Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Press Release


AT design by Atsuro Tayama

Japanese fashion designer Atsuro Tayama
(right) teamed up with Sidefame’s Anthony
Keung to launch his eponymous label in
Hong Kong and, later, the Chinese mainland
Serendipity led to the partnership between Japanese label Atsuro Tayama and Hong Kong fashion retailer Sidefame 18 years ago. “When we opened our first Anteprima shop in Paris, we found that our Japanese neighbour was talented and knew the market,” recalled Anthony Keung, CEO of Hong Kong-based Fenix Group, which owns and distributes several fashion labels under its Sidefame subsidiary. “We loved the brand and brought him to Hong Kong.” 

The Paris-based Japanese designer launched his Atsuro Tayama and AT labels in Hong Kong in 1994. “In the 1990s, Hong Kong was becoming more important as a fashion hub. That’s why I chose Hong Kong to be my first place outside Japan,” Mr Tayama said. 

East Meets West 

The East meets West influence reflected
in an AT design by Atsuro Tayama
Having lived in Paris for more than 20 years, Mr Tayama says his work is a reflection of his Asian roots and Western influence. “For the silhouette, I’m more influenced by European aesthetics,” he said. “However, when it comes to the material and detail of the design, I’m more influenced by Japanese, or should I say, Asian aesthetics. So I mix them, and this combination makes my design a bit different from European design.” 

That East and West influence has resonated not only in the Hong Kong market, but also among visitors from the Chinese mainland. “Mainland visitors to Hong Kong, including those from the fashion industry would ask me, ‘Why don’t you enter the China market?’” Atsuro Tayama heeded the advice and opened on the mainland five years ago. To date, Atsuro Tayama has six outlets in Hong Kong and 20 stores on the mainland, either directly owned or franchised. 

And while the mainland market is inundated with luxury brands, Mr Keung sees potential to develop what he calls the premium sector with such labels as Atsura Tayama and AT. “At the moment in China, only the super brands and the mass market are selling well. We’re still learning about the premium sector,” Mr Keung said. 

Hong Kong Window

“We started in the Chinese market 16 years ago, in Shanghai, then Beijing and Guangdong. We’re now entering second-tier cities, including Chengdu and Chongqing,” he said. “A lot of Chinese visitors know our brands from buying them in Hong Kong. This premium sector in the Chinese market will be growing.” 

Mr Tayama said it’s hard to overlook the expanding influence of the mainland in the fashion business. “Hong Kong now is playing the role of a window of the fashion business. It’s very important that once you’re a successful business in Hong Kong, you have the support to go into places like China.”

Centre of Asia 

Atsuro Tayama’s Spring/Summer 2012 collection
He added that the 21st century has seen the rise of Asian fashion. “In the old days, when people thought about fashion, they would divide it by country. They would say Japan fashion, Tokyo fashion and then Chinese fashion. But nowadays, we think about the whole of Asia. So it’s not Tokyo fashion, it should be Asian fashion. And Hong Kong is the centre of Asia, so I think it’s very important for your label to have a presence in Hong Kong.”

As for international brands that want to enter the China market, Sidefame’s Mr Keung said Hong Kong is the ideal springboard. “China is a very big market, but most foreigners do not understand the Chinese market. We’re in Hong Kong; we understand more.” He said partnering with Hong Kong can help international companies make it on the mainland. 

“It’s important that we think global, but understand local.” 
Source: HKTDC

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