CENTRESTAGE Hong Kong Hailed a Success as it Concluded its Eight Edition Earlier This Month

21 Sep 2023

Thousands including Hong Kong celebrities, international trade and press, and fashion lovers attended Asia’s premier fashion event.

Even the heaviest rainfall in over 100 years, which temporarily suspended the fair, couldn’t slow them down, as Asia’s premier fashion event CENTRESTAGE welcomed over 7,700 buyers from 78 countries and regions over the 4-day event. The eighth edition of the established trade show, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) with support from Create Hong Kong, successfully concluded on 9 September 2023, with 60% of survey respondents anticipating growth in sales within the next 2 years.

Joining CENTRESTAGE opening ceremony are (from left) Shirley Chan, Council Member, HKTDC; Wilson Choi, Hong Kong designer and Founder of REDEMPTIVE; Margaret Fong, Executive Director, HKTDC; Kevin Yeung, Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Government of the HKSAR; Dr Peter K N Lam, Chairman, HKTDC; Katherine Fang, Chairman, HKTDC Garment Advisory Committee 2023/2024; Emi Funayama, Japanese designer and Founder of FETICO; and Sunny Tan, Member of the Legislative Council of the HKSAR.

There was notable international participation, with a significant increase in numbers from the Middle East, Mainland China and ASEAN countries. “CENTRESTAGE brought together fashion brands from all over the world and serves as an important platform for promotion, trade and exchange in Asia,” affirmed HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Sophia Chong. “We actively invited local and overseas buyers to visit the show, including well-known retailers and buyers from France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Indonesia, and more. Our goal is to assist local brands in entering the international market and expand their business footprint. CENTRESTAGE stays closely attuned to global trends and, in this year’s fair, has infused a substantial amount of digital fashion and sustainable development elements. We also provided valuable platforms for fostering the exchange of ideas, joining forces with the industry to drive innovation.”

The exhibition featured multiple fashion shows and events, including CENTRESTAGE ELITES and the Fashion Hong Kong Runway Show. Multiple brands showcased their latest collections on stage. (Cecilia Yeung – wearing REDEMPTIVE outfit)

Indeed, as the pandemic catalysed businesses to move to online channels, 36% of the 350 exhibitors and buyers surveyed on-site named Sourcing, its official online marketplace, their top online trading platform used in the past six months. The success stories continue offline, as 85% of respondents named Hong Kong as their top choice for physical trade fairs. Returning brands like Hong Kong sportswear label ARTY:ACTIVE continued to find success reaching international markets through the fair. “We are pleased to share that among the buyers we met at the fair, eight buyers from Thailand, Korea, Cambodia and Vietnam are planning to place orders, resulting in a total business value reaching seven-digit Hong Kong dollars,” expressed founder Gary Tsang.

Various local fashion brands staged catwalks runway shows during CENTRESTAGE, including KOWLOON CITY BOY, Rickky Wong and Whatever Next.

His designs, which use 100% recycled fibre, reflect the industry-wide sentiment of the importance of sustainability in fashion, with 74% of respondents in agreement. The exhibition programme of over 30 fashion shows and events also included seminars on ‘Driving a Sustainable Future’, as well as exhibitors like Redress Hong Kong, an environmental NGO working to reduce waste in the fashion industry, and Knitup, a tech-driven corporate venture dedicated to minimising overproduction.

The Hong Kong Kids Fashion Show featured a collection of internationally renowned brands.

All in all, it was a resounding success that exceeded expectations according to attendees like Liu Xinyi, Chongqing’s S.N.D Ltd. Head of Buying. “In the past, we primarily focused on attending fashion weeks in Paris, Milan and Shanghai,” she remarked. “This year marked my first time participating in CENTRESTAGE, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover a multitude of emerging design talents. The works of the students were incredibly stunning and mature. Additionally, I had the opportunity to meet with eight designers from Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea through business matchmaking meetings. I plan to further follow up with four of them, as it opens up new partnership opportunities for us.”

The fair was open to the industry and public with free admission, offering a variety of experiences, including a Digital Fashion Interactive Zone that highlights a variety of fashion garments.