Kickstart your style startup (Part 2)
HOMEHIGHLIGHT ▸ Kickstart your style startup (Part 2)
In this followup story, Fashionally investigates resources available to help up-and-coming designers expand their market exposure in forms of competitions and runway show opportunities.
In a world saturated with advertising messages, it is increasingly hard for any new brands to make a meaningful expression on the minds of potential customers. For a fashion startup, this could mean a substantial marketing budget that is beyond their reach. However, there are alternate ways to help put your name out there on the scene. Entering a competition has become a popular path for designers who want to accelerate the growth of their brand.

Hong Kong Young Design Talent Award (HKYDTA)
Organised by the Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC), the HKYDTA aims to cultivate up-and-coming designers and design graduates of different disciplines. Apparel and accessory design is one of the award categories.
With a number of awards up for grabs, the HKYDTA judges current design practitioners and graduates separately. It allows the awardees to further develop their craft through sponsored overseas work attachments or study, in addition to gaining publicity and exposure from the competition.
Design practitioner awardees may receive a sponsorship up to HK$500,000 or HK$250,000 for work attachment in a renowned overseas design company, while graduate awardees may receive a sponsorship up to HK$250,000 for work attachment/study in a renowned overseas design company/institute. Both cover a period of 6 to 12 months. These designers are expected to return to Hong Kong as soon as possible after completion of their overseas undertakings to work for a Hong Kong design business for no less than two consecutive years.
This year’s application deadline is 28 June for those who want to give it a go.

Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers’ Contest (YDC)
Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council for the first time in 1977, YDC is one of the oldest fashion design competitions in the region. Its mission is to continuously cultivate a new generation of design talents for the local garment and fashion industry, while enhancing the image of Hong Kong as a fashion design centre.
Over the course of 40 years, many successful designers have come through the ranks of YDC, forming a formidable pool of design talents. They have gone on to launch their own labels, or become leading designers for major fashion enterprises.
YDC’s increasing prestige can be seen by the list of world renowned fashion designers who has joined the judging panel, sharing not only their illustrious name but also experience and valuable advice with contestants.
In the past, style heavyweights like Kenzo Takada, Vivienne Tam and Martine Sitbon have been invited to be the VIP Judge for YDC.
Mood boards and design concepts are submitted for preliminary judging. Shortlisted finalists are then required to produce a finished collection based on their submission for a runway show to compete for a number of prizes that include overseas internships at renowned design companies or institutions, as well as fashion week attendance.
To give further exposure to YDC finalists, those who have launched their own labels are often invited to participate in FASHIONALLY COLLECTION, a group fashion show organised twice yearly to present their latest collections to international buyers and media.
The upcoming YDC and FASHIONALLY COLLECTION will be held during CENTRESTAGE (September 7-10).

Fashion Farm Foundation: HK designers in Paris Fashion Week
Supported by funding from CreateHK, The Fashion Farm Foundation (FFF) has for the past few season craved out a niche for Hong Kong designers during Paris Fashion Week. By putting some of the brightest Hong Kong talents on the prestigious Parisian catwalk, FFF is building a name for Hong Kong creativity, while helping designers make useful business connections in one of the most important fashion capitals of the world.
Twice a year, interested designers are invited to submit their design concepts and make a presentation to the judging panel comprising seasoned industry professionals. Eight designers / brands are selected each season to travel to Paris, including three to present their collections in a runway show while everyone also participates in showroom events.
The shows and events have generated great buzz for participating designers, with some getting coverage in publications such as Vogue Italia and receiving solid business opportunities. FFF’s next round of selection will be open for the Fall/Winter 2018 season to take place in Paris in February 2018.
Market expansion financial assistance
A way to finance foreign trade show participation is the Trade and Industry Department’s SME Export Marketing Fund (EMF) that provides financial assistance to SMEs for participation in export promotion activities, in an effort to encourage companies to expand their markets outside Hong Kong by participating in trade fairs, missions and exhibitions.
The grant can be applied repeatedly but each company may receive EMF grants up to a cumulative limit of HK$200,000.
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