Hong Kong’s Landmark mall features many vaunted upscale European tenants–Dior, Celine, Valentino and Tod’s–but for nearly two weeks this month, those luxury houses will have some rather curious neighbors.
They include Tai Ma Sauce Shop, a soy sauce company, Yuet Tung China Works, a porcelain maker, and Tung Cheong, a century-old fish maw vendor–all part of a Chinese New Year market which started on Wednesday. While they would seem strange bedfellows, Hong Kong retailers–lacking the huge crowds of Mainland Chinese shoppers–have been forced to refocus on a local customer base and get creative, with pop-ups a favored way to reignite spending.
One of the brands in the Landmark market, chosen because they represent the best of Hong Kong’s heritage–is shoemaker Sindart. Started in 1958 when Wong Wing began making embroidered shoes in a tiny shop, Sindart shoes became known for the detailed patterns of goldfish, phoenixes, and flowers on silk brocade, and gained a loyal following including some of the city’s silver screen stars.
Now it’s in the hands of granddaughter Miru who is modernizing the brand. Sindart’s signature slipper was made to be worn inside but she’s tweaked the designs to make them street-friendly.
“I’ve made flats and heels too,” she said, mentioning she takes in requests for monograms or custom designs. “My grandfather never did any tailor-made services but I’ve started doing that.”
Although the majority of her sales remains rooted in Chinese New Year and weddings business, she said opening up a Facebook page has helped attract tourists as well, “from Japan, Taiwan and also some from Canada or England.”
For now, she doesn’t see many Mainland Chinese come through her doors–although the Landmark market might help to change that.
“They don’t really like slippers,” she said.” They think traditional slippers are old fashioned and prefer some famous brands.”