Asia’s Next Design Hub: The Battle For Leadership

World Runway 2011 in Singapore

Flight TR2967 to Singapore. I am on my way to Blueprint, the first large-scale designer trade show in Southeast Asia. Part of the Singapore Fashion Festival, Blueprint was launched two years ago with the support of multiple local government offices. As for my involvement this year, I’ve got several meetings lined up with emerging labels in the hopes of finding the next Louboutin or Marc Jacobs.

Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai are arguably the three most important cities in Asia when it comes to high fashion. Seoul, Taipei, Bangkok and Tokyo, although very much fashion-forward and exquisitely creative, seem to lack an international reach beyond Asia. Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Manila (and even Hanoi, to some extent) are catching up, but remain hidden gems for people in the know.

I’m a fan of Singapore’s refined architecture, cuisine and concept stores, but why do I, and some of the designers that Shop des Créateurs supports, feel the need to fly down there when Hong Kong is supposed to be “fashion heaven” for professionals and consumers alike?

It probably boils down to Hong Kong’s long history as a sourcing hub, with a fashion week that resembles a giant supermarket more than an ode to creativity and superior craftsmanship. It’s also because supporting the local creative industry isn’t much of a priority for the local authorities at the moment.

Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design

Despite these issues, there are actually several private and government initiatives in Hong Kong that show great potential, such as Ambassadors of Design, Business of Design Week, 2012 Year of Design and the Ecochic Design Awards, of which we are a proud sponsor.

I’ve noticed some tremendous changes in the Hong Kong creative scene over the past 12 months, and yet I believe that “Asia’s World City” could do much better. Hong Kong definitely has the resources and the people to be the next design hub in Asia. Now it’s up to us to actually make it happen.

Cedric Delzenne is the founder of Shop des Créateurs, the first online sales & marketing agency for emerging fashion designers, carefully handpicked around the world. With a top-notch e-commerce platform and genuine expertise in social media and PR, the Shop helps up-and-coming labels turn the Internet into a brand-building and revenue-generating tool. Currently supporting over 35 brands from Asia, Europe and the US, the Shop organizes or sponsors creative events and design competitions in Hong Kong and beyond.

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