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A Sizzling Style Celebration(HKTDC Fashion - Leather Goods & Bags, Vol 03,2008)

Hong Kong Fashion Week for Spring/Summer

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Every anniversary deserves a special celebration and one of Asia's leading fashion fairs is no exception

An exciting new zone will take centre stage at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre this July to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Hong Kong's fashion showcase.

The Fabrics & Yarn Zone will debut at the HKTDC Hong Kong Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2009 from 8-11 July 2008 to spotlight cotton, embroidery, functional fabrics, knitted fabrics, linen, ramie, lingerie fabrics, man-made fabrics, silk, wool, plus various fibres and yarns.

The new zone will complement last year's newcomers Emporium de Mode, Infant & Children's Wear Zone and Spice Arena, which will make a welcome return to offer buyers an excellent choice of the very latest trends and styles.

Emporium de Mode will present a host of spectacular designs in elegant, refined surroundings, Spice Arena will offer the latest "must-have" accessories, including headwear, footwear, ladies' scarves and handbags, while the Infant & Children's Wear Zone will cater to a growing market where quality and fashion trends are equally important.

Proven performers

Several established zones will also return, including Garment & Accessories Mart for mass appeal basics; Fashion Gallery, which will focus on high-end, designer fashion; and the Body & Intimate Wear Zone that will present the latest in lingerie and home wear.

Bridal & Evening Wear Zone will be the perfect place to source special occasion pieces, while the International Fashion Designers' Showcase will highlight designer collections and the creativity and innovation of fashion design talents.

Hong Kong Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2009 also gives fashion industry people from around the world a unique opportunity to witness the talent of Hong Kong fashion designers.

A highlight of the fair, the Hong Kong New Fashion Collection Award 2008 is organised to encourage Hong Kong companies to start their own collections and brand names by working more closely with designers.

The Party & Evening-wear, Contemporary Day-wear and Casual & Jeans-wear awards will be judged by their marketability, use of fabrics, application of technology, creativity and workmanship.

A show featuring the shortlisted finalists' outfits will be staged on the third day of the fair as the finalists compete for the Best Collection Award from each of the three categories, along with the Overall Winner Award.

Trend spotters

Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Hong Kong Fashion Week for Spring/Summer has long been acknowledged as the ideal setting for fashion buyers and sellers from all over the world.

Antalok Merchandising Pte Ltd Managing Director Joseph Antal, for example, has visited the fair since 1989. "There are always good possibilities here - I can always find something new," the Hungarian buyer proclaimed last year, adding that the fair lets him see the trends and the new colours. "I would say about 15%-20% of our yearly business comes from this fair."

Relative newcomer Beatrice Alvares has been visiting the Hong Kong Fashion Week for Spring/Summer for four years. "I go to other fairs in Asia but I like this one best because I'm more successful here in finding what I want," the Nanni Design Corp buyer explained. "There's better quality and a greater variety of designs - and the organisation of the fair is fantastic."

Exhibitors are equally enthusiastic, judging by the reaction of T'z Enterprises Director Derek Cheng. "In just three days, we have already received orders from new buyers who come from France, Holland, Korea and Japan," he said. "I think many of them like our detailed designs that come with a reasonable price tag."

Nor was Mama & Leon Marketing Manager Rina Antara disappointed. "The event is very well organised and is an excellent platform to find new buyers, especially those from Europe," she enthused.

International interest

This international mix of visitors is clearly reflected in the statistics, with more than 17,000 fashion buyers from 94 countries and regions visiting the event last year alone.

They viewed men's, women's, children's and teens fashions and accessories from more than 1,100 exhibitors from 19 countries and regions - graphic evidence of the broad appeal of this major fashion trade platform.

Even more visitors are expected to attend HKTDC Hong Kong Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2009, which is clearly destined to further reinforce Hong Kong's reputation as the Asian fashion hub where ideas blossom and come to fruition.

TEXT BY JAMES PALMER