Speech by Acting FS at "Fashion Challenges" Forum of Fashion Asia 2016 Hong Kong (English only)

     Following is the speech by the Acting Financial Secretary, Mr Gregory So, at the "Fashion Challenges" Forum of Fashion Asia 2016 Hong Kong today (November 28):

Eric (Chairman of the Hong Kong Design Centre, Professor Eric Yim), Victor (Chairman of the Advisory Group on Implementation of Fashion Initiatives, Mr Victor Lo), ladies and gentlemen,

     I am delighted to join you today. Oscar de la Renta once said, "The great thing about fashion is that it always looks forward." Looking forward is exactly why we are here at the "Fashion Challenges" Forum today.

     The business landscape for the fashion industry has changed a great deal in recent years. That's thanks, in part, to the relentless advance of technology, particularly the rise of mobile devices and the Internet's worldwide availability. Together, they have thoroughly disrupted the retail markets everywhere.
     In this context, branding that adds value becomes all the more essential to success. The discovery of new fabrics and manufacturing techniques also expands the business and creative promise of fashion design.
     But how exactly do fashion designers and brand owners reorganise to respond to endless change? And how can their designs and products continually appeal to new generations of consumers while being mindful of our planet and its sustainability? 
     These are a few of the central issues facing the fashion industry today, and they are among the issues this forum seeks to address these two days.
     Allow me to suggest two aspects for your consideration: capitalising on our creativity, and maximising the value of cross-sector collaboration. In this, and much more, I am sure the forum's illustrious lineup of speakers and participants will have much to say, and share.
     Alongside forum discussions, Fashion Asia will also present "10 Asian Designers to Watch", an exhibition opening today and continuing through Sunday at the Qube, in Central's PMQ.

     The 10 featured Asian designers will show capsule and pre-fall collections. A series of creative events will also take place, making it an unforgettable week of Asian fashion flair here in Hong Kong.
     When the Financial Secretary announced, in last year's Budget Speech, that the Government would inject HK$500 million into the Hong Kong fashion industry, we knew that the momentum - that critical creativity and drive - must come from the industry itself. And in this regard, we have placed significant effort in tapping the pre-eminent minds of the fashion world over the past year and more.   
     Fashion Asia extends that effort. Through this forum, it brings together extraordinary international talent, brimming over with ideas and insight. And I know we all look forward to their input and inspiration over these two days.
     For that, my thanks to Victor for spearheading the discussion at the Advisory Group on Implementation of Fashion Initiatives, which has come up with the brilliant idea of organising Fashion Asia Hong Kong. Thanks should also go to the Hong Kong Design Centre, for organising this seminal event and setting it, smartly, under the style-setting umbrella that is Business of Design Week.
     I know you will all enjoy the "Fashion Challenges" Forum and the rest of Fashion Asia Hong Kong.
     Thank you.

Ends/Monday, November 28, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:02