CENTRESTAGE has returned this year for their third annual show out. One of Asia's leading fashion events, CENTRESTAGE is a unique platform for fashion designers to gain global exposure, and engage with an international audience consisting of industry professionals and fashion enthusiasts alike. With over 230 brands from 22 countries participating in this year's run, CENTRESTAGE is rapidly reinforcing Hong Kong as Asia's fashion capital.
Though the event highlights brands from all across the board, CENTRESTAGE has a keen focus on nurturing hometown talent, and Cyrus Wong and Julio Ng is the power duo behind local womenswear label, IDISM, a current front runner in Hong Kong's fashion scene. Regarded as one of CENTERSTAGE'S elite designers this year, I sat down with the two designers to discuss their involvement with CENTRESTAGE and was given a quick run through their SS19 collection which they debuted at CENTRESTAGE's elite opening gala show. Between Julio's exuberant persona and Cyrus' calm and intuitive temperament, the duo's polar dynamic is evident in their clothing: having boldness whilst keeping a sense of ease and sophistication.
J: For me it’s definitely the environment, London is known to be very arty, tech modern galleries everywhere. It’s in the culture that art and music is a huge influence for people specifically in London, where as in Hong Kong it’s still developing… it’s not really in the blood yet. In Europe, it’s like everyone is already living in that environment. So as an artist, designer, human, if you wanted to create nice art, you have to be in the right environment. Hong Kong is very finance centred.
C: It's a calmer pace of life that really allows you take a minute to observe. Hong Kong can get a little too fast paced in that way.
J: I think big brands are dominating the whole world at the moment! Especially in recent years in womenswear with all the rebranding and logo trends that are in fashion at the moment. Of course it’s a problem for Hong Kong and emerging designers, but for me I’m the type of person who doesn’t really like to reference the past to comment on whether or not Hong Kong is an emerging fashion city. We just work with what is now and we do what we can to change it.
K: Since we touched on how in Europe it’s more identifiable, there’s a DNA to it, how do you think Hong Kong can start to build a distinctive fashion culture?
J: It takes time for a fashion capital to become one; Paris, London, etc have so much history, whereas here, we’ve just started. Where I do think Hong Kong has the edge is how much we have access to. We are in a very special position where we are open to obtaining information from all around the world, and still be part of China. It’s the mix of digital visibility, the diversity and deep rooted culture that makes Hong Kong such an exceptional case.
C: Short term, we won’t be expanding to menswear. It’s already a lot of work haha!
K: Is there a reason why you gravitate towards womenswear?
C: I was always fascinated by the shows, I get bored very easily so women’s shows kept my interest. It’s more dramatic, broad, and allows for spontaneity.
J: The lifestyle of Hong Kong basically. You don’t really plan out the day, there’s always changes. Even if you have a super busy schedule, you could get an important phone call and suddenly you have to switch your day around. Then your friend’s ask you to meet up, and you may have some events to go to. That’s how we see the Hong Kong women, the constant need for adaptability and efficiency.
C: Pay attention to details, and always look to improve.
J: You can’t change the world if you can’t change yourself.
J: I think the sportswear element. Comfortability is so important these days, especially with the climate change. So how are you going to change your lifestyle to adapt to this?