For discerning fashion lovers, the Liberation building on rue Béranger was a must-see during Paris Fashion Week. Here, independent designers from Hong Kong were given carte blanche to transform the multi-story building with shows, presentations and installations as part of the international HKFG program, with support from the Fashion Farm Foundation (FFF). After that, guests could sip cocktails on the rooftop, taking in one of the best views in the city while taking in the Parisian sunset.
And while Paris has managed to make the most of their return to a physical calendar, it clearly wasn’t business for everyone this season. The first international FFF event since the pandemic is back, albeit a little more sober: a two-day “phydigital” showroom featuring three brands in the chic Hôtel National des Arts et Métiers. At the same time, the online shows were opened to the public, providing audiences around the world with a “translocal digital fashion performance experience” and a revolutionary new partnership with luxury e-merchant, LN-CC.
With designers sadly off-site, FFF offered a curated slice of the PabePabe, PONDER.ER and VANN brand DNA in their absence through videos and artifacts. Here, Daily Jing reports on Hong Kong’s new talent showcase as it accelerates digital connections.
“After the pandemic, everyone in fashion has changed and even for a physical show there are now formats and possibilities,” said Tianyo Mayao, director of the FFF, adding that brands must now be “open. to this new approach to reach both sectors “. and consumers.
Through the FFF, he commissioned campaign videos specifically targeting the Paris Fashion Week market to overcome the absence of each brand while conveying a specific message. For the gender fluid label, PONDER.ER, it was a welcome return to the city. “We haven’t been back since our launch, so it’s been absolutely difficult to connect with buyers, the media and people in the industry, especially since we’re very new. You have to see our textiles in person to understand the development and craftsmanship, so it has been difficult, ”said co-founder Derek Cheng.
Also through this selection, albeit small, of paradoxical looks on display at the Hôtel National des Arts et Métiers, a sense of the layered world of PONDER.ER is quickly evident. “We design for men but mainly sell to women,” he added. – and even more looks would have amplified the complex tension of the collection.
Next to them, the duo PabePabe has physicality at the heart of its concept; this PFW experience was a way for co-designer Logan Chan to balance his love of in-person communication with the breath and immediacy of the virtual world. “Our brand gets a lot more exposure in a short time [here] So I try to balance this fact by preferring face to face contact.
In June 2021, the whimsical accessories brand opened a standalone space in central Hong Kong where it sells palms, a piano bag and luxury fast food platters. “The pandemic has lowered the rent here a lot, so it was a good opportunity to rent space for our own brand which we run as a gallery store. At the same time, we organize exhibitions for other brands, which was our starting point, ”Chan continued.
Having a space to present amidst the pulsating heartbeat of Fashion Week was one way to replicate that tactile connection on the other side of the world. But, at such a lean time, can new labels like PabePabe’s with humorous offerings translate to global buyers? This challenge is mitigated, as Maymo pointed out, by the moving image: “This season, the presentation of the video helps buyers visualize [the product]. “
This concept is not new, but the growing interest in online applications and video since 2020 attests to the ability of video to compensate or at least temporarily supplement the “practical” touch and also to convey the personality of. the brand ; with vibrant visuals conceptualized around a game show, the PabePabe campaign is a case in point.
Indeed, a hybridization model should cement its sustainability as the recovery from the pandemic accelerates. According to the State of Fashion 2021, 89% of fashion executives expect a hybrid working model to be part of the new normal, and FFF’s shift in gear included a pioneering partnership with the progressive platform. of London LN-CC to launch these collections at PFW. .
The opportunity to promote itself to a wider audience and to be representative of new talent in the region was a key facet of the partnership for the niche jewelry brand Vann. “Before, we could only show our collection to buyers and industry insiders. Thanks to this, we can directly reach new potential customers, ”said Vann Kwok. Daily Jing instantly which changes the situation.
“For us, it’s about finding new talent and giving them a platform,” said Reece Crisp, chief purchasing and creative officer at LN-CC of the collaboration. “Each brand has a point of view that matches the direction in which we take our edit. Every designer questions any preconceived perception of what HK style is and can be.
For so long, all eyes have been on the rich tapestry of emerging designers from the continent, but they still struggle to attract international retailers. Now, with a strong customer base in major capitals, LN-CC offers Hong Kong’s PabePabe, PONDER.ER and VANN a captivated global audience, as well as a diverse new customer base ready for something new. Let’s see what the next season brings.