Tremendous Opportunities Seen in Fashion E-tailing

HONG KONG — The 48th edition of Hong Kong Fashion Week for Fall/Winter ended today at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The four-day fashion fair (16 to 19 January), organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), welcomed some 15,000 buyers from 77 countries and regions.

Watch our fair video here

HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Benjamin Chau noted that the fashion industry is facing immense challenges amidst economic and political uncertainties and lacklustre retail sales. “In spite of that, Hong Kong companies are versatile and with e-commerce developing steadily, companies can capture the opportunities to turn the situation around. At this year’s Fashion Week for Fall/Winter, buyer numbers from Italy, Iran, Germany and Israel saw good growth. This shows that buyers from certain regions are not as cautious as expected and their sourcing sentiment is gradually improving.”

Buyers from emerging markets more upbeat

In general, buyers from emerging markets demonstrated a more positive sourcing sentiment during the fair. Muhammad Yasin, owner of United Arab Emirates’ company Imperial Clothing FZE, said he had visited more than a hundred exhibitors on just the first day of the show, and had identified about 15 potential suppliers from Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, Vietnam and Pakistan. He expected to work with two of the companies and initial orders would be worth about US$10,000.

Israeli buyer Moshe Silverstain said that, after the fair, he would visit some of the supplier’s factories in Nanjing. He expected to place orders for 12,000 raincoats and 20,000 denim trousers.

Russian company Forward Ltd, which supplies sports uniforms for Russian national teams, visited the fair. The company’s Head of Logistics Department, Ruben Nariyants, said his company had found three potential suppliers from the mainland. To facilitate smooth delivery to Russia, Mr Nariyants said his company is willing to offer logistics assistance; and he expected to finalise cooperation arrangements soon.

Hong Kong’s designer collections in demand

Hong Kong Fashion Week has long been a launch pad for up-and-coming young designers to showcase their designs to international buyers. This year, the HKTDC organised two FASHIONALLY COLLECTION shows to spotlight emerging local designers from 14 fashion labels. Buyer Takayuki Kubota from renowned Japanese fashion group H.P. France said he had found suitable Hong Kong designer collections through the FASHIONALLY COLLECTION shows and expected to place initial orders of five to ten styles per brand. He was glad that Hong Kong designers were willing to accept small-quantity orders.

Yi Gao, owner of Shenzhen designer brand store MR. TOP, found Hong Kong designer brand Lapeewee’s designs fashionable and wearable. He said his company is likely to conclude business deals with the brand very soon.

Singaporean buyer and designer Samuel Wong said customers in Singapore are receptive to designer brands. He attended the fair to source designer collections and was in talks with Hong Kong label MODEMENT for its women’s and men’s apparel.

Online store buyers becoming a new force

Online shopping has been growing in popularity in recent years and there has been an explosion of fashion e-shops, which are becoming a new force driving consumption. Korean department store Shinsegae has opened an e-shop to capture the opportunities in online shopping. Mae Hong, the company’s Buying Manager, said she came to Hong Kong Fashion Week for the first time to look for blouses and knitwear for kids and adults. She had found three potential suppliers on the first day and was in advanced talks with them. If her requirements were met, she would buy at least 1,000 pieces per item.

Nitin V Tewari, Senior Manager of Flipkart, a leading e-commerce company in India, also visited the fair for the first time. He claimed that fashion is one of their biggest business segments. Through the fair, he hoped to find new brands and OEM manufacturers and he had already identified a number of suitable bags and sportswear brands. He anticipated the purchasing amount would be between US$50,000 to US$100,000 per order, after further discussions.

Online shopping is also popular in Central Europe. Iva Tureckova, Project Manager of Czech company SLK Trade s.r.o, said her company is a young but fast-growing e-tailer selling women’s underwear in Central Europe. She said she came to Hong Kong to source different underwear brands and to seek opportunities to expand their business by becoming the distributor of brands from Hong Kong and other countries. Through the HKTDC’s business matching sessions, the company had found two potential underwear suppliers and would pursue negotiations with them.

Fashion seminar explores “Omni-Channel Retailing” opportunities

ZALORA’s Head of Acquisition, Giovanni Maria Musillo, spoke at the seminar titled “ZALORA: Navigating the Wave of Omni-Channel Retailing” and shared their keys to success and the opportunities in omni-channel retailing. He said ZALORA is a leading fashion e-tailer in Asia with a presence in Hong Kong, Australia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia. The website attracts some 30 million visits each month. “Localisation is key to ZALORA’s success. We offer different languages and interfaces to suit different markets’ needs,” he said. “We also ensure that consumers from different countries and regions can settle payments efficiently. These have helped to accelerate ZALORA’s growth.

“Smart phone penetration in Southeast Asia is set to exceed 100 per cent by 2019 and that is conducive to e-commerce development. It is also expected that the market share of fashion in e-commerce would double from four per cent in 2015 to eight per cent in 2019. All these signify immense business opportunities. With the ‘Korean wave’ sweeping across Asia and Europe in recent years, ZALORA is also actively sourcing different Korean brands to further capture the opportunities.”

HKTDC’s CENTRESTAGE to return in September

Hong Kong Fashion Week for Fall/Winter gathered more than 1,500 exhibitors from 21 countries and regions to showcase the latest fashion collections of international brands, garment, accessories, fabrics and sewing supplies. More than 20 fashion events were organised during Fashion Week, including 10 fashion shows as well as industry seminars and networking activities. The Hong Kong Fashion Week for Spring/Summer will be held from 10 to 13 July, while the second edition of CENTRESTAGE will run from 6 to 9 September. CENTRESTAGE aims to provide an ideal promotion platform for Asian and international fashion brands and designers, further solidifying Hong Kong’s position as a fashion capital in Asia.