What’s the future of fashion? What’s unique about Hong Kong style? What’s next for your industry? What’s in and what’s out? We pose these questions to the designers, entrepreneurs, leaders, stylists and influencers who’ve made an impact on fashion here.
With Covid focusing attention on our own backyard, this era of style in the city is renegotiating in familiar territory. And from talking to the experts, common arcs emerge.
Designer, sustainability champion and founder of Phlvo Platform
Circularity, transparency, responsibility, respect and a proper value system – I feel these all must be the future of fashion. In fashion, I’m inspired by people, human values and the new possibilities of technology. In Hong Kong, there’ll be more connections between fashion education and the industry: mentorships and bridging or training programmes for students within the industry. This is a new season for me – with this new platform concept of Phlvo I want to start bringing a connection between the East and West. I don’t want to chase the chase anymore, or “accelerate growth”, which has been the fashion industry over the past decades – fast fashion, whether mass-produced or luxury brands. It’s all about reworking the system and dealing with issues such as exploitation, values, customers experiences, connection and relevance.
Designer and founder of Karmuel Young
Fashion’s future is gender-neutral. Some brands propose that direction by wading into gender-fluid, unisex or polysexual fashions, but I believe it’s about an extreme sense of self. Fashion is becoming more open to self-expression and letting the audience decide what they buy and want to wear. The younger generation pays less attention to traditional gender roles and looks and more towards integrity and authenticity.
Founder of Kapok
The future of fashion is in rediscovering how to make people feel beautiful, confident, comfortable and fun. It should be less a signifier of “coolness” or social class. It should stay away from limited edition and collectors and become again a way for us to communicate who we are. Hong Kong is unique because it embraces the new with a great knowledge of past style. Hong Kong style has no fear.
Designer and founder of Vivienne Tam
Since the pandemic began and everyone is homebound, fashion is localising … Society is now ready to support and appreciate Hong Kong designs, we’ll search deeper into Hong Kong’s history and culture, but maintain a proud global voice. It seems there are more restrictions and taboos with the political conflicts around; it’s getting challenging, but challenges make us more creative and focused. The future of fashion is more inclusive with universal values and an emphasis on sustainability and health. People are adopting healthier lifestyles and sporting cultures – I’m designing to blend beauty and style with protection, as in my crossover collection with Masklab and using antibacterial fabric for my travelling trench coats when the gates finally open. Fashion shows can be at any time now and anywhere; the fashion norms and rules are deconstructed and move towards more artistic and unexpected ways of presentation.
Co-founder, Goods of Desire
Fashion, like art, is a form of social commentary, and our society is very polarised now. You have split realities and fashion will mirror that, in the sense that it will become more diversified. In the past there was a central flow of fashion trends. In the future, these trends will break into fragments and become multiple trends. There won’t be one mainstream trend any longer – the future is diversity. Local fashion will find its own identity and uniqueness through local street culture, because Hong Kong is an advanced city. People are sophisticated in their style and taste, very international and diversified … Hong Kong will soon find its own identity, uniqueness and style. I’m inspired by the way people dress in Hong Kong, especially grass-roots people. The way they boldly mix things freely without consideration – so you have a lot of accidental fashionistas! Also, the ingenuity of adapting things really inspires me, not just in fashion but design in general. The unlikely combinations produce surprising contrasts. Hong Kong people don’t seem inhibited by putting things together in the same way that, say, Westerners might not do.
What’s next for us? We’ve found success in translating our company from initially focusing on furniture to lifestyle and clothing. We found a unique angle in Chinese clothing that’s simultaneously both traditional and modern. A continued focus on boosting our e-commerce is also on the agenda. It also allowed us to discover a market beyond borders for our type of clothing and we’ll continue to pursue that.
KOL, actress and emcee
The future of fashion is more environmentally cautious, easy on the Earth and soft on the skin. Hong Kong style has always been quite sharp, especially for ladies. Women aren’t afraid to dress out and express their personality in unisex and edgy ways.
Director of Fashion Farm Foundation
In the future, fashion will be more focused on the design than where the brand or designer is from. There are many more Hong Kong brands with potential to stand out in the international market. I believe there’ll be more collaborations too. For spring/summer 2022, the Fashion Farm Foundation is presenting the new collections of three brands – Pabe Pabe (accessories), Ponder.er (men’s and womenswear) and VANN (jewellery) – at Paris Fashion Week with a digital film presentation. The crew members are all from Hong Kong. It’s a chance to show the world how creative and talented our young people.
Designer and founder of Kev Yiu
Fashion has always been a personal statement of who you are, rather than trends to be followed. However, with technological advances I can imagine in the near future there’ll 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 through the information on social media and the internet, there’ll be no more stereotypes. The boundaries are about to be broken. Well, maybe they already have been: men in skirts and other gender-blending concepts are no longer as shocking as they once were.
Stylist and influencer
With the limitations of travel, I feel the city is looking inwards for fashion talent. I still feel there’s room for creativity even with the restrictions we’re under. In Hong Kong, the speed at which we consumed fashion before the protests and Covid-19 was super-fast-paced and, in a way, unsustainable. We’ve slowed down a lot recently and I think consumers, brands and retailers are reprioritising their focus. There’s a greater sense of community and I feel we’re seeing a gradual shift into more conscious consumption.
KOL and stylist
The pandemic led us to adopt a new normal in every way, people are paying more attention to reducing pollution. I’ve noticed people in Hong Kong are changing their buying behaviour – it’s important for local designers
to be environmentally conscious, use sustainable materials, especially packaging, and design in a way that’s more durable. Now, I think Hong Kong has its own unique style. People tend to showcase their own personality and won’t just follow a trend if it doesn’t fit them – this wasn’t the case 20, 10 or even five years ago, when fashionistas were following or copying Japan, Paris or London … Now, we’re unique.
Stylist and editorial director at Vogue Man Hong Kong
The future of fashion is all about being yourself, trusting your own feeling and being honest to yourself. I think freedom defines Hong Kong style. After the past year or so, people are going through major changes, mentally as well, from being fashionable to wearing comfy PJs at home. To me, comfort is in; being pretentious is out.
Designer and founder of Dorian Ho
Nowadays fashion isn’t just about the design, but also how you build and market your brand. Social media have led consumers to adopt and move on from fashion trends quicker than ever before. We must react very quickly, and adjust designs and stock, but also learn to anticipate what the market wants from us. With the development of technology such as AR and VR, I believe the future of fashion is sustainability and technologically innovative design. There’ll be breakthroughs in design and more functional materials to improve the quality of life.
Designer and founder of Barney Cheng Couture
What’s the future of fashion in Hong Kong? Three words: sustainability, awareness and responsibility. I think it’ll be all about customisation, personalisation and interactive creativity next in the local industry. What’s Hong Kong style really? Branded living? My style is extravagant simplicity, always has been, always will be. And what’s next for my brand? I’m a glorified tailor to the discerning few! I’ve been here for 28 years and hope to stay here for at least as long in the future.
Designer and founder of Harrison Wong
What’s the future of fashion? In design, sustainability remains the main issue and concern from my perspective. From a retail perspective, I think successful businesses will become more data-driven. By leveraging data on consumer trends and tastes, brands can create pieces consumers are more likely to buy. AR and VR will increasingly redefine the online and in-store experience. And high-tech will continue to reshape fashion – for example, catwalks will become increasingly virtual and new innovative functional fabrics will appear. Hong Kong-style is unique, because of the diversity of influences and cultures, as well as our dynamic metropolitan environment.