LONDON — The British Fashion Council has been strengthening its ties with Hong Kong and China, including a new partnership with VIP.com, one of China’s top e-commerce platforms, and one with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.
As part of the tie-in, VIP.com will become an official London Fashion Week sponsor and work with London-based brands throughout the year to help them enter the Chinese market.
The company also plans to host fashion shows that will be live-streamed in China and a variety of exhibitions, which will enable its customers to engage with these new labels.
Jenny Jioe, managing director of fashion at VIP.com, said that this partnership makes sense for the company given Chinese consumers’ increasing appetite for new brands.
“The fashion market in China is extraordinarily sophisticated and fast-paced, and hungry for new design talent,” said Jioe. “Our consumer is aware of London’s creative pedigree, and ready for both news and product. I know from firsthand experience that the brands in London, with all their energy and unbridled creativity, are precisely what we are looking for.”
Caroline Rush, chief executive at the BFC, added that the partnership will help emerging labels gain visibility in the market, despite their lack of advertising power.
This is the latest in a series of partnerships between the BFC and China.
Last year, JD.com became the latest partner of the BFC/Vogue Fund award, working with British designers taking part in the program to help them enter the Chinese retail market, at a time when Chinese consumers are losing interest in big brands and logos and developing a stronger appetite for emerging labels and British fashion.
The BFC is also working alongside the Hong Kong Trade Development Council to host a presentation during London Fashion Week, with the aim of highlighting local design talent.
The brands Heaven Please+, House of V, Methodology and Maison Vermillion were handpicked by the BFC to participate in the event, part of an ongoing initiative by the HKTDC to give international exposure to Hong Kong-based designers and brands.
This is the first time the showcase will take place in London, having previously traveled to New York, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore.
“London presents the opportunity not only for business, but also for the exchange of creative ideas, knowledge and information, which in return creates positive innovations for the global fashion industry,” said Rebecca Tse, senior product promotion manager at the HKTDC, adding that the organization worked alongside the BFC to pick four brands that offer a good representation of the talent Hong Kong has to offer and have the potential to grow on a global scale.
Methodology, by Glori Tsui, is best known for its upcycled leather accessories; Maison Vermillion, by Central Saint Martins alumni Dora Chu, offers ready-to-wear that fuses Eastern and Western influences; Heaven Please+, by former Marie Claire editor Yi Chan and Kent & Curwen designer Lary Cheung, stands out for its graphic prints, while House of V focuses on tailoring and architectural silhouettes.
“Our designers are hoping to connect with global buyers and potential partners on this international stage,” added Tse, explaining that even though the brands already have a significant following at home turf, finding an international platform to showcase their work can be a challenge, particularly without the right resources and guidance.
“This is what leads us to the development of the Fashion Hong Kong initiative, with a vision to connect and promote our designers through participation in world-international fashion weeks and relevant campaigns.”
The initiative also aims to highlight the diverse nature of Hong Kong’s fashion scene: “Taking the forthcoming London Fashion Week as an example, our designers will be presenting collections with inspirations as diverse as Polish-American architecture to traditional Chinese paper-cutting techniques,” said Tse.
The event, which will include a presentation and a cocktail reception, will take place on Friday, the first day of London Fashion Week.