"Passionate, creative, unique." These are the three words that fashion designer Jessica Lau, 33, used to describe young creatives in Hong Kong.[Special coverage]
Her studio is located in PMQ, formerly the Hollywood Road Police Married Quarters in the heart of Central, which is now a huge tourist draw. The government turned the historical building into a complex of shops and studios that opened in 2014 to support local designers and young entrepreneurs.
Hong Kong has a reputation as a world-class center for finance, shipping and logistics. The metropolis is emerging as a capital of creativity and innovation.
SUPPORT YOUNG DESIGNERS
Lau is among the 100 or so designers with shops or studios in PMQ. Lau and Walter Kong co-founded BLIND by JW in 2012, with a pop-up shop and a boutique opened in the next few years. They applied for a space in PMQ earlier this year and got accepted.
"This place is really nice. We often exchange ideas with other designers and make improvements together," said Lau.
Tenants of PMQ pay only half of the market rent, and they can receive training courses on customer service, overseas business development and funding, according to PMQ management.
In April, PMQ led a team of Hong Kong-based designers to the Ontime Show in Shanghai, including BLIND by JW. Speaking of her future plans, Lau said: "There are no restrictions. I will grab opportunities whenever there is one."
WORK WITH MAINLAND
"The exchanges between young people from Hong Kong and those from the mainland have entered a new phase," said Johnny Ng, chairman of Hong Kong United Youth Association and an entrepreneur himself.
Two decades ago, when Hong Kong had just returned to China from the British rule, most young people did not understand Mandarin, including himself, said Ng. Now young people from Hong Kong not only seek business opportunities in the mainland, they start business together with their mainland friends, Ng said.