A fashion designer offers more than a studio for rent with the co-working space he has created for fellow designers.
With high rents in Hong Kong being the biggest roadblock for small businesses, many co-working spaces have mushroomed across the city to meet the demand for affordable space. Kit Shen, who understands the needs and struggles of fashion designers, has set up fashion creation platform Designerooms to address the issue. It not only offers a co-working space tailored for fashion startups but also machinery and tools plus on-site support and consultation by experienced pattern makers, sewers and other designers.
Some local fashion students also make use the space, which is available for hire for private functions and workshops.
Shen is additionally on hand to offer advice and consultation at Designerooms. For an additional fee, the platform provides additional services such as sample making and small batch manufacturing support that are invaluable to those without the proper industry contacts. Shen can personally connect designers with factories in mainland China that accept small minimum orders.
“At the beginning I wanted to open my own studio and then saw the need for this among designers, who are mostly one-man-bands. Apart from space and facilities, we need an environment with a creative atmosphere and production development support,” he said.
The cost to make samples in Hong Kong is more than 30 per cent higher than in Mainland China but the advantage of being in close proximity and direct communication with the sample maker makes it worthwhile, especially for designer labels with more details and non conventional constructions.
Shen has previously worked for several renowned labels such as Blanc de Chine and G2000. He spent a lot of time in factories to learn about the technical aspect of production. With this experience, he is able to bridge the gap between designers and production.
“At Designerooms, we are not just sharing space and facilities but also our connections, creativity and expertise. I’m focused on product development but another designer based here, Vicky Au, is interested in marketing so there is a lot of room for collaboration. I’ve even had a US pet clothing brand who came here to look for a freelancer, so this is like a hub for designers.”