Not Mainlanders (but kinda), Hong Kong

My trip to Hong Kong was short but enlightening and inspiring. They certainly have their own sense of style in Hong Kong, but I don’t think it’s as drastically different as most people make it out to be… It seems like the Hong Kong-ese desperately want to distinguish themselves from the Mainlanders, but I saw a lot of sartorial similarities. First off, Hong Kong is a very ruxurious place, although I’m sure a higher percentage of these conspicuous luxury goods are real in HK (especially because they are so much cheaper there).

I got this picture with THREE Louis Vuitton bags in the frame (the third one is in the background with a red arrow pointing to it in case you can’t find it). Maybe one is real… But I got too many pictures with two or three conspicuous luxury goods in it, which is a testament to just how many people have such products on this cramped little island.

This kid’s outfit was definitely not by Burberry, but his mom doused him in it like it was and like it was supposed to fool people into thinking that they are of a higher social class. However, dressing one’s child like this I think only makes it clearer that they are not upper class. SO ruxurious.

It’s like children have become handbags or accessories in one of the world’s most competitive social landscapes, and they have to be covered in Burberry plaid or Gucci/LV monograms too. Sad for the kids, and embarrassing for the adults I think.

But don’t get me wrong! Hong Kong was definitely a stylish place, despite this intense ruxury I saw everywhere. I particularly liked the style of the older people, like this lady in her beautifully multi-colored dress:

It’s simple yet intricate, playful yet appropriate. I also love how the colors of the dress contrast with her hair:

There was also some clashing go on on Hong Kong Island which looked not unlike the clashing happening on the Mainland… I like the solid blue shoes that anchor this look.

But young Hong Kong-ese were certainly not to be outdone by the older generations when it came to style. As a whole, younger peoples’ style seemed to be both European and Asian, understandable given Hong Kong’s specific history and all the brands that have store on this tiny island. Overall, the style of younger people in HK was avant-garde yet balanced, like these young girls in Kowloon.

I love this shirt, and I’m pretty sure it’s from Gareth Pugh… He’s one of my favorite designers, and I think that his work is sometimes very ‘Asian’ in an international but not literal way. He’s known mostly for his fashion videos that he does with Show Studio, which you can check out here and here (I believe this is his most recent video for Pitti Immagine 2011, but there are quite a few videos).

Anyway, back to the shirt… I like the draping, particularly from behind. It creates a great silhouette that is kind of racy and edgy but not too extreme or exaggerated. I like the whole black and white thing, and regardless if it is Gareth Pugh’s or another brand’s shirt, she pulled it off well.

And as far as local designers are concerned, I only found one designer based in HK that I think will go really far: Joseph Li. He has stunningly beautiful pieces and color palettes that are geometric and asymmetrical, and are for a fun yet sophisticated customer. You can find his collection at JOYCE in HK (below is his SS collection, go to his website to check out FW).

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About chinesepeopledoyoustyle

The emergence of style in China
This entry was posted in Back, Bags, Burberry, Chinese Designers, Chinese People, Clash, Conspicuous, Conspicuous Consumption, Context, Counterfeits, Cultural Imperialists, Domestic Development, Homogenizing Forms, Hong Kong, Joseph Li, Kids, Louis Vuitton, Old, Peripheral Monogrammed Goods, Ruxury, Stratification, Stylish and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Not Mainlanders (but kinda), Hong Kong

  1. S says:

    Hey man, This post is not far for HK~
    The shirt of the kid wearing is really SO CHINESE.
    I suggest you to ask any westerner who live in HK n ask them can they tell who is Local HK or made in China.
    btw, do you know HK government let mainlander come to HK without visa since few years ago?
    I dont think you know HOW MANY Mainlandness come to HK for shopping n yellowing n lining up for the luxury band n even pee in the street n make LKF beginning dirty !
    They do hv bad style in HK ,but it is totally different with those chinese style,it called” MK style ” .
    MK is a place called Mong kok , there full of those pretending fashionable kids,
    they kinda like Japanese style , strong make up ,fake eyelashes ….

  2. wc says:

    Wah, so cynical! and preachy too. Maybe they just like the patterns. I think maybe it’s just as simple as that, especially since it’s on a little kid and the fabric isn’t spectacular. Saying that they are trying to fool people into thinking they are upper class by wearing Burberry patterns is like saying that they themselves can’t tell the difference between knock offs and real ones. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING TO BE PROUD OF, but Hong Kongers are pretty conscientious about the authenticity of luxury brands, as well as the quality of what they wear. If the grading system of knock offs isn’t indicative of that, i’m not sure what is!

    Also, unlike the emergence of level 1 capitalism in china and the plague of nouveau riche mainlanders, there seems to be a great amount of backlash towards such lavish living, or at least the mentality of living above your means for regular folk. You may write it off as a xenophobic attitude towards mainlanders, I think it’s just a general distaste towards that lifestyle wherever you live. I think it’s because they’ve already been through it and at a great intensity, they’ve seen it, and now they can laugh at it.

    I really don’t like when Americans or Westerners preach about things they see wrong in Asian countries using their definition of what’s right because it’s arrogant, and because Asia modernizes and is progressive in different ways. This is perhaps the self-loathing cynical American in me talking, but Americans and most other 1st world nations are cynical for no reason. I want to attribute it to post modern snobbery. Not proud of it at all.

    • I’m very sorry to hear that that is the way you perceive my blog… The last things I want to be are cynical and preachy, but I guess if you only read this post your understanding would be very limited of my overall blog and its intentions. I’m not trying to judge Chinese people and say they are wrong in the way they are modernizing, I’m blaming the West for using a position of superiority to homogenize the sartorial landscape in China with their conspicuous logos.

      The point that I’m trying to make with this post is that Burberry’s tartan pattern and its derivatives is a widely recognizable symbol of ‘wealth’, and thus (whether or not the mother or child is aware of it) perpetuates this system of social stratification through clothing. It’s great if they like the pattern, but this specific pattern is utilized by most people as a signifier of the ‘upper class’ but also a Western lifestyle, which is a primitive function of fashion… Rather than trying to claim or pretend like we are better than other people, I think clothing should be used to reflect the individual.

      Of course this poor kid can’t do much about what he wears, but the mom shouldn’t help the West plaster logos over every Chinese person… They are individuals too, and their clothing should reflect it. I’m not using American standards to judge the Chinese, I’m saying objectively that conspicuous consumption is a product of new wealth and bad taste (or non-taste, as they are simply following a new wealth ‘trend’). I hope the Chinese can develop their own style, and for this to happen there needs to be domestic development in the industry. If the only major players are Western brands, then they will be able to maintain their monopoly on high-end and street fashion.

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  7. you are amazing
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  8. I think Joseph Li will go far too, but not as far as he would, were he a mighty hawk.

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