Hong Kong Fashion Week showcased city’s narrow creative focus

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 July, 2016, 3:34pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 July, 2016, 11:31pm

I am first-generation Irish born to Hong Kong parents and earlier this month I realised I have a romantic view of the city.

My partner and I went to Hong Kong Fashion Week, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.

As a new parent I was proud that our daughter would have an experience past generations may not have had.

This pride was quickly silenced; anyone under 18 was not allowed into the Fashion Week. Not because there was alcohol, gambling or nudity at the event, but simply to provide “a business environment for industry players”.

I was confused. What about mothers and fathers who have no choice but to work and raise their children? How about young students who want to work in the industry or have an internship and need to do research?

The Fashion Week was not the positive experience similar to shows like Premier Vision in Paris where creativity from all ages and stages of life is celebrated.

Among the range of people I spoke with regarding the matter, only one woman at the organisers’ office who had older children of her own sympathised.

I submitted a letter to the TDC and my complaint was recorded. My partner sat outside the venue with our baby while I worked inside the event.

From reading recent South China Morning Post articles, it seems I am not alone in my sentiments. The article by Angharad Hampshire in 2015 (“Why Hong Kong is failing its young families”), cited very damning statistics on how unprogressive the city is compared to other countries in its treatment of working parents.

The TDC, which holds many events throughout the year, is the leader in creating a progressive environment but is falling short of this.

Consideration should be given to parents who have no choice but to work and raise their children.

Even more importantly, the youth of this generation are in great need of guidance from the industry leaders that the TDC represents. It is a great research and learning framework and should not be underestimated. Support and investment must be given to strengthen society and protect the family unit and young people.

As a Hong Kong resident and citizen, I have a responsibility as a parent to safeguard our children’s future and their environment.

I wish the TDC, Hong Kong government and society would recognise this too.

Zoë Wong, Tung Chung