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Style City In The Spotlight(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 10,2007)

Hong Kong Fashion Week (Spring / Summer)



The latest trends for the upcoming seasons stole the show at the recent Hong Kong Fashion Week for Spring/Summer

The largest fair of its kind in Asia and the second-biggest in the world inevitably attracts top-drawer exhibitors, and this year's Hong Kong Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2008 was no exception.

La Cora Creatives, Inc Sales and Marketing Division Manager Pinky Jacob was just one of the record 1,147 exhibitors from 19 countries and regions who thronged the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from July 10-13.

"We have been designing and manufacturing ladies' handbags and accessories for 30 years and have exclusively designed for high-end houses such as Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent," the Manila-based businesswoman said.

Some of La Cora's hottest items this season were classic mother-of-pearl clutch bags and also clutch bags in buntal (Philippine palm fibre) with cracked nautilus shells.

"The shells give it a special glamour at night," Ms Jacob claimed. "We are also launching the Oyster collection, which, as the name suggests, consists of handbags in the shape of an oyster."

She said La Cora was trying to retain the classic silhouette, because its evening bags were premium-priced and clients wanted to be able to use them for a long time.

"Adding very expensive-looking shells such as nautilus, abalone or mother-of-pearl gives classic appeal, so we always stick to basics and classic elegant lines," Ms Jacob said.

This was the first time La Cora had participated in Hong Kong Fashion Week and Ms Jacob was "very pleased" with the feedback she had received. "This show is good because it offers very good links for meeting Asian, Middle Eastern and European clients," she explained. "We're getting a lot of exposure to more countries, and gaining easy access to more buyers from all over the world."

Similarly focused on such key European markets as Italy, Greece, the Netherlands and Spain was Indkraft Exports Director-Sales Samir Jain, whose company has been manufacturing and exporting bags and scarves since 1925.

"Clutches are the hottest evening bags," claimed Mr Jain, who noted that trends are country-specific. "In Europe and the US, customers want mono-colour bags with big white stones for decoration while previously it was black bags with black stones."

His products were mostly made by hand, Mr Jain revealed. "Industry prospects are good but people are looking either for more high-end or very low-end products - there's no middle category now."

He said Hong Kong Fashion Week attracted visitors from all over the world, had good facilities and was convenient for overseas businessmen. "The turnout is good and its quality is also good," observed the "six or seven" times-participant.

Shanghai Landsea Int'l Trade Co Ltd Merchandiser Richard Fan was also impressed with the international business opportunities for the seven-year-old company's shirts, kidswear and men's beach shorts. "Beach shorts are among our hot items because there are beach-goers all over the world, and they all need beach shorts," he observed.

His company's beach shorts are made of comfortable microfibre sourced on the Chinese mainland. "Our monthly production capacity of beach shorts is 100,000 pairs," Mr Fan revealed, adding that Shanghai Landsea manufactures customers' designs.

Beach shorts are also the forte of Rabiul Islam, Senior Merchandiser at Samia Garments (Pvt) Ltd, which produces "all kinds" of shorts, trousers and fleece jackets.

"Beach shorts are one of our most popular product categories, and we have launched a new range of beach shorts of different designs this year, including one men's pair that is yellow with orange floral prints," Mr Islam said. "The floral print is currently a hot design and shorts in this range come in many different colours such as green, blue, black and red."

His company, which also makes ladies' shorts, had already received "many enquiries" from customers about its men's beach shorts and made a lot of sales.

Samia Garments has an office in Hong Kong, which sources fabrics from the mainland and Hong Kong for production in Bangladesh. "We participate in Hong Kong Fashion Week to expand our business," the two-time exhibitor said. "We have had enquiries from potential new buyers and will join again next year."