Hong Kong’s fashion vanguard on the future of fashion
What is the future of fashion? What is unique about the Hong Kong style? What’s the next step for your industry? What’s in it and what’s coming out? We’re asking these questions to the designers, entrepreneurs, executives, stylists and influencers who have made an impact on fashion here.
With Covid focusing attention on our own backyard, this era of style in the city is renegotiating into familiar territory. And by discussing with the experts, common arcs emerge.
Designer, champion of sustainable development and founder of the Phlvo platform
Circularity, transparency, accountability, respect and an appropriate value system – I think this all has to be the future of fashion. In fashion, I am inspired by people, human values and the new possibilities of technology. In Hong Kong, there will be more links between fashion education and industry: mentorships and bridging or training programs for industry students. It’s a new season for me – with this new platform concept from Phlvo, I want to start making a connection between East and West. I no longer want to chase after the chase, or “accelerate the growth”, that has been the fashion industry for the past few decades – fast fashion, whether mass produced or luxury brands. It’s about reworking the system and dealing with issues like operations, values, customer experiences, connection, and relevance.
Designer and founder of Karmuel Young
The future of fashion is gender neutral. Some brands offer this direction by strutting around in fluid, unisex or polysexual fashions, but I believe it is an extreme sense of self. Fashion is more and more open to self-expression and lets the public decide what they buy and want to wear. The younger generation pays less attention to traditional gender roles and turns more to integrity and authenticity.
Founder of Kapok
The future of fashion is all about rediscovering how to make people feel beautiful, confident, comfortable and fun. It should be less of a signifier of “coolness” or social class. It should stay away from limited editions and collectors and once again become a way for us to communicate who we are. Hong Kong is unique because it embraces the new with a great knowledge of the past style. Hong Kong style is not afraid.
Designer and founder of Vivienne Tam
Since the pandemic started and everyone is confined to their homes, fashion is locating… Society is now ready to support and appreciate Hong Kong creations, we will look deeper into the history and culture of Hong Kong. Hong Kong, but will maintain a proud global voice. It seems that there are more restrictions and taboos with the political conflicts around; it becomes difficult, but the challenges make us more creative and focused. The future of fashion is more inclusive with universal values and a focus on sustainability and health. People are adopting healthier lifestyles and sports cultures. I design a blend of beauty and style with protection, like in my crossover collection with Masklab, and I use anti-bacterial fabric for my travel trenches when the doors finally open. Fashion shows can take place anytime now and anywhere; the norms and rules of fashion are being deconstructed and evolving towards more artistic and unexpected modes of presentation.
Co-founder, Goods of Desire
Fashion, like art, is a form of social commentary, and our society is now very polarized. You have divided realities and fashion will reflect that, in the sense that it will become more diverse. In the past, there was a central flow of fashion trends. In the future, these trends will fragment and become multiple trends. There will no longer be a dominant trend: the future lies in diversity. Local fashion will find its own identity and uniqueness through the local street culture, because Hong Kong is an advanced city. People are sophisticated in their style and tastes, very international and diverse… Hong Kong will soon find its own identity, uniqueness and style. I am inspired by the way people dress in Hong Kong, especially the grassroots people. The way they boldly mix things up loosely without consideration – so you have a lot of accidental fashionistas! Also, the ingenuity of tailoring things really inspires me, not just in fashion but in design in general. The improbable combinations produce surprising contrasts. Hong Kong people don’t seem inhibited in organizing things in the same way that, say, Westerners might not.
What’s the next step for us? We have successfully shifted our business from an initial focus on furniture to a lifestyle and clothing. We found a unique angle in Chinese clothing, both traditional and modern. The emphasis on strengthening our e-commerce is also on the agenda. It has also allowed us to discover a cross-border market for our type of clothing and we will continue to pursue it.
KOL, actress and host
The future of fashion is more environmentally friendly, kind to the planet and kind to the skin. Hong Kong style has always been quite sharp, especially for women. Women are not afraid to dress and express their personality in a unisex and daring way.
Director of the Fashion Farm Foundation
In the future, fashion will focus more on design than on the origin of the brand or designer. There are many other Hong Kong brands that could stand out in the international market. I think there will also be more collaborations. For Spring / Summer 2022, the Fashion Farm Foundation presents the new collections of three brands – Pabe Pabe (accessories), Ponder.er (men and women) and VANN (jewelry) – at Paris Fashion Week with a digital film by presentation. The crew are all from Hong Kong. It’s a chance to show the world how creative and talented our young people are.
Designer and founder of Kev Yiu
Fashion has always been a personal statement of who you are, rather than trends to follow. However, with the advancements in technology that I can imagine in the near future, there will be something like a one-button device that can dress you up in any way you can imagine.
As the younger generation has become more open-minded thanks to information on social media and the Internet, there will be no more stereotypes. Borders are about to be broken. Well, maybe they already have been: men in skirts and other concepts of gender mixing aren’t as shocking as they used to be.
Stylist and influencer
With the limitations of travel, I feel like the city is turning to itself for fashion talent. I always feel like there is room for creativity even with the restrictions we are subjected to. In Hong Kong, the speed at which we consumed fashion before the protests and Covid-19 was lightning-fast and, in a way, unsustainable. We’ve been slowing down a lot lately and I think consumers, brands and retailers are redefining their priorities. There is a greater sense of community and I think we are seeing a gradual shift towards more conscious consumption.
KOL and stylist
The pandemic has made us adopt a new normal in all respects, people pay more attention to pollution reduction. I have noticed that people in Hong Kong are changing their buying behavior – this is important for local designers
to be environmentally conscious, use sustainable materials, especially packaging, and design in a more sustainable way. Now I think Hong Kong has its own unique style. People tend to show their own personalities and don’t just follow a trend if it isn’t right for them – that wasn’t the case 20, 10, or even five years ago when fashionistas followed or copied the trend. Japan, Paris or London… Now we are unique.
Stylist and Editorial Director at Vogue Man Hong Kong
The future of fashion is all about being yourself, trusting your own feelings, and being honest with yourself. I think freedom defines the style of Hong Kong. After about a year, people go through major changes, mentally too, from being fashionable to wearing comfy pajamas at home. For me, comfort is in it; being pretentious is out.
Designer and founder of Dorian Ho
Fashion these days is not just about design, but also how you build and market your brand. Social media has led consumers to embrace and move away from fashion trends faster than ever. We have to react very quickly, adjust designs and stocks, but also learn to anticipate what the market expects from us. With the development of technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality, I believe the future of fashion is sustainability and technologically innovative design. There will be breakthroughs in design and more functional materials to improve the quality of life.
Creator and founder of Barney Cheng Couture
What is the future of fashion in Hong Kong? Three words: sustainability, conscience and responsibility. I think it will all be about personalization, personalization and interactive creativity in the local industry. What is the Hong Kong style really like? Brand life? My style is extravagant simplicity, has always been, always will be. And what’s the next step for my brand? I am a glorified tailor for the most demanding! I have been here for 28 years and hope to stay there at least that long in the future.
Designer and founder of Harrison Wong
What is the future of fashion? In design, sustainability remains the main issue and concern from my point of view. From a retail perspective, I think successful businesses will become more data driven. By leveraging data on consumer trends and tastes, brands can create items that consumers are more likely to buy. Augmented reality and virtual reality will increasingly redefine the online and in-store experience. And high tech will continue to reshape fashion – for example, catwalks will become more and more virtual and new innovative functional fabrics will appear. Hong Kong’s style is unique, due to the diversity of influences and cultures, as well as our vibrant metropolitan environment.