A PR professional goes above and beyond to connect designers with the public by finding them the right celebrity endorsements including the Hong Kong phenomenon, Mirror
The fashion industry is all about team work as it takes a village to turn an idea into a piece of clothing worn by consumers. Felix Chan, a publicist for Hong Kong independent fashion brands, works in one of those vital roles that gives visibility and exposure to fashion talent, bringing them one step closer to their potential customers.
A fashion publicist’s work is wide-ranging and can be hard to define. “Part of it is finding unique angles to present a brand’s collection to the world via media pitches. And then there’s celebrity dressing for shows and events where I connect the right influencer, who can be a celebrity or key opinion leader (KOL), with a fashion brand.” Chan really enjoys discovering new KOLs. “Someone who is fresh and cool and carries the right vibe. Sometimes I even get involved in marketing events like shop launches.” That explains why he has worked with many new talents in showbiz and connected them to the world of fashion, including actors Terrance Lau, Jace Chan, Will Or and Hedwig Tam, singer Sophy Wong, as well as rappers Tyson Yoshi and Jiggie Boy.
With a major in English literature, Chan started his career at PR agencies serving brands from small accessories brands to high fashion labels. In addition to the the usual PR duties, he travelled to international trade shows with these brands, enabling him to take a deep dive into the workings of the fashion industry within a short period of time.
Chan takes a personal interest in helping independent designers elevate their brand. His clients include local independent ready-to-wear labels such as Karmuel Young, Rickyy Wong, ARTO., REDEMPTIVE as well as Kit Wan Studios, who specialises in custom-made clothing.
Kit Wan received his training from the Oslo National Academy of Arts in Norway, and designs costumes for theatrical productions. Through Chan, Wan was tasked with creating the opening outfit for Cantopop star Hin Cheung’s concert in 2020, a striking long beaded coat that made a powerful impact on the crowd at the Hong Kong Coliseum. More recently, Wan designed the opening costumes for pop band Mirror for their debut concert, which became the talk of the town. “Looking back, it was a crazy experience as Wan had to complete 24 outfits in 10 days!” Chan recalls. It was however a worthwhile experience, and the “warriors from the future” look worn by the 12 band members to open the show was truly something to remember. Rickyy Wong was another local designer who also worked with Chan on this concert that championed Hong Kong talent across different creative fields.
Apart from facilitating these collaborations, Chan helps to define the job scope, negotiate fees and manage schedules as independent designers usually work alone and need assistance in these areas. Chan believes that celebrity endorsements in fashion are great for exposure but may not directly lead to increased sales, even though Hong Kong customers and celebrities are generally supportive of local designs. “Hong Kong customers don’t like to be told what to buy. The spending culture is perhaps different to other places. So these collaborations are mainly for exposure but the recognition that the designers receive is amazing and can be such a great confidence booster,” said Chan.
The past two years have been really tough for the fashion industry, especially the smaller brands. With the world shut down, Chan has seen collections being wasted. His advice for designers is to dream big but be realistic, to expect the toughest road ahead but don’t lose heart. “Successful new brands are usually ones with 360-degree vision right from the start. They don’t compromise on their identity while having accessible items in their product line. Strong visuals and accessible price points can help you gather a fan base that you can gradually grow,” he said. “Once you have the vision and the products, publicists can help you present them to the world but that’s the very last stage.”