Hong Kong CENTRESTAGE Young Fashion Designers’ Contest 2020, China

The Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers’ Contest (YDC) 2020 Final on 19 September. Fourteen promising local designers overcame the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic to showcase their creations at a special fashion show, competing for the five YDC awards being given out this year.

CENTRESTAGE, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), became virtual in 2020, with both the exhibition and fashion shows migrated to an online platform. Asia’s leading fashion event concluded on 19 September with the 2020 Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers’ Contest (YDC), broadcast live through the Internet.

The pandemic has undoubtedly caused disruption to business operations and people’s lives in general, but the HKTDC was determined to show its continued commitment to providing a flagship platform for young Hong Kong fashion talents to showcase their collections and share their stories. To succeed in the fashion industry requires resilience as much as it does creativity, all of this year’s contestants for exhibiting both qualities so well.

The designers’ creations was assessed by a panel of respected industry professionals, with internationally renowned fashion designer acting as VIP judge. As the finale of the annual CENTRESTAGE fashion showcase. Past YDC designers will make an appearance at the YDC contest, showcasing new and exclusive collections created in partnership.

The Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers’ Contest (YDC) see up-and-coming fashion talents shortlisted to compete for grand prizes as well as prestigious internships, study trips and mentorships with top brands. Champion Brian Chan received a monetary reward together with a one-month overseas internship sponsored by Fang Brothers Knitting Ltd.

The judges assessed the young designers’ works based on creativity, originality, market potential, craftsmanship, use of fabrics and overall aesthetics, offering expert feedback to each of the participants.

Champion: Brian Chan. Design: “Floating Mindset”
Mr Chan observed that there are very few clean beaches in Hong Kong, most being badly polluted with rubbish that is easily seen from ferries. As the fashion industry is responsible for much pollution due to washing and dyeing, he wanted to create a collection that promotes ocean conservation. His collection is visually inspired by floating debris, using only natural fibres such as cotton and wool. Irregular pockets, wave patterns and “disintegrating” patches are all motifs taken from the environment. The shapes are deliberately commercial to promote wearability, while handcrafted details such as embroidery, patchwork and tassels give the collection an edge.

Excellence Award & New Talent Award: Jacqueline Leung. Design: “The Blessed Kids”
Mothers and big sisters taking care of babies provided the inspiration for Ms Leung’s collection. The floral prints and tying of traditional baby carrier wraps are stylised to become design elements in a colourful collection that is both nostalgic and joyful. Digital prints, beading and quilting offer a visual feast of colours, shapes and textures, while windbreaker material and pastel green denim lend practicality and versatility. A hat, handbag and backpack inspired by the baby carrier complete the look.

Best Visual Presentation Award: Stephen Cheuk. Design: “Hyakki Yagyō”
The Japanese title of this collection means “night parade of a hundred demons”. These demons are thought to have been at war with people for many years, essentially as a way to show that they exist. Inspired by this idea, the collection aims to give voice to those marginalised in society such as ethnic minorities, the elderly and waste pickers. The materials are utilitarian like waxed fabric, and the clothes feature many pockets to store weapons and tools. Knits, fur and boiled wool are used to give a rich texture and convey the different characters of the “demons”. There is also a backpack that resembles a stretcher to reinforce a combative atmosphere.

My Favourite Collection Award: York Yip. Design: “Coexistence”
The idea for York’s collection comes from aliens coexisting on earth with humans. The designs combine 1980s’ retrowave music and UFO-inspired graphics and silhouettes. The exaggerated fluorescents – colours on the ultraviolet spectrum – and shapes again hark back to the 80s, with double-sided fabrics lending volume. Bold, girly yet sexy, the looks are complete with hand-drawn shoes that give the illusion of rising into the sky.

The judging panel for this year’s YDC was made up of an impressive roster of fashion experts and media pundits. Chief Judge was Katherine Fang, Chairman of the HKTDC Garment Advisory Committee. The other judges on the panel were fashion designer Anais Mak; Michael Mok, General Merchandising Manager/Head of Merchandising at JOYCE; Jonathan Lee, Senior Area Manager (Asia) of Tomorrow Ltd; Kieran Ho, Senior Vice President-Hong Kong, Purple PR; stylist and art director Declan Chan; and Jason Lam, Head of Brand, Asia Pacific at MATCHESFASHION.

The My Favourite Collection Award was newly added this year, with members of the public voting online between 12 August and 18 September for their favourite new design star in Hong Kong. Members of the public can vote for their favourite collection among the YDC finalists to win a HK$2,000 e-Gift Coupon sponsored by Hysan Place.

Hong Kong CENTRESTAGE 2020
CENTRESTAGE is Asia’s premier fashion event, offering a promotion platform for fashion brands and designers to showcase their talent. Events such fashion shows, designer sharing sessions, open talks, trend analyses and networking opportunities, with the objective of connecting local brands with the global fashion industry.

The Hong Kong CENTRESTAGE showcase of high-calibre local and overseas fashion talents, and exciting, engaging events was held during the show period. CENTRESTAGE virtual runway 2020 shows premiere from September 17 to 19. Combining traditional fashion shows with computer-generated imagery, these unique runway shows feature the latest collections from more than 40 Hong Kong and Asian designers.

Entering its fifth year, CENTRESTAGE presents “A World of PHYGITAL” as its central theme in 2020. In view of the uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, CENTRESTAGE has set out to redefine the way fashion shows are presented by combining physical and digital elements. It has created a fashion extravaganza that enables brands to overcome geographical and time limitations to showcase their latest designs to buyers and fashionistas.

Despite the disruptions brought by the pandemic, the fashion industry is still forging ahead. In response to the current situation, CENTRESTAGE has successfully transformed into a digital fashion platform with a series of virtual runway shows, showcasing the latest collections from Hong Kong and Asian brands to fashion lovers and media from around the world. Designers overcoming challenges by coming up with creative responses to the ‘new normal’, launching their collections on the HKTDC’s online platform to gain exposure and expand their networks.

Hong Kong in Fashion gives people throughout the city the chance to experience the power of fashion and the creative spark that underpins it, bringing life and colour to Hong Kong and further enhancing the city’s status as Asia’s fashion capital.

Till 5 October, the public can appreciate the skills shown in the winning YDC 2020 collections through a display at Hysan Place in Causeway Bay. On Saturday, 26, all the winning designers was at Hysan Place to share their design experience and competition insights, while various fashion items designed by Hong Kong designers are available for sale at the YDC Collective Popup Store, also at Hysan Place.

Established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body dedicated to creating opportunities for Hong Kong’s businesses. With more than 40 offices globally, including 13 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China, Asia and the world. With 50 years of experience, the HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to provide companies, particularly SMEs, with business opportunities on the mainland and in international markets, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and digital channels including the media room.