Hong Kong is trying to change the perception that the city can manufacture only other people’s designs.
Clothing is the second-largest category of Hong Kong’s exports products, behind electronics—it made up 6% of total exports, at 171.4 billion Hong Kong dollars (US$22 billion), during the first 11 months of last year. And the 42-year-old Hong Kong Fashion Week, the oldest show operated by the government’s Hong Kong Trade Development Council, has been an important marketplace for Hong Kong and Asian manufacturers based in the city and elsewhere in Asia.
With inflation driving up manufacturing costs and factories moving to mainland China and the Pearl River Delta, Hong Kong is eager to climb up the fashion value chain. In line with the city-wide strategy to promote its “creative industries”—first stated in Tung Chee Hwa’s 2003 chief executive policy address—Hong Kong Fashion Week is shifting focus from its manufacturing roots to design, hoping to assert itself among other fairs in cities such as Tokyo and Shanghai as the premier fashion week in Asia.