fashion designers—Hong Kong

fashion designers—Hong Kong
Although Hong Kong has been renowned for its Western-style tailoring since it came under British rule in 1841, it was not until the 1960s that it began to promote itself as an international fashion centre. Since the 1980s, local fashion designers have begun to make their names on the international stage.
Peter Lau (b. 1955), a graduate of textile technology at the Hong Kong Polytechnic, began working for clothing manufacturers in the mid 1970s. His own business was established in 1982; it now offers a label for special occasion wear, ‘XCVIII Ninety-Eight’, and a label for teenagers, ‘China Doll’. Rebellious and anti-establishment, Wan was wary of the return to Chinese rule and this was reflected in his Autumn/Winter 97–8 collection, ‘A Winter under the Red Flag’, which saw bound and blindfolded models sporting short PRC flag-inspired outfits. Like many others, Lau has attempted to update the cheongsam (see qipao, cheongsam) with see-through materials and slits as high as the bustline.
William Tang (b. 1959) studied economics in Canada and fashion design at the London College of Fashion before returning to Hong Kong where he is also a television presenter/journalist. After working for international labels, he established his own company in 1985 offering ‘William Tang’, ‘W by William Tang’ and a teenage unisex label, ‘W10'. Despite undertaking corporate-image design for Dragon Air and the new Hong Kong airport, he has earned the reputation of enfant terrible. He criticized as ‘dated’ the dress sense of Jiang Zemin’s wife and was accused of promoting ‘heroin chic’ after his models came accessorized with syringes. Aspects of modern culture, such as consumerism and the graffiti of Tsang Tso-choi, make frequent appearances in his designs.
Pacino Wan (b. 1964), a 1987 graduate of Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s Swire School of Design, initially worked for local garment manufacturers and exporters before founding She & He Ltd in 1992. Designing under the labels ‘Pacino Wan’, ‘Idees Et Silky’ and ‘Pacino La Grande Aventure Du Jean’, he has become very much associated with women’s street fashion. His 1996 show ‘Say Goodbye to the Queen’ made international headlines as models paraded down the catwalk with images of Queen Elizabeth II and the Queen Mother emblazoned on shift dresses. His humour has also focused on the trend to consumerism with quirky dresses made from instant noodle packages and pink rubber gloves.
There are several other notable up-and-coming designers. Ruby Li, a 1994 graduate of fashion design at the School of Design at Hong Kong Polytechnic, has developed her own line ‘Ruby Li’ that concentrates on combining unisex street clothing with tailored elegance. Grace Choi, 1995 winner of the Knitwear Group Prize at the Young Designers’ Contest, owns a Hong Kong boutique that offers the labels ‘Grace Choi’ for custom-made and evening wear and ‘Garex Ison’ for executive-style knitwear and woven garments. Tommy Tsoi established the Kitterick Company Ltd in 1992, which is aimed at fashion-conscious young consumers. Teacher and designer Charmaine Leung has helped to promote the fashionability of the cheongsam among young women by combining this traditional style with street clothing such as trainers.
Roberts, Claire (1997). Evolution and Revolution: Chinese Dress 1700s-1990s. Sydney: Powerhouse Publishing, 90–5.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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