One of the most anticipated events in the fashion and apparel industry in Hong Kong, the HKTDC Hong Kong Fashion Week for Spring/Summer, returns with a dazzling array of new designs and seminars, offering food for thought for industry players.
Starting today, the 19th edition of the renowned trade show will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre until Friday. About 1,250 suppliers and designers from more than 20 countries and regions are showcasing their latest collections to buyers from Hong Kong, the mainland and abroad.
The fair features themed zones, including Brand Name Gallery, Bridal and Evening Wear, Denim Arcade, Fashion Gallery, Garment Mart, Handbags Select and International Fashion Designers' Showcase. In response to the role of fashion accessories in setting trends, the accessories section has been enhanced with the launch of two new zones - 'Salon of Scarves and Shawls' and 'Fashion Jewellery Feast'.
Marcus Scharzenberger, owner of jewellery design house Monkey Forest in Hong Kong, says the event gives him the opportunity to make and maintain connections with buyers.
'We find new customers from all over the world,' he says. 'There are customers that we are still serving.' Monkey Forest makes jewellery with natural materials, such as copper, brass, semi-precious stones and pearls. All pieces are handcrafted and for export only.
Scharzenberger says his company has carved a niche on the mainland. 'Our jewellery is not made by workers, but by skilful artists. People from the mainland have approached us and we also make custom-made [items].'
Hong Kong-based Mantura specialises in affordable young women's fashion targeting European customers and has an in-house team of shoe designers. Merchandising manager Joyce Ho says customers nowadays enjoy an expanding collection of fashion accessories.
'We believe that studs and diamonds, special platforms and heels, as well as colourful fabrics will be among the trends. Rather than walking only in flats and mid-heel shoes, many young girls like wearing four-to-five-inch high-heels.'
Mantura is exhibiting an ocean-inspired shoes collection, 'Boundless Blue', comprising three designs. 'We divide the ocean into three levels,' Ho says. 'The upper level, or the surface, is about reflection, and we have used reflective fabrics to convey the feeling. The medium level of the ocean is playful, and so we have used different colours in our designs. The bottom of the ocean is dark and mysterious ... When you look at the shoes from different angles, the colour changes. There are many secrets hiding in the deep ocean.'
As part of the trade fair, models donning designs by established brands and emerging talent will be strutting runway shows and catwalk parades. Apart from the seven sessions of 'International Fashion: On Parades', 'Fashionally Collection' displays works by home-grown designers who are past winners and finalists in the Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers' Contest. Polytechnic University's Institute of Textiles and Clothing and Chinese University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies are organising graduation shows.
Trend forecasters are giving seminars on market trends. Angelia Teo, content director for WGSN in Asia-Pacific, is giving an overview of the key shapes, silhouettes, materials, and colours for womenswear, menswear and accessories for spring/summer 2013 and beyond. Michael Leow, head of Fashion Snoop's Asia-Pacific sales and marketing, is presenting 'The Trends Confirmation for Ladies, Men and Childrenswear for Spring/Summer 2013 and Early Trend Directions for Autumn/Winter13/14'. Other speakers include Mary Chan Yan-yan, business partner of Peclers Paris in Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand.
Other highlights include make-up and hair styling demonstrations by MAC Cosmetics and hair care brand Tigi, sponsors for the event's fashion parades and some of the house shows.
Rana Mondair, CEO of British-based exhibitor Kaymans Apparel, a manufacturer and importer of men's fashion trousers and jackets, says his company supplies designs from a stock basis, meaning there are no minimum quantities nor a long lead time.
'It's our first time in Hong Kong. We do exhibitions throughout [the European Union],' he says. 'We hope to make contact with buyers of retail groups around the world to hopefully establish a mutually beneficial relationship.' The company is offering 'Men's Chino Trousers', its latest designs sold in the EU that are not normally available anywhere else, but the company is in a position to supply from stock.
Angel Phan, president of Viet Creative Company in Vietnam and a first-time participant, says she is bringing a collection of evening dresses and bridal gowns. 'I was a buyer and now I want to introduce my company and my products to buyers around the world,' she says. 'I want to learn more about the market and build my brand.'
Calvin Tai, director of IZha, which produces high-quality knit fashion from Tibetan handwoven yak wool, says he wants to introduce yak wool designs to the global market. From spinning to dyeing, the manufacturing process of yak wool clothing is environmentally friendly, he says.
The company is showing its signature chequered knit scarves woven from 100 per cent pure yak-down yarn in its original brown colour, and scarf ponchos for ladies and natural-dyed knit scarves and outfits.
Tai hopes to promote eco-fashion. 'Large-scale sheep and cattle farming has accelerated damage to the ecosystem,' he says. 'Yaks eat less grass than commercial cattle. Neither do they uproot grasses. Yak wool creates a sustainable future.'
At a glance
Date Today until Friday
Venue Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Opening hours 10am-6pm (today); 9.30am-6pm (tomorrow and Thursday); 9.30am-5pm (Friday)