Made in Hong Kong

Tseng Kwong Chi, East Meets West

That once ubiquitous phrase, most commonly seen branded into the small of Barbie’s back or stamped onto the hooves of My Little Ponies, is making a come-back. But don’t go stripping Barbie to her skivvies: we’re not talking about a revival of Hong Kong’s past as a low-cost manufacturer and import-export hub. Homegrown labels are winning attention from the city’s fashion scene, and international fashion personalities are choosing to build their roost and grow their brands in Hong Kong.

Need proof of Hong Kong’s ascendancy? Local kids are making it overseas: Makin Jan Ma makes fashion, films and recently put together a collection for Topshop. Other designers are bringing their international experience home: brother and sister Jing and Kay Wong of Daydream Nation are selling around the world, in Urban Outfitters and designed jewellery for Peter Jensen’s S/S ’10 collection. And you don’t have to be a born-and-raised HKer to be part of this creative surge: Collin Thompson of CIPHER was inspired by local street fashion and set up (successful) shop in HK.

And local figures are style inspirations internationally. Quentin Tarantino has made no bones of his adoration for director Wong Kar Wai’s Chungking Express, cinematographer Christopher Doyle is now making films with Jim Jarmusch and Colin Farrell, and Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte said of actress Maggie Cheung, ” She is as amazing as the mythical place we were inhabiting for the week.”

Cheung served as inspiration and muse for Rodarte’s collaboration with Joyce (which benefited UNICEF), and local photographer Wing Shya created this short film to highlight the collaboration. Rodarte’s design talents are beautifully clear, but Joyce, Maggie Cheung and Wing Shya are Hong Kong forces with international appeal.