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SCMP: Fashion Faux Pas: Why Hong Kong Designer Struggle To Make a Global Impact

BY SARAH KARACS

Despite the government investing huge sums and the undoubted creative talent in the city, questions remain about the best way to develop the industry

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Some designers, including Douglas Young of Goods Of Desire – a local, well established fashion and lifestyle brand – complain that competition from multinationals opening stores in Hong Kong drives down business for Hongkongers.

Young believes that an overly globalist mindset in which Hongkongers favour Western brands over home-grown products impinge on efforts by designers already struck by rising rents.

“It’s been really tough for local brands. I wish we had more support from locals,” Young, speaking at one of his shops at PMQ, says. “Hongkongers are not very supportive of things that are local. I think it’s rather peculiar. As a former colony, we tend to think of foreign things being better.”

With a mandate to infuse his products with Hong Kong culture, Young expresses dismay that the city has not managed to export more cultural products. He says that what inspires his designs is a desire to explain Hong Kong to Westerners, who he says have an antiquated view of the city peppered by images of rickshaws and junk boats.

But amid the challenges facing Hong Kong’s fashion world, one things its designers and proponents can agree on is that the city is not short of creativity, inspiration and grit.

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