For our next installment of Why Hong Kong, we’re chatting with the uber-creative entrepreneur, blogger, and stylist Jasmine Smith.
What do you do/what does your company do?
My biggest role is being Muma to the watermelon loving, leather onesie wearing one year old girl – Isabella Zia. When I’m not teaching her the ways of the world, I run a blog called Dress Me Blog Me – a blog that was initially established for my personal shopping clients, enabling them to know what is happening in the Hong Kong fashion scene.
I also have a lingerie brand called RAVEN + ROSE which is my latest (and incredibly exciting) venture.
How did you get into the fashion scene?
I was sewing and selling ‘scrunchies’ alongside hand beaded necklaces in primary school at the age of seven, which leads me to say that I have always been in the fashion scene in some capacity.
I grew up wearing handmade clothes that my Mum skillfully crafted for me, something I carried on as I started sewing most of my own ensembles during my High School years. I then extended my sewing skills in University by getting a Fashion Degree and that flow has continued right through to now, with my own label, RAVEN + ROSE.
What are some of the misconceptions people have about the local fashion scene in Hong Kong?
Since it’s an Asian city, I think people expect a crazy, quirky, cool element to the street style here in Hong Kong, a little like the ‘Fruits’ fashion culture you’ll find in Japan. Hong Kong, however, is quite the opposite. It’s a lot more conservative and refined.
How has the scene changed in the last five years?
There is a beautiful explosion of local Hong Kong based creatives that are launching their own brands and maintaining an impressive level of success. Five years ago, Hong Kong was home to many fashionable entrepreneurs and designers, so this isn’t a new thing, but it’s a growing thing! One element that really adds to this growth are creative co-working spaces like The Hive and retail areas like PMQ.
How do you think it will change in the next five years?
The Hong Kong fashion scene has proven to be very adaptable to the way this city changes and moves, so I’m expecting to see it carry on in the same adaptable way in the next five years. I’m hoping that the Hong Kong government will continue to support and grow the creative industry here.
Do you think Mainland China’s economic slowdown is going to have a large impact on Hong Kong’s fashion industry in the near future?
Mainland China’s economic slowdown has already had an impact on retailers both luxury and niche in Hong Kong and I suspect this will continue for some time. But as mentioned, Hong Kong is a wonderfully adaptive country which understands the importance of making changes and using it’s resources to its advantage.
Do you have any examples of how people in the industry are using technology in their day-to-day lives?
Hong Kong is a fast paced city which demands efficiency, and the go-to technology is without a doubt the Smartphone.
And with the smartphone comes a huge amount of apps that enables anyone and everyone to streamline their efficiency to match the fast paced workings of this city. For example, it’s all too easy order a cab (Uber) and then while you wait for it, you can read the latest digital news (Flipboard). Or you could download client images straight from the Dropbox app onto your phone or hire extra (freelance design) assistance from Upwork…
What advice do you have for fashion companies trying to engage consumers in Hong Kong?
Social media and its influencers are an incredibly strong tool that should be both utilized and budgeted for.
What are some of Hong Kong’s advantages over other major Asian cities?
With Hong Kong being such a transient city (it seems nearly every flight stopover is in HK!), it plays host to so many interesting minds and creative talents who travel through and leave a lasting impression. Hong Kong is fast to welcome, slow to forget, and quick to apply what it learns from visitors – which, in turn, gives a global vibrancy to this city that really makes it stand out.
Who are some emerging local influencers we should watch? Who are your favourite designers from Hong Kong?
What’s your favorite app?
Snapseed – the best photo editing app I’ve come across!