Get to know Wilson Yip, Louis Chow and Enzo Chan – winners of the Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers’ Contest 2019Hong Kong Trade Development Council
Over the course of the last few weeks, we’ve seen the likes of Telfar, Prada, Simone Rocha, and Charlotte Knowles send their latest collections out onto runways in New York and London, as part of the SS20 show season (two cities down, two to go). But as a wealth of creativity and ingenuity was on show in the long-held fashion capitals, big things were also happening slightly further afield – in Hong Kong, to be precise.
Taking place earlier this month, at annual fashion event Centrestage, the 2019 Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers’ Contest saw three young creatives compete for prizes – including cash, mentorships and internships, overseas study trips, and the chance to debut a capsule collection in iconic Hong Kong concept store JOYCE – in front of a panel made up of Vogue HK editor Peter Wong, revered fashion designer Mihara Yasuhiro, JOYCE’s Michael Mok.
Making the final cut were Wilson Yip, Louis Chow, and Enzo Chen, a trio of designers who explored ideas that ranged from the highly conceptual feeling of absentmindedness, through to deconstruction and reconstruction. As part of a new generation of talented designers, Yip, Chow, and Chen all promise to help put Hong Kong firmly on the fashion map in the years to come, as they join the likes of MARRKNULL, Yuhan Wang, and Angel Chen in exploring their Chinese heritage and portraying it in new ways for a contemporary and international audience.
Here, we get to know the three designers changing the face of the Hong Kong fashion scene.
Walking away with the top prize and the award for Best Footwear Design, Wilson Yip’s collection, Forgetful Still, delved deep into his psyche and addressed his tendency for forgetfulness. Oversized panelled coats in hues of pale blue, safety orange, and bottle green were layered over wide-leg trousers bearing spray-painted, applique details, utilitarian straps and buckles, and big patch pockets, with looks finished with chunky scarves, hoods, panelled sneakers, and tinted sunglasses. The result was an offering that clashed streetwear sensibilities with an exaggerated sense of the surreal, with models pacing the runway like IRL anime characters.
As well as the grand cash prize, Yip will also intern under the watchful eye on Mihara Yasuhiro at the designer's atelier in Tokyo and launch a capsule collection with the help and guidance of i.t fashion store next year.
Louis Chow’s offering explored the intricacies of design and invites those looking at it to come to their own conclusion as to what each unconventional item actually is. Appearing almost unfinished, coats and jackets were turned inside-out and back-to-front with linings becoming the usually-hidden focal point, while trenches were flipped in on themselves, and trousers were given unique texture through visible seams and raw, incomplete edges.
Chow’s highly conceptual collection, which he had aptly named Already, But Not Yet, saw him crowned the contest’s first runner-up which also comprised a cash prize, as well as the opportunity to visit London’s TOMORROW showroom: an organisation devoted to championing and cultivating young fashion talent.
The final prize from this year’s YDC went to Enzo Chan for his collection 1996, which took its name from the year he was born. As models wearing the looks made their way down the runway, the audience was taken on a nostalgia-filled journey through the designer’s 23 years on earth: right the way from his childhood, right up to the present day. Echoing the stylistic approach of the likes of Raf Simons, Chan’s louche tailored shirts. relaxed trousers, and boxy jackets were emblazoned with digitally manipulated photographs and finished with delicately executed embroidered detailing, with the result being a deeply personal, youthful offering which simultaneously referenced the past while looking firmly towards the future.
Seemingly, for Chan, the tiny bag trend is also all but over, with looks finished with huge sacks big enough for all the wearer’s worldly possessions, as they go off on journeys of their own. In addition to cash to put towards his label, Chan will also work with JOYCE boutique on a commercial capsule collection, giving him invaluable insight into the inner-workings of the fashion world.
See all the collections on the runway in the video below, or to learn more about the YDC head here.