Report from Hong Kong: six 2012 winners exhibit at Interstoff Asia Essential
6 October 2012 by TexSelect in Sponsors, Judges & Champions
The six Texprint 2012 prizewinners have just returned from a highly successful visit to Hong Kong, where they showed at Interstoff Asia Essential, 3-5 October. Their visit was made possible through the sponsorship of Messe Frankfurt (HK) and the generous contribution of the Drapers’ Company and the Worshipful Company of Weavers, who gave a one-off donation to build on the momentum of the GREAT creativity week (November 5-9 2012).
Texprint has been sponsored to showcase six prizewinners each year at Interstoff Asia Essential since 2001. Wendy Wen, Director of Trade Fairs for Messe Frankfurt, said that design “is becoming more and more important for trade fairs, with designers playing a major role in exhibitions. Texprint has been positioned near the Trend Forum for many years – trend stories plus unique and innovative designers has been key for this Hong Kong show, where visitors are particularly interested in trends and original design”.
Wendy Wen meeting designers Manri Kishimoto and Sophie Manners
Kate Strutt, Senior Trade Advisor, British Consul-General, visited on the setting up day and spoke to each of the designers about their expectations. Although they had not visited Hong Kong before she found them all very professional in talking about their work – having enjoyed the experience of showcasing their work to buyers and press two weeks before at Indigo, Paris – and open to opportunities that might arise.
Eager to find out more about the market and the major brands and retailers there, the Texprint group spent a day exploring the key retail hubs on HK Island and Kowloon.
They also visited the amazing Lane Crawford head office at Wong Chuk Hang for an invaluable mentoring session with Sarah Rutson, fashion director of Lane Crawford, and Ross Urwin, creative director for home & lifestyle at Lane Crawford. And back at Interstoff Asia Essential they met with Angelia Teo, content director WGSN Asia Pacific, and representatives of The Woolmark Company (both Foundation Sponsors of Texprint).
During the exhibition the designers made many very useful contacts – they found that they were meeting people who could actually produce their designs, helping them to appreciate that they are now professionals with skills understood and wanted by the marketplace. Although they had all sold designs in Paris, the conversations they had in Hong Kong made it all the more real.
Weaver Sophie Manners noted that “at Interstoff Asia Essential the buyers seem to like a strong idea that they can then adapt and commercialise. Buyers here see the designs as a starting point, while in Paris at PV it was more about using the designs in a more literal way, here you have discussions about adapting for production”.
“I have seen a wide range of companies, from those producing for Italian brands to Russian and Hong Kong based companies,” said knitter Carlo Volpi.
Tanya Grace Knuckey, a multi-media designer, said she had also had a very good show, and that “people understood my work more than in Paris – here they like what you do and want to take it into products immediately, as opposed to expecting you to adapt and change your designs completely”.
Ying Wu, print designer, and Manri Kishimoto, print and multi-media designer, agreed: “Here they seem more interested in production rather than buying designs – they want to use the design straightaway, whereas in Paris they want you to develop the idea. It was good to see the Hong Kong market, with visitors China of course, but also from Russia and Australia.”
“It has been a really good experience, learning that British-trained designers have a very good reputation for creativity, and seeing the appreciation of original design here. Being in Hong Kong has been fantastic!” said knitter Sarah Burton, summing up what was undoubtedly an exceptional experience for these young designers to enjoy so early in their careers.