London, Paris and Shanghai Fashion Weeks in a FIP Designer’s Eyes

Many fashion designers set as a milestone goal to present new collections at international fashion weeks. With the increasing support from government-backed fashion promotion programmes, more budding designers in Hong Kong are getting the career-shaping chances. Our Fashion Incubation Programme (FIP) designers are certainly among those who put their best feet forward to show the world the finest of their works. This spring, 6 of them stole the limelight of a number of leading fashion weeks.

The London Fashion Week in February saw the fall and winter 2019 collections of Loom Loop and Yeung Chin at Fashion Hong Kong hosted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. In the same month, Fashion Farm Foundation (FFF), a Create Hong Kong-funded fashion talent platform, brought Ffixxed Studios, The World Is Your Oyster and Yeung Chin to the Paris Fashion Week. In March’s Shanghai Fashion Week, fashionistas viewed the new collections of 112 mountainyam, DEMO and Yeung Chin at Ontimeshow.

Yeung Chin, who took part in all three said fashion weeks, presented his A/W19 collection themed “Utopia.” “Everyone has a different idea of utopia and I want to use fashion, my design and the presentation, to prompt people to think deeper into it.” He thinks fashion is more effective not in telling stories but expressing the zeitgeist. Nonetheless, narrative films have always been his sources of inspiration. This time, he took cues from the military elements of 1974 Italian psychodrama The Night Porter and 2018 American spy thriller Red Sparrow. “Both films portray the life in concentration camps. The bunk beds in the scenes reminded me of youth hostels. Both types of environments gather people from different backgrounds but they represent absolutely contrasting ideas of life and freedom.” In the design, he gave military details an experimental twist — embroidered 3D camouflage, irregular cotton patchwork and loads of black leather.

London Fashion Week

In London, Yeung Chin’s works were shown in the form of fashion presentation which has become more and more popular in fashion weeks. This format allows Yeung Chin to fully convey his concept using theatrical elements — a unique tool of his which has matured since Indigo Rain in 2015. The central prop was a white metal bunk bed on which models wrote and drew stimulating texts and images. The vibe was boosted by live accordion and melodica playing Russian folk music. Among the models were some who may be regarded as atypical — tattooed, extremely muscular, silver-haired. “I’ve used models with diverse body types in a few fashion presentations already. The mix enhances the theatricality. It’s an effective way to express my concept. In London, I found models like a seventy-year-old lady, a body builder, an edgy tattooed punk woman — it’s so exciting!”

London was also where Yeung Chin found himself most open to possibilities. Comparing the three fashion weeks, he said, “I love the vibe in London the most, as well as the venue and the models. I’d love to make better use of the wide options available there and explore more potential next time.” Paris, in which his work was presented in FFF’s reception, is not as wild as London. But he observed that most buyers made their orders in Paris rather than London. “Paris is the battleground. All go out of their ways.”

The Shanghai Fashion Week was the most challenging one to Yeung Chin among the three. “The competition is huge, the scene is complicated and the market is fast-changing.” And he observed a gap, “Shanghai buyers’ knowledge in fashion history and culture is not as mature. Western styles like Victorian, punk and psychedelic find little resonance in Shanghai. Its fashion industry is developing fast but it still needs time to cultivate its fashion culture. Currently, it’s rather driven by trends.” But he witnessed the quality and competitiveness of Shanghai fashion designers. “Some of them have exceeded Hong Kong designers by many folds. We need to work harder.” Presenting works in international fashion weeks is not just about gaining exposure but also broadening horizons. “It’s the best chance to learn from the best and the worst from all over the world.”