As the presence of Chinese-based ready-to-wear brands during Paris Fashion Week is increasing, the Fashion Farm Foundation (FFF), a Hong Kong-based non-profit governmental project dedicated to the creative industries, once again put mostly Hong Kong-based designer talents in the spotlight, showcasing the creative potential of a new generation of Chinese designers in the City of Light.
Backstage at the FFF presentation in Paris. Photo by Amandine Hui Boissy for NOWFASHION.
For the seventh consecutive season, Edith Law is both a member of the FFF’s Board of Directors and of the Panel of Judges that just promoted 8 young brands from Hong Kong through a one-day showroom event. This time around, the panel of cherry-picked independent designer brands included Anaïs Jourden, CAR|2IE, Ffixxed Studios, Ka Wa Key, Sun=Sen, The World Is Your Oyster, Yeung Chin, and YLYstudio – all backed up, not only by FFF, but also sponsored by the Government of Hong Kong through the presence of Shirley Lam, the Social Representative to the European Union for Hong Kong’s economic and trade affairs.
“We are thankful that the government understands that our fashion industry must be not only promoted but cultivated over time,” stated Edith Law.
But what does it take as a designer to become one of the lucky few to receive FFF’s and the Hong Kong government’s full support during Paris Fashion Week? “Talent, first and foremost,” smiled Law. “And a business model that has a future. In other words, the brands that we decide to showcase in Paris have all proven themselves before: they’ve been on the market for 3 to 4 seasons already, they already have stockists, and they have had first press publications and editorials in magazines.”
FFIXXED Studios' Fall/Winter 2019 collection at the FFF presentation in Paris. Photo by Amandine Hui Boissy for NOWFASHION.
Needless to say, talent is not everything: in 2018, independent designer labels also need a solid knowledge in communication, sales, and marketing strategies if they wish to be supported and sponsored by a non-profit governmental funded project like FFF. In fact, Edith Law even explained that while FFF is certainly discovering new talents when possible, FFF would rather invest in young designers who have started to make their first successful footsteps into the fashion industry, rather than to bank on a talented but unexperienced newbie that has not proved economically viability yet. “Having said that, we’re still very open minded. If we are somehow mesmerized by a young and completely novice brand, we will put all our efforts in supporting the label and convincing each member of our project that it is worth it.”
And for what matters, FFF has a successful track record so far: the non-profit association, founded in 2012 by a group of enthusiastic fashion entrepreneurs in Hong Kong, is promoting Chinese fashion labels during Paris Fashion Week since the very beginning of its inception by serving as a gateway between young designers and the international fashion industry. The project, both the runway show that regularly took place in the past and the seasonal showroom presentation, debuted in 2013 under the initials HKFG (formerly known as Fashion Guerrilla) and is sponsored by CreateHK, a governmental agency set up under the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau whose main purpose is to invest, co-ordinate, and promote the development of creative industries in Hong Kong. But Hong Kong and Paris are not the only strategic targets.
The World Is Your Oyster's Fall/Winter 2019 collection at the FFF presentation in Paris. Photo by Amandine Hui Boissy for NOWFASHION.
“We are currently working on expanding the project in Belt and Road countries and are using this opportunity to explore and reach out to various countries in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. The global fashion world has its eye on Asian brands right now, so it’s a good opportunity for us to reach out,” explained Edith Law. “In April, we will send two out of the eight designers we’ve showcased in Paris to Dubai.” In other words, after Paris, the Dubai takeover is expected soon – and it sure will be promising.