SHOPPING IN HONG Kong isn't what it used to be. Whereas fashion capitals such as Milan, Paris, New York and London boast hip and trendy boutiques in small, eclectic neighbourhoods, Hong Kong's fashionistas have become used to shopping in the sub-zero temperatures of its mammoth shopping malls, where chain stores and luxury designers go head-to-head in a retailer's paradise. In a bid to turn their backs on what Americans have dubbed mall culture, many local shoppers are abandoning mass-market stores and packed malls in search of a more comfortable and relaxed shopping experience. Causeway Bay, long regarded as Hong Kong's fashion hub, has for years played host to young designers hoping to make it big, and is home to countless boutiques that stock one-off pieces and highly regarded brands from Asia and beyond. However, finding these fashion havens isn't always easy, especially now that many trendy retailers have abandoned the Island Beverly Centre for better digs. Here's a guide to some of Hong Kong's local treasures. Pink Martini Who? Humphrey Cheung Yau-man graduated from Central St Martins in 2001 and opened his first store in April this year. Cheung is the creative director and buyer. He also designs for his in-house label Pink Martini, which offers one-off pieces. Fashion finds: The clothes are sophisticated, but easy to wear, and range from flowery dresses and embroidered T-shirts to flowing skirts. The store also stocks brands such as Baby Jane by Cacharel, Stella McCartney, Pink Martini and many more. Most items are one-off pieces. The look: The little Boho-inspired boutique brings Paris to Hong Kong. Shoppers listen to jazz while browsing through vintage items and enjoying the store's cosy atmosphere. Customers: In addition to the occasional tourist, the store attracts a wide range of people such as party-goers, housewives and office ladies. Price range: T-shirts are $300 and lace cardigans go for $2,300. Opening hours: 2pm-10.30pm, Monday to Sunday. Where? Pink Martini, Shop 2, G/F Bartlock Centre, 3 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 2574 1498. Surfer Girl and XGame Who? Ken Choi Lee-keung launched his sports stores, Wind and Surf, four years ago. Eventually, the shops were renamed XGame, focusing on sports gear, as well as outdoor clothing. Last year, Choi opened his fourth XGame store and its counterpart for women, Surfer Girl. Fashion finds: Sports and beach wear at Surfer Girl includes Billabong, Rusty, Hurley International, Reef, Woodoo Dolls, Surfer Girl, Volcom and Roxy. XGame has Volcom, Hurley International, Billabong, Reef and O'Neill. Besides clothing, the two shops also stock flip-flops, wallets, bags, caps, windsurfing and wakeboarding DVDs, wetsuits and surfboards. The look: The two spacious stores are across the street from one another, hidden upstairs. The women's store is colourful and fashion oriented, while the men's store is designed to be practical and easy to navigate, and focuses on sports gear. Customers: The clientele includes windsurfers, wake-, snow- and skateboarders, but also streetwear fans who want to spice up their wardrobes with sporty pieces. Price range: T-shirts are $200, bikinis are $440 to $780 and trousers go for $800. Opening hours: 12pm-9pm, Monday to Sunday. Where? Surfer Girl, 1/F & 2/F, 10 Pak Sha Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2836 6073/2882 8105, XGame, 1/F, 11 Pak Sha Road Causeway Bay, tel: 2881 8960. Marijuana Who? Andy Ho Chiu-kin launched his first Marijuana store in Kowloon five years ago and last week opened in Causeway Bay. The store's name was inspired by a desire to give clients a unique and non-commercial shopping experience, leaving them feeling uplifted. Fashion finds: European and Japanese brands, including luxury jeans label Angelo Mozzilo, Maharishi (of which Jennifer Aniston is a fan), Pier Antonio Gaspari, Hood, Lin, Malloni, Yoshihiko Ogawa and Kei Kagami. The look: The boutique is spacious and resembles an art gallery. Customers can shop or just hang out. Customers: The store attracts a crowd of stylish and well-educated people. Price range: T-shirts are about $1,000, while jackets go for $9,000. Opening hours: 12pm-10.30pm, Monday to Sunday. Where? Marijuana, G/F, 9-11 Cleveland Street (entrance on Food Street), Causeway Bay, tel: 2882 4339. Maia Who? The young and energetic Debbie Ng Kit-ying (aka Miss D) opened her vintage clothing store last May. Her designs, under the Maia label, feature comfortable pieces with a focus on detail. Her second-hand collection comprises simple and wearable, but reasonably priced, pieces. Fashion finds: The store has casual wear, office wear and party dresses. The inventory changes frequently so customers can find something new each visit. Labels include the shop's own brand, Maia, and US names such as BCBG Max Azria and Rebecca Taylor. Wedges, flats and jewellery are also on display. The look: The cosy changing area is out-fitted with a mirrored wall and a sofa. It offers the ideal environment for an afternoon of shopping with girlfriends. Customers: A mixed bunch ranging from school students and tai tais to working women who want to spice up their work outfits with colourful blouses or ruffled skirts. The shop is also popular with men looking for gift ideas. Price range: For spring/summer, the clothes range from $250 to $800; for autumn/winter stock, prices vary from $350 to $1,800. Opening hours: 12pm-10.30pm, Monday to Sunday. Where: Maia, Shop A, G/F, 5 Lan Fong Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2882 3808 Change Who: John Suen Lui started with a chain of stores under the name Bella, which provided the niche market with well-known European and international labels. Seeing potential in ready-to-wear designs, Suen established Change last year. Fashion finds: The store offers well-known brands worn by young and hip celebrities. Labels from the US include JLo by Jennifer Lopez, Chick by Nicky Hilton, Vintage Disney, Juicy Girl, Teenage Millionaire (behind the 'Jesus is My Homeboy' T-shirts), Blue Cult and Sacred Blue. European brands include Andy Warhol, Fiorucci, Fornarina, 2 Die 4 by Antonio Berardi, D&G and more. The look: The spacious boutique's friendly staff offer customers good service in a relaxing setting. For trend-obsessed girls, the store has magazine clippings of celebrities wearing items carried by the store. Customers: The clientele includes fashion-conscious and young-spirited women who are willing to spend their disposable income on trendy merchandise. They follow a casual-smart style and get their inspiration from young, glamorous Hollywood starlets. Price range: T-shirts are $500, sweatshirts go for $900 and jeans cost about $1,600. Opening hours: 12pm-10.30pm, Monday to Sunday. Where: Change, G/F, 23 Lan Fong Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2881 8809.