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Centrestage
Photograph: Courtesy Centrestage

Hong Kong's premier fashion showcase CENTRESTAGE returns this September

Get the lowdown from three designers and brands on what to expect at the show

Time Out Hong Kong in partnership with HKTDC
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Calling all fashionistas and fashion creatives – Hong Kong’s premier fashion showcase is back! After running a virtual runway show last year amid the pandemic, CENTRESTAGE 2021 will return to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from September 10 to 12 (Fri-Sat, 11am-8pm; Sun, 11am-6pm). More than 200 brands from 24 countries and regions will showcase their talents in the fashion arena, which will be divided into three thematic zones: ALLURE, which explores the art of craftsmanship; ICONIC, a showcase of avant-garde designs; and METRO, which looks at contemporary, minimalistic expressions. 

CENTRESTAGE 2021’s central theme this year is ‘Chapter Infinity’, which encourages those in the fashion industry to use their creativity in finding inspirations in the pandemic era, while looking to opportunities in the future. Click here to read more about the event and register now for free admission.

In lead up to the extravagant showcase, we talk to designers Lapeewee, Wilsonkaki, and phone accessories brand Wildflower Cases to get a sneak peek of their collections at CENTRESTAGE 2021. Keep reading to learn about the challenges they faced during the pandemic and what to look forward to from their brands.

Lapeewee
Photograph: Courtesy Lapeewee

Lapeewee

Lapeewee is a homegrown fashion brand established by Yannes Wong in 2013. Known for her clean, sophisticated, yet playful designs, Wong strongly believes that fashion is much more than just clothing, it is a way of life. 

According to Wong, the pandemic dramatically slowed down business for her label since trade shows and exhibitions were cancelled. "But since designing can be continued anytime and at any place – even when I was working from home or while in quarantine – we were able to release our collections as scheduled," shares Wong. The Lapeewee 2021 CENTRESTAGE release was inspired by the 2003 French romantic movie, The Dreamers, which revolves around three young devotees of Paris' legendary film library and screening room, Cinémathèque Française, who are entangled in an erotic triangle. Set in Paris during the riots of 1968, the film is like a love letter to the spirit of the times, in which the characters, the cinema, and the revolution are all intertwined. Wong's collection features simple cuttings reminiscent of the 60s casual design complemented with subtle details from the 19th century, such as high waistline and pleats. "Through the designs, we would like to convey that fashion is not just a product, it is also an expression of our attitude towards life," she explains. 

After the showcase at CENTRESTAGE, expect more projects down the line for Lapeewee. “We are planning to open more physical stores in the next two years,” Wong says. “We will continue to work on new projects, participate in different kinds of presentations and exhibitions, and put more efforts into online and social media strategies, which can help further raise our brand awareness for our brand.”

Wilsonkaki
Photograph: Courtesy Wilsonkaki

Wilsonkaki

Founded by Wilson Yip in 2020, Wilsonkaki is a Hong Kong brand that reinvents the everyday wardrobe with fun, innovative concepts. Inspired by everyday, real-life experiences, Yip uses bold, visual elements in his designs, with a heavy focus on cuts, utility, and textiles.

For Wilsonkaki's SS22 collection, Yip draws inspiration from the phrase “Someone has a great fire in his soul...” taken from Vincent van Gogh's letter to his brother. Yip uses flames as a visual representation of how humans express hope, vitality, and emotion. "Flames can appear in different colours depending on chemical additives or when the temperature changes. The same way our feelings and emotions change in our daily lives," explains Yip. “I really think there is a fire in everyone's soul. We chase what we want, no matter what the result is. Chasing after what we want makes us feel truly alive,” he adds. 

Despite facing great uncertainty during the pandemic, and a heavier financial burden due to switching the brand's production process from the Mainland to Hong Kong, Yip hopes that his collection can help remind people to stay enthusiastic and live a life ablazed in fire. Yip is also currently developing a new business model with the main focus on providing an e-commerce platform for his brand.

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Wildflower cases
Photograph: Courtesy Wildflower Cases

Wildflower cases

What was once a passion project for Michelle Carlson that started six years ago in LA, Wildflower Cases quickly grew into an iPhone accessories brand with retail outlets in Japan, Australia, Dubai, Europe, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Offering a wide range of phone cases designed by Carlson and her two daughters, Wildflower handmakes all of their products, as they hope to make everyone feel personally loved when they receive their phone case.

With strict social distancing measures in place, more people have been staying home, spending time on their phones and on social media. Adapting themselves to this 'new normal', Wildflower evolved the brand by launching collaborations with influencers such as Emma Chamberlain, Rickey Thompson, Salem Mitchell, and many more, to release limited edition products. A total of 35 to 40 phone case designs will be on show at CENTRESTAGE, featuring both Wildflower’s own designs as well as collaborated products.

While phone cases will always be the main focus for Wildflower, the brand wishes to be the go-to for anyone who's looking for a new phone or tech accessory. Fans of the brand can look forward to other products in the near future such as laptop cases, apple watch bands, and limited edition cases every month. 

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