Hong Kong is an island off the coast of China’s south and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and the South China Sea…which creates the world famous skyline…a modern day city surrounded by a beautiful harbor. Seems so massive in size but actually Hong Kong is only about 1,104 sq km (426 sq mi) and with a population of 7 million people, it’s one of the most densely populated areas in the world. With a so many people living in such a small area…there is bound to be a mesh of styles…and we see this so clearly in the street fashion. The young people of Hong Kong dress very uniquely…a little bit of fearlessness, a little polished, kind of funky, add some softness and always, always keep it creative. This is a truly interesting and fun blend of art, fashion and youth.
Of course, like all places, Hong Kong has several layers and it wouldn’t be fair for us to discuss the groundbreaking fashion without also including the elegance, sophistication and glamour of the older generation. This island was under British ruling since 1842 until 1997…so there is a very delicate blend of British customs and ancient Chinese traditions. This led to the common quote of Hong Kong being the place where “East meets West”. It’s a modernized city filled with exquisite history, beautiful old architecture and deep rooted beliefs and customs. And because there is such uniqueness to this city, we thought…we can’t tell you what to pack to go there…but we definitely can tell you our picks of what to bring with you back home. In Hong Kong you will find things that are unique to this city, to the vibe and to the way of life…so bring an empty suitcase and let’s guide you along as we tell you what you must not leave this city without…
A piece of clothing from up and coming designer Singchin Lo (PLOTZ). An engineer turned fashion designer will always leave us wanting to see just how his creative visions will carry…and we think that his works are fun, fresh and true to his background of engineering…fluid yet structured. We also really loved the styling…nothing is perfectly matched yet everything looks like it goes together perfectly. Now that’s what we call a balancing act.
Next up we have the power couple of Wong Ching Ching and her husband, Chu Kin Yip…together they took their knowledge of design, visual merchandising and textiles to create the very chic CCCHU label. They produce clothing and cutting edge accessories like necklaces and bracelets with funk. Pick up anything from this label and you’ll be the envy of all your creative friends. We loved seeing their “As a Human Being on Earth” collection (S/S 2012). It was interesting, graceful and cutting edge. But the best part was that 90% of this collection was made using organic materials, organic cotton & linens, recycled PET, hemp and Indian silk…talk about being eco-chic!
Proving our point that Hong Kong is a mesh of different cultures and styles is the label Tangram. It is owned and run by a Colombian fashion designer, Paola Sinisterra, and her Spanish husband, Ignacio Garcio, an architect. But despite their latin roots, Tangram is a label that is designed and produced in Hong Kong. The look and feel is soft, polished and relaxed…in a super chic way. It may not be as adventurous as the other labels, but it certainly is pretty.
Lastly we head to the world-renowned Vivienne Tam. She has a very interesting background. Today she is based in New York, but she grew up in Hong Kong and attended Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her inspiration comes from her Chinese heritage, its culture and design, but also from her modern viewpoint. Her shops are all over the world but we think you simply can’t miss her store in Hong Kong. She describes her collections as such “When you look at my forms, they’re Western but the embroidery and the trims are traditional, based in history. Combine the two and it becomes a new thing”. We agree that she is an original. Her designs contain a feminine mystique of Asia with the spirit of the modern world.
We think picking up a piece or two or ten from any of these designers would be the best souvenir…your closet will thank you later. It’s always great to see interpretations of color, styles and fashion from all over the world…and we think that Hong Kong’s vision is unique…but if picking up something from a store isn’t your thing…make sure you check out Hong Kong’s market places for exquisite textiles, handmade accessories and beautiful jewelry.
Okay Ladies…these marketplaces are no joke. You will have a complete sensory overload when you first arrive but it will be worth it…trust us. The market offers everything from silks to pearls to the most random toys we’ve ever seen. It’s a place that is crowded, loud and very colorful. So don’t feel intimidated. Walk right in there, stop and look at all there is and be ready to put on your best negotiation face on because these sellers are all about negotiation. You may be thinking “shopping at an open air market hardly sounds chic” but keep in mind that almost everything we can think of today is made in China…yes, even those super luxury items…so keep your eyes open and you may end up with some superior quality items for clearance pricing. One of the most visited markets is Mongkok Ladies Market (Tung Choi Street).
Another one we recommend is the Stanley Market on the sunny side of the island of Hong Kong. Here you will have a beautiful farmer’s market along with all the other things you’d expect to see at a market…and we love the restaurants around this area. It’s very cute, historical and fun.
Well Ladies, we think that Hong Kong is a place filled with beauty, energy, history, culture and cutting edge views. It’s truly the pearl of the Orient. We think this is a place that gets better with every visit so get ready to book your ticket, bring you empty bag and come back with a little bit of all the amazing things that Hong Kong has to offer.
Lastly, here are some other options for you to check out when visiting Hong Kong:
1) Nan Lian Garden: Buddhist monastery, gorgeous Tang dynasty architecture, a peaceful oasis, beautiful flowers & water features.
2) Aqua Spirit: breathtaking views, very trendy, extremely expensive but with all the money you saved at the markets…go ahead and splurge, the view alone is worth it
3) Hong Kong Museum of History: learn about the fascinating history that makes up this island, see ancient artifacts and follow the timeline that begins 400 million years ago,
Till next time…