looks so short. I used what I had left over in my studio to make an evening cocktail dress.”

Chiu, founder and creative director of luxury women’s wear brand Connesse, said he was ­inspired to support the campaign because “the gap between rich and poor in Hong Kong is ­growing”.

“I hope the world will be more peaceful in the future,” he said. “This campaign felt like a very meaningful activity – I hope I can inspire other people to join in.”

The hotel’s general manager, Ulf Bremer, thanked the designers for their contribution.

“We are very thankful for their kindness and generosity,” he said.

“What makes this initiative most special is that the designers came together and made an outfit for a charity plush toy.”

The hotel, which has participated in Operation Santa Claus for 14 years, raised nearly HK$108,000 for the campaign last year, a figure which its owners hope to match this year by selling about 2,000 bears.

A hotel spokeswoman said the winners could either reclaim their bears or opt to have them ­auctioned off to raise more money for the campaign.

Anyone who wants to enter the competition should inquire at one of the hotel’s food and beverage outlets or call (852) 2733 8877.