CENTRESTAGE — Hong Kong’s premier fashion trade show — is launching its fourth edition from September 4 to 7. In anticipation, The Daily profiling a handful of the show’s most notable designers with a series of in-depth Q&As. This week: Hong Kong-based designer Harrison Wong.
What is the inspiration behind your Spring Summer 2020 menswear collection you will be showing at CENTRESTAGE this September?
I’m following my inspiration into a world of heightened tailoring and construction. Echos of form-following-function emerge as inside-out construction details become a key design feature. I’m using pinstripes, heritage checks, and stitching patterns from the past to add an air of reassuring familiarity to my re-imagined, classical tailoring style. The silhouette focus is on such elements as broad shoulders and wide pants to create a new urban, minimalist aesthetic.
What is it about CENTERSTAGE that makes it such a good showcase for your brand?
It provides big stage for catwalk shows, so I am able to show my collection effectively to my Hong Kong customers and international fashion buyers.
Tell us about your design background.
I got my master’s degree from the London College of Fashion. For a number of years before launching my own brand and retail fashion business, I worked as design director for fashion houses in Hong Kong and China, which helped me to build up substantial creative expertise at the corporate level in these dynamic markets.
You won the Hong Kong Young Designers’ Contest (YDC) in 1996. What was that experience like and how did it impact your career?
Winning that award was, of course, a boost of confidence for me, since it was a positive affirmation from the fashion industry. The award encouraged me to continue pursuit of my fashion design career.
What is it about Hong Kong fashion scene that differentiates it from the fashion scenes in other major cities like New York, London, or Paris?
Of course Hong Kong is a smaller market. However given globalization, international markets have become more similar and follow similar trends. Hong Kong’s proximity to China also makes it unique, both from production and marketing perspective.
You participated in the Fashion Hong Kong runway show in New York in 2018. What was it like showing at New York Fashion Week?
There is always a positive buzz when showing at NYFW. I would say the benefits in my case were largely related to PR and subsequent marketing. I would use videos of the catwalk in my stores and in my advertising campaigns. Having participated in NYFW gives the brand a little cachet and hopefully boosted sales in my shops.
What makes your brand unique?
While each of my collections is different, I feel that each collection can be identified as Harrison Wong. There is hopefully a recognizable underlying edginess and understated elegance that comes through each time. At least, that is what I try to achieve.
Does sustainability factor into your brand at all?
Yes, mainly in choice of fabric. For example, where possible, we use organic silk and recycled cottons.
What do you think is the next big trend in menswear?
Easy (informal) tailoring.
What trend are you sick of?
Retro printed / logo hoodie.
Who is your dream retailer?
Every city has an iconic shop. Paris’s L’eclaireur is one of them. Luckily, my brand will be there in Spring 2020.
Check out Harrison Wong’s newest collection at CENTRESTAGE, September 4 – 7 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Admission is free and buyers can register through the official website. Buyers are also encouraged to download HKTDC Marketplace app, which facilitates registration to all the fairs organized by HKTDC and keeps buyers abreast of the latest industry news and fair information.