Nearly 60% of Fashion Traders Expect Steady Sales in 2019: Survey
The 2018 edition of Asia’s premier fashion event, CENTRESTAGE, drew to a successful close. The four-day event (5-8 Sept), organised by the HKTDC, brought to Hong Kong 230 fashion brands from 22 countries and regions, attracting 8,700 buyers from 80 countries and regions, up 2.4% over last year. Those from Canada, France, Germany, India, Korea, Russia, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates increased significantly. Buyers from Asia accounted for 35% of the total.
“We’re pleased to note that CENTRESTAGE has become a premier event for the Asian fashion industry, offering regional fashion brands and designers a platform to promote and launch their collections. In its third edition, this year’s CENTRESTAGE attracted many global brands and buyers to participate. An increased number of overseas buyers came looking for business opportunities and talents, which solidified Hong Kong’s position as Asia’s fashion capital,” said HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Benjamin Chau.
Fashion Industry Optimistic on Sales
The HKTDC commissioned an independent research agency to conduct on-site survey during this year’s event to gauge the outlook for the fashion industry and product trends. Interviewing more than 300 exhibitors and buyers, the survey found that the industry is cautiously optimistic about sales in the coming year. Nearly 60% of the respondents expect overall sales to remain steady, and about 30% expect growth. While about half of respondents expect increases in sourcing prices or production costs, almost 60% of the respondents said they will not raise unit or retail prices, reflecting a general tendency of the industry’s hesitance in transferring increased costs to customers.
The survey results also showed that over 70% of the respondents are optimistic about the potential of the mainland fashion market, which is seen having good growth prospects. On upcoming fashion trends, about 60% of respondents expect casual wear and urban fashion to be the most popular product categories, followed by fashion accessories and high fashion/occasional wear. For e-commerce, women’s wear is anticipated to be the most popular product category going forward, followed by fashion jewellery and bags. Nearly 50% of the respondents believe that brand crossover combined with joint promotion is the most common product development strategy. Approximately 30% of respondents agreed that celebrities’ or key opinion leaders’ endorsement is also an effective strategy.
Exploring Future Fashion Trends
CENTRESTAGE 2018 centred on the theme of “TOMORROW LAB”, with three thematic zones showcasing 230 brands. The event also presented about 40 activities over its four-day run, including more than 20 fashion shows. Brands and designers had the opportunity to connect with buyers, media and fashion professionals during these activities.
Japanese avant-garde streetwear label FACETASM, Hong Kong ready-to-wear womenswear label IDISM, and Chinese luxury womenswear label Ms MIN presented their latest 2019 Spring/Summer collections at the opening gala show CENTRESTAGE ELITES, attracting over 1,000 guests. At the FASHIONALLY Collection #12 and FASHIONALLY Presentation shows, 13 budding local designer brands paraded their 2019 Spring/Summer collections. CENTRESTAGE 2018 also introduced the latest collections by renowned Hong Kong brands including DORIAN HO, ARTISTIC PALACE, HARRISON WONG, HOUSE OF V, and LOOM LOOP.
Furthermore, CENTRESTAGE provided market insights through the Trend Talk Series and Meet the Visionaries Series of seminars featuring distinguished industry experts. These included Anupreet Bhui, Senior Editor of Global Street Style at trend forecasting agency WGSN, who explored upcoming fashion trends and the influence of streetwear among Generation Z. Euromonitor International’s Head of Fashion Research Jorge Martin examined Asia-Pacific as the key growth engine for global fashion expenditure.
CENTRESTAGE: Ideal Launch and Promotion Platform
Designers and key fashion industry players found their CENTRESTAGE 2018 participation fruitful. Mitsuo Nakahashi, Fashion Merchandising Director at Barneys Japan, discovered several new designer brands that could be potential partners, including a brand showcased by first-time Hong Kong exhibitor nano-secc showroom. Barneys Japan has decided to carry some of these brands in Japan, and looks forward to exploring collaboration in carrying these brands at its six Barneys New York flagship stores across Japan and developing new collections.
Hong Kong brand LOOM LOOP, which has participated in CENTRESTAGE since its inaugural edition, received an order from US retailer 3NY on the first day of the event this year, after securing a deal with a mainland multi-brand store at CENTRESTAGE 2017. Polly Ho, designer of LOOM LOOP, noted that CENTRESTAGE is now a key annual event in the regional fashion calendar, especially as it is strategically timed with the start of the buying season, providing buyers and VIP customers with an exclusive preview of designers’ upcoming collections.