IN recognition of the changing climate in the garment industry in the territory, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council has become increasingly active in promoting fashion to the local consumer, as well as the industry in general. ''Besides promoting our designers and manufacturers overseas, it is important that they gain local support, so we initiated the idea of salon fashion shows,'' said the council's assistant executive of direct market development Mimi Yeung. In the relaxed atmosphere of hotel lounges and restaurants, models walk among the guests showing the latest trends. ''The informal tea and luncheon shows have launched many aspiring designers, and have subsequently increased the sales,'' Ms Yeung said. Display facilities are also offered by the council's Design Gallery for the latest fashions, making it invaluable to young designers who cannot afford their own premises. Its prime location in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre enjoys high-volume business and tourist traffic, providing marketing opportunities. ''We carry Hong Kong labels, established local designer wear and a young designers' collection which reflects a quality image in keeping with the territory's status as an emerging fashion centre,'' she said. The council promotes local designers and manufacturers to the European and American markets through on-going participation in trade shows. Activities are not restricted to Hong Kong: 1993 saw a succession of promotional events in China to raise awareness of Hong Kong labels and more are planned this year. ''In March, we are organising the Shanghai Garment Exhibition. The city is on its way to restoring its role as a leading fashion centre in China,'' Ms Yeung said. ''It is already a major garment centre in an area famous for silk and neighbouring towns look to it for their merchandise. Last year was the first such event, and we encourage joint venture businesses to take part.'' The TDC also organised the first International Fashion and Accessory Fair in Shenzhen last September, which generated new business for Hong Kong. Aside from exhibitions, the TDC arranges department store promotions that enable joint-venture manufacturers to take counter space for a period of weeks or months to familiarise customers with their garments. This year will see no less than 16 events in China. ''The TDC is a non-profit-making organisation and handles the publicity for all events: this makes it cost-effective for merchandisers to take part,'' Ms Yeung said. ''Nine designer collections were shown in Paris last year as part of a joint function and were well received by the press.'' Thirty manufacturers will take part in the famous pret-a-porter trade show in Paris later this month, followed by more European trade fairs. ''Quotas in the European market can now be spread across its member countries giving Hong Kong business more opportunities to develop,'' she said.