HONG KONG — With the completion of its second edition here last month, The Hub trade show appears to be gaining traction as an important link for niche brands seeking to expand into the Asian market.
This year’s show, held Feb. 25 to 27 at the AsiaWorld-Expo, attracted 118 brands, up 20 percent from the inaugural show in August. Most labels were from Europe, but there was an increase in brands from Asia, especially China, looking for international exposure. In line with the last edition of the fair, about 3,000 people attended the event, organizers said.
Hub cofounder Richard Hobbs noted that there were more buyers from China this year.
“Our show is not about filling the aisles with people, it’s about business and having conversations,” he said.
Among the buyers was Ewing Cheng, who owns the men’s wear shop Delstore in Hong Kong. At the first show he discovered the European brand Swims and said the Norwegian shoes have proved popular in his two stores.
“We are very selective about what we choose, and each season we see something new we like here,” said Cheng.
He said he wasn’t surprised to see more Mainland buyers at the show. “It’s easy for Chinese buyers to visit, they don’t have a visa problem like with other countries. And they don’t have the import tax problem because in Hong Kong they can arrange some logistics to help them send the goods back to China,” he said.
British label Hancock exhibited at the first show in August and was among a number of brands that returned. “We were able to get some orders from Japan last time. We’ve shipped and delivered — it’s an ongoing relationship. And that’s what we’re here for — the longevity and seeing what comes out of that,” said Hancock representative Tony Magnetic.
Also back again this year was Spanish label Desigual. Headquartered in Barcelona, the label is expanding in Asia and has a base in Hong Kong and two major markets in the region, Japan and Singapore. “It’s been a good experience for us. Last time we caught the attention of the local Hong Kong audience, and it also brought people from other places, like China. It’s a good chance for exposure and increasing brand awareness,” said a Desigual spokeswoman.
A new layout with expanded space for seminars addressed the demand Hobbs and cofounder Peter Caplowe have seen for information and discussion about key industry issues from the need for multibrand retail in China to how to improve stores’ operating results.
Also new to the show was The Greenhouse, a stand-alone space within the fair dedicated to up-and-coming designers that attracted 27 new labels. Among them was Beijing’s Chi Zhang, who founded his men’s and women’s wear collections in 2009 and is known for experimenting with avant-garde concepts. His current collection features gas masks, a nod to the Chinese capital’s notorious air pollution.
“This is a chance for me to get more exposure. I already have some buzz in China,” the designer said. “I want to get known across Asia and beyond.”
Prerna Chainani-Monsen, founder of New York-based Maison Monsen, said The Greenhouse format made exhibiting her first collection a possibility. “As a young designer, committing to an entire booth, at least on my first foray, is a little daunting. This way I can sit among my peers in a department-store setup,” she said.
Fashion consultant and blogger Bénédicte Bro-Cassard attended the show on behalf of the Association of Brazilian Designers, which is eyeing the China market and considering participating in the next show.
“There’s not enough women’s ready-to-wear for me. Their forte is men’s wear, but we are 90 percent women’s wear,” said Bro-Cassard.
Many exhibitors said there was nothing that came close to The Hub in Asia. Australia-based Duncan Curnow, director at Sea Salt Life, was at the show representing five European brands and said word about the show was spreading fast.
“In Australia there is only one fashion show — Fashion Exposed — and it’s not hitting the right market; it’s not cool and international enough. I don’t think there’s anything which has really stood out in Asia, so The Hub has a lot of potential,” Curnow said.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews