HONG KONG GROUP PLANS DALLAS SHOWS
Byline: Holly Haber
DALLAS — To promote Hong Kong designers and ease fears about the Crown Colony’s takeover by China next year, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council will stage three fashion shows and a seminar here in June.
In addition, HKTDC will present business seminars in New York June 5 and in Los Angeles June 11 to encourage American businesses to use Hong Kong as a springboard to doing business in China and Southeast Asia.
Dallas was chosen as the only city where fashion will be shown because it has a strong distribution network for apparel and because the council intends to work closely with the International Apparel Mart here.
“This is the first chance for many of these designers to show in the U.S.,” said an HKTDC spokeswoman. “A lot of them have boutiques in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. We hope there will be some business done, and we hope to raise the visibility of Hong Kong apparel and awareness that Hong Kong is a center of fashion design.”
Events here will kick off June 6 with a black-tie dinner at the Fairmont Hotel featuring a runway show of top Hong Kong designers. The gala is intended as an image-building event that will be aimed at 500 people in Dallas and elsewhere in the Southwest, people who are Hong Kong’s top business and government contacts in the area.
The runway show will be broken into four scenes, beginning with young casualwear by Fang Bros. Knitters, Santa Fe Fur Co. and Walter Ma. The second group will feature executive dressing by Biba, Toppy and Flair Moda, and the third will highlight cocktail dresses by Allan Chiu, Barney Cheng, Doriano International Ltd. and Bright Generation Enterprises.
Eveningwear will conclude the presentation, including looks by Harrison Wong, who won the Young Designers’ Contest during Hong Kong Fashion Week in January, Conjurer Fashion Co., Doriano International and Benny Yeung.
Two other shows geared toward buyers will be staged June 8 at noon and 6 p.m. during market week in the International Apparel Mart. They will highlight lines represented at the Mart that are designed or manufactured in Hong Kong plus some styles that were shown at the gala. About 35 companies have already expressed interest in participating, the Mart said.
In addition, a day-long business seminar is scheduled for June 7 at the Fairmont Hotel. Anson Chan, chief secretary of Hong Kong, will be the keynote speaker along with prominent Hong Kong entrepreneurs, including Dr. Victor Fung, chairman of the HKTDC.
“We hope to provide a level of comfort about Hong Kong’s future that American business people can hear directly from the horse’s mouth,” the spokeswoman said.
Under the terms of China’s takeover of Hong Kong from Britain, she asserted, Hong Kong’s capitalist system will remain secure. “It’s one country, two systems,” she said.
“The region is getting stronger and stronger economically, and we’re trying to build Hong Kong as an international service base,” the spokeswoman pointed out. “We want to have American participation because it strengthens our base.”
Hong Kong’s gross domestic product has doubled since 1990, she noted, swelling from $71.3 billion in 1990 to $149 billion in 1995. During the same period, annual per capita income nearly doubled from $12,600 to $24,100.
Exports of apparel and accessories to the U.S., however, have shrunk slightly from $7.53 billion in 1992 to $7.3 billion last year, according to HKTDC. They attributed the decline to the weak apparel market.
In addition, many Hong Kong apparel firms have shifted a lot of production to mainland China, where they control 30,000 to 40,000 factories, the spokeswoman explained. Hong Kong firms increasingly are concentrating on the high value aspects of the business, such as design, instead of sewing.