Sustainable development aspects and digital fashion were explored at the recent Centrestage fashion fair in Hong Kong. The fair ran from September 6-9 and incorporated more than 30 fashion shows and events, attracting 7,700 buyers and retailers from 78 countries and regions.
Regarded as Asia’s premier fashion event, Centrestage is organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) with Create Hong Kong (CreateHK) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)* as the Lead Sponsor. Targeted to the trade, the event was opened to the public on the final day.
More than 240 fashion brands from 19 countries and regions were represented at the fair which took place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wanchai. The first night saw Centrestage Elites kick-off the event with a gala showing of the spring/summer 2024 collections of Hong Kong designer Wilson Choi’s brand REDEMPTIVE as well as acclaimed Japanese designer Emi Funayama’s brand FETICO.
A major highlight of the fair was the Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers’ Contest 2023 (YDC), where 10 Hong Kong designers showcased inspiration and creativity in their collections though a variety of styles. Their grand finale performance was in line with the ‘Everything is Inspiration’ theme this year and highlighted the infinite possibilities the Hong Kong’s fashion-design industry presents.
A slew of celebrities attended HKYFDC this year including Kay Tse, Ansonbean, Lagchun, Jamie Zhang, Indie band The Hertz, Sabrina Ng, Michael Chu, Rachel Leung, Natalie Ho, Wyllis Lam and CK Wong from STRAYZ, Carmina Lo, model Pete, rope skipper Pak Hung Cheung, stylist Ivan Lui and host Brian Chan.
From a shortlist of entries, the judging team announced Jason Ying as Champion and winner of the Best Visual Presentation Award with his design: Holometabolism, He received a cash prize and one-month internship at self-portrait studio, sponsored by Fang Brothers Knitting Ltd.
The Excellence Award was won by Johnson Chong with his design: Last Chance Hiking With My Mum. Tiger Chung picked up the My Favourite Collection Award with his design: Whispers From The Nomad – A Folk Horror Tale
Jason Ying graduated from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia two years ago and has been working for a year to perfect his skills in pattern marking and sewing. Obsessed with structure and form, his curiosity for deconstruction and metamorphosis are reflected in his creations. By exploring and imagining the differences between humans and other species, he attempts to construct the diversity of evolution through the use of silhouettes, detailed joints and colours.
“It’s so amazing. I still can’t believe it. It feels like I’m in a dream,” Mr Ying commented after his win. “I want to keep working hard but still need to think about what the next step will be.”
For the first time, YDC has collaborated with CASETiFY to infuse the inspiration of the 10 shortlisted designers into limited-edition commemorative products of CASETiFY accessories. The four competition winners will also have the opportunity to collaborate with CASETiFY to launch an artist accessories collection, extending their designs to phone accessories.
Centrestage is an important platform for the promotion of local and overseas based fashion brands, trade and exchange in Asia. The fair fosters the exchange of ideas and the joining of forces within the industry to drive innovation.
The organisers of Centrestage conducted an onsite survey of 350 exhibitors and buyers to guage visitor opinions on aspects of the industry. Eighty-five per cent of respondents named Hong Kong as their top choice for physical trade fairs, reflecting the SAR’s significant position in the global fashion industry.
Most respondents held an optimistic view on overall sales for next year, with about 60 per cent of respondents anticipating growth in sales within the next 1 – 2 years, while 37 per cent expected an increase within six to twelve months.
The survey revealed more than 60 per cent perceived the fluctuations of global economy as a major challenge and showed that while the pandemic had impacted business operations it had also accelerated the widespread move of business to online channels.
Forty-seven percent of respondents informed that half or more of their sales/purchases over the past six months were conducted online. Looking ahead, 78 per cent indicated that half or more of their sales purchases would take place through online channels in the next two years. As business travel has gradually resumed, 30 per cent of participants anticipate a return of business growth to pre-pandemic levels within a year while 26 per cent believe it may take a year and half.
The survey acknowledged a growing emphasis on sustainable fashion with 74 per cent of respondents agreeing that it would be a prevalent in the industry this year. Source – HKTDC