Fashion students in their final year at Hong Kong Polytechnic University showcased their designs at its Institute of Textiles and Clothing's annual gala recently. The 24 would-be Jean Paul Gaultiers and Paul Smiths were selected from 70 students studying for their Higher Diploma in Fashion and Clothing Technology. Each young designer made four outfits and competed for awards sponsored by garment companies. Student models from the Beijing Institute of Clothing Technology graced the catwalk with the creations at the Regent Hotel ballroom. The PolyU fashion institute's principal lecturer, Liew Kam-leung, said: 'We do not restrict students' imagination by instructing them how to make their clothes. Rather, we encourage them to be stimulated by different art forms, buildings and films.' He said students chose their materials and made their own clothes to budgets. 'Our graduates usually pursue a career in the fashion industry, quite a proportion in merchandising and a few in fashion design,' he said. Judges and an audience of about 200 saw clothes inspired by, among other things, Greek legends, ancient Chinese armour, African percussion players, Middle Eastern merchants, the British Victorian era, post-war Hong Kong and futuristic fantasies. Designs included executive and workman's wear, wedding gowns and baby-clothes some far beyond the everyday garments seen in stores. Materials used included newspapers, bamboo and plastics.