'Customers today demand a lifestyle as a whole; they don't just buy nice clothes and neglect their home decorations,' says Douglas Young, style guru and founder of GOD houseware stores. His views echo the objective of World Boutique, which is in its second year as a parallel fair to Hong Kong Fashion Week. 'That is the reason for the name,' says senior exhibitions manager Anne Chick. 'It's not just about clothes, it can be about accessories such as necklaces and handbags, or even home accessories. It's about lifestyle.' Mr Young will speak at a seminar entitled 'Designers' branded lifestyle products development', to be held in rooms 606-607 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai on Friday, as part of World Boutique 2004. Mr Young's seminar will focus on the growing trends of designers and companies of lifestyle products crossing over to other territories. His company is a case in point. GOD launched its first fashion line last year and designs for the line's second season are already hitting the shelves. 'Fashion is just a means to express our message, which is to create a Hong Kong brand with a Hong Kong image. We shouldn't restrict ourselves to furniture. This kind of crossover has happened for quite some time in other countries. Louis Vuitton even makes sleeping bags,' he says. Like the brand's furniture, GOD's fashion line is inspired by local culture. The Yau Ma Tei (YMT) range, for instance, features imagery of the district's ageing buildings. An architect by training, Mr Young loves the non-uniformity in buildings. 'These [Yau Ma Tei] buildings are a signature of Hong Kong architecture; they are instantly recognisable and are unlike the glass buildings of Central, which could be from any other city. 'I particularly like how the tenants personalise their living quarters with metal balcony extensions, thus forming an intricate patchwork.' Other GOD ranges are inspired by Chinese newspapers and calligraphy. So, not only would you be able to wear Chinese calligraphy and newspaper patterns, you could go to the beach with Yau Ma Tei under your feet (YMT beach sandals) and float on a YMT surfboard. 'It's like Levi's is representational of the American spirit, we represent the Hong Kong spirit.' The company's expansion into fashion is a way to keep the business strong, explains Mr Young. 'When running a brand, one should also give customers something unexpected. People were surprised when we started our fashion line. Retail is entertainment; if people keep seeing the same things at your shop, they will eventually go to other shops.' Given the fickleness for which Hong Kong people are famous, Mr Young probably has the right idea.