Hong Kong trade show intent on nurturing homegrown talent
Hong Kong-based fashion trade show The Hub recently ushered in a selection of new brands from all over the globe to industry buyers to meet the demand among maturing Asian consumers for more exclusive designs.
The event, at Lai Chi Kok's D2 Place, stood out this season for its emphasis on young labels designed by and for Asians. One instance was the exciting entry of 10 Korean brands keen on entering the Chinese market, as part of the Seoul showroom and agency People of Tastes. These include labels such as casual heritage menswear label Eastlogue and monochrome accessories company Blankof.
"We manage a number of brands back in Seoul with a variety of styles," says managing director Misun Song. "Since this is our first time entering into the Hong Kong market with The Hub, we're taking a general selection of brands to see what the local market here resonates with first."
Local talent also took centre stage with the trade show's heavy representation of emerging domestic brands. For example, Loom Loop and Kay Li, labels that are part of Fashion Farm Foundation (FFF), a non-profit organisation intent on supporting local fashion talent.
Other Chinese brands also attended, including haute couture brand Zhang Jingjing and Whatever, a womenswear label founded by Lun Li featuring boxy silhouettes with an athletic aesthetic.
Li, a finalist of the Hong Kong Young Designer's Contest in 2012, set up his fashion label just last year and hopes to procure orders at trade show.
"I decided to exhibit at The Hub this year because it's one of the more cool and stylish fashion trade shows around. It's definitely an important factor to help my brand's image."
The range of local brands keen on showing at The Hub highlights how important it is to provide a global platform is for the many local designers looking to reach well-respected buyers and retail shop owners in the region. Especially for young labels that might not have the resources to continually travel to overseas trade shows such as Tranoi in Paris, The Hub acts as a reputable alternative to find new business development opportunities that are otherwise not on offer in Asia.
Another key feature of The Hub this year was strong collaborations with leading educational institutions Savannah College of Art and Design and Raffles Design Institute. Both colleges created separate installations that combined disciplines in apparel design, branding, merchandising and interior design.
"Regional consumers are becoming more savvy and demanding originality from homegrown talent, which is a real move away from worshipping brands," says Raffles' brand manager Thomas Empson.
With regional and global support for these young designers and students, the future is very exciting and promising for events such as The Hub."
One can only hope that buyers in Hong Kong, China and abroad find opportunities at The Hub that will resonate with this growing but still maturing Asian consumer. Because in doing so, they not only help to support one of Hong Kong's homegrown events, but also provide support for the many students and emerging Asian labels who are keen in helping the city become a truly creative hub.