Few events are able to weather the changing business environment across decades, which makes it all the more remarkable that Hong Kong Fashion Week (HKFW) is celebrating its 50th edition this month in such good shape.
The HKFW Spring/Summer edition in September expanded beyond its home at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre into a two-month citywide campaign.
“We collaborated with over 100 partners, including fashion boutiques, fashion design institutes, restaurants and hotels to stage more than 90 fashion events, including exhibitions, workshops, fashion parades and dance performances, as well as promotions,” says Benjamin Chau, deputy executive director, Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), which has organised the fair since its inception.
The fair began in 1968 as a local fashion event and has evolved into the region’s largest fashion-sourcing platform—the 2017 edition welcomed some 1,400 exhibitors and 14,000 buyers representing 76 countries.
Changing with the times
Key to this growth has been evolving the format and offerings, adding new elements and responding to stakeholder needs. “The fashion industry is always lively and dynamic,” says Chau. “It is important to keep abreast of industry developments to strengthen the position of our fairs as the premier marketing and sourcing platform.
“To optimise visitors’ experience, we have continuously injected new elements such as introducing new product zones and events, and providing market updates,” he adds.
HKFW Fall/Winter 2017 featured more than 20 fashion activities staged during the four-day fair, including trend-forecasting seminars, buyer forums and a networking reception, as well as 13 fashion parades and presentations, providing the industry with abundant networking opportunities.
In 2012 it launched FASHIONALLY.com, an online networking platform for aspiring young designers, as well as Small-Order Zone, a response to buyers’ small-quantity sourcing needs with quick turnaround time. The next year this became a year-round platform.
Another year-round addition is the HKTDC Marketplace mobile app, which provides a customised sourcing service.
“This year, the HKTDC trade fair websites were revamped into a series of industry-sourcing portals, known as 'Exhibition Online', which allows buyers to continue their sourcing journey after visiting the physical fairs, offering them a greater range of products and services through engaging non-exhibiting suppliers,” says Chau.
“The initiative also enables suppliers to promote their products or services in various formats and receive year-round sourcing enquiries.”