The wealth of incredible fashion design talent in Asia is simply staggering, but you have to know where to look. That’s why savvy buyers are turning to CENTRESTAGE — Hong Kong’s premier fashion trade show — to discover the latest collections and unparalleled talent.
Since its launch three years ago, CENTRESTAGE has steadily garnered buzz and a solid reputation in the industry. The 2018 edition brought 230 fashion brands from 22 countries and regions and attracted 8,700 buyers from 80 countries and regions — a 2.4% growth over 2017. Among the exhibiting brands, 80% were from Asia, of which emerging Korean designer labels accounted for 30%. Those brands found the show an ideal platform for taking their first steps into the international market. This year’s show is expecting 240 brands to be on display.
CENTRESTAGE is divided into three thematic zones: METRO, for the streetwear and athleisure market; ICONIC, for contemporary brands and more avant-garde designers; and ALLURE, where the luxury market can be found, including everything from couture, bridal, evening wear, intimates, and high-end accessories like hand-made leather shoes.
But CENTRESTAGE is more than just a trade show. It is also a place where emerging designers are supported, and gain valuable experience. The Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers’ Contest (YDC) — organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council — has been nurturing local design talent for over four decades. Open to Hong Kong residents with training or experience in fashion design, it is considered a rite of passage for local designers who want to challenge themselves and gain exposure on the global stage.
Over the years, the YDC has evolved alongside Hong Kong’s garment and fashion industries, discovering talent such as Barney Cheng and Cecilia Yau, and becoming a launching pad for many up-and-coming designers, including 112 mountainyam, MODEMENT, and DEMO.
This past May, 16 finalists were shortlisted to compete for five prizes: Champion, First Runner-up, Second Runner-up, Best Footwear Design, and New Talent. The top three winners will be awarded internships or study-abroad trips sponsored by Hong Kong’s Sun Hing Knitting Factory Ltd., automotive marque MINI HK, and Tomorrow Showroom. Meanwhile, winners of the Best Footwear Design and the New Talent award will receive mentorships from i.t apparels Ltd. and JOYCE to develop capsule collections.
The finalists will be judged on five criteria — creativity and originality, market potential, workmanship, use of fabric, and overall visual appeal. This year’s esteemed panel of judges will include designer Mihara Yasuhiro. Notable past judges have included Martine Rose, Kenzō Takada, Vivienne Tam, Andreas Kronthaler, Martine Sitbon.
As if it weren’t apparent enough that CENTRESTAGE attracts international talent, with much anticipation is the CENTRESTAGE ELITES Opening Gala Show featuring Pre-Spring 2020 collections from top-notch designers Joseph Altuzarra of ALTUZARRA and Anais Mak of Anaïs Jourden. Every year, CENTRESTAGE ELITES honors hot rising designers with Asian roots.
Both the CENTRESTAGE ELITES designers and YDC judge Mihara Yasuhiro will take part in a seminar series sharing their industry know-how. The series will feature a number of talks organized to provide the latest market intelligence to visitors.
The HKTDC is also putting together an entire month packed with events, shows, and entertainment under the “Hong Kong in Fashion” umbrella. This wide-reaching partner program gathers boutiques, hotels, restaurants, and shopping malls to stage fashion-themed promotions across downtown Hong Kong – from alfresco catwalks and fashion-inspired afternoon tea sets or special menus, to flash mobs and DIY accessories workshops. The official event calendar will be released in August.
CENTRESTAGE will take place September 4 to 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. The handy tool facilitates registration to all the fairs organized by HKTDC and keeps buyer abreast of the latest industry news and fair information. Start planning your trip now. You won’t want to miss this!