Designers are embracing a plethora of contrasting fabrics in this year's autumn/winter collections, promising an eclectic contemporary mix of garments and accessories. Hong Kong Fashion Week for Fall/Winter and World Boutique, Hong Kong will feature shows by notable designers and brands, including Ika, Cecilia Yau, William Tang, Anniewho and Moiselle. World Boutique is a crucial vehicle for up-and-coming designers to showcase their talent, particularly through one of the fair's most eagerly awaited events - the Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers' Contest where design finalists will be paraded at the Convention and Exhibition Centre's Hall 5 today. The four-day event will also feature a wide range of seminars on the latest market forecasts and industry trends. According to fair organiser Hong Kong Trade Development Council, more than 19,000 buyers from 96 countries and regions visited World Boutique last year in addition to the 25,500 buyers from 111 countries and regions who attended Fashion Week. 'The Trade Development Council show really helps us gain exposure for the brand,' said Ng Lai-ming, director of the JM Group, which will be showcasing its contemporary womenswear label, Ming. Ng, who is also the designer behind the three-year-old Ming label, has worked hard to ensure that the theme of simplicity and elegance translate into her garments, and each piece exudes a unique twist. 'I always want to add a bit of glamour into the collection so the wearer feels special. 'It could be in the form of mixing and matching fabric, doing something different with the collar or making a difference through pocketing or buttons,' she said. The designer added that this year's collection would feature more woven items, including shirty dresses and chunky knits. Though the look may be entirely different for Ika Butoni's collection, the Indonesian-born, Hong Kong-based designer draws on a range of fabrics, including lace, natural fibre, silk, rayon and polyester. Her latest collection, distinguished by clean-cut details and intricate patterns, will gravitate around the concept of the number eight. 'The collection was inspired by the number eight because we are in 2008 and in Chinese culture eight also means fortune, prosperity and wealth. 'There will be a lot of round shapes and any embroidery in the garments will reflect this theme,' Ika said. Winter colours would mostly be darker tones of steely blues, brown and grey, she said. Through her wholesale company, Butoni, Ika exports her collections to 35 countries, including Japan, Europe, the United States and South Africa. Complementing the traditionally darker and more conservative shades of winter is the Vincent Pradier Accessories by Sinotrade Far East which features metallic yarns, copper tones and hues of gold and silver. 'With so many products on the market these days we need to do something different to remain unique,' brand founder Vincent Pradier said. 'This is why so many of our products are a patchwork of materials, or mixed fabrics, and colours, such as angora with polyester or polyester and hand-knitted wool, as this is one way of brightening up the colour of winter collections which tends to be basic.' Local designer William Tang, however, will be breaking the mould this year with his colourful collection Tangsan. 'My collections are usually black because the colour tends to sell better than others and I wear only black out of habit, but I was really inspired by all the wonderful colours of birds and flowers I saw on a visit to South America so I decided to go with bright gemstone-like colours this year,' explained the designer who launched his label about 20 years ago. Inspired by the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games, Tang has, in his casual wear collection, used the basic shades of electric blue, bright yellow and white; colours that were prevalent in the mainland's sportswear about 10 to 15 years ago. Local designer Dorian Ho is also making the most of this year's Olympics - specifically the city's equestrian events - by capturing its unique spirit in collaboration with US-based delivery company UPS. The Riding on UPStyle collection has been inspired by equine chic style, and includes styled hunting jackets, high-waist pantaloons and bloomer shorts with corseted tops. The pieces are styled with a touch of Ho's signature 'dazzling, feminine and chic' with details such as beading, lace and embroidery complementing the colour tones of the UPS brand image, according to a company spokesman.