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Speech by SCED at International Fashion Design Seminar

     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the International Fashion Design Seminar today (June 13):

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning. It gives me great pleasure to join you all at this International Fashion Design Seminar. A very warm welcome to everyone.

     In most industries, and I would say especially the fashion design sector, the evolution and progress of the industry is driven by a painstaking and paradoxical process of inheritance and competition. Very often, fashion designers groom the young and pass the baton to them. The young ones go on to form the backbone of the next generation, setting the trends and, in some cases, even outperforming their teachers. This highlights the importance of nurturing and grooming talent in the fashion design sector.

     In Hong Kong, our textiles and clothing industry has a long history and solid foundation. As we move up the value chain to focus on high value-added activities, our textiles and clothing industry has also transformed itself into the fashion industry with a niche in design and branding. Hong Kong has also seen the emergence of some famous fashion designers who have had spectacular success in creating their own brands.

     The Government of the Hong Kong SAR attaches great importance to the development of the fashion industry of Hong Kong. We have made a conscious attempt to capitalise on our past success and seek to bring the fashion design of Hong Kong to a new horizon. The Government is firmly committed to supporting the fashion industry. The Financial Secretary set out the Government's strategic directions and specific support measures for the fashion industry in his two recent Budget Speeches. We will work on three fronts. First, we will step up promotion of Hong Kong fashion designers and brands through local and overseas promotional programmes. Second, we will strengthen technical support and training for fashion designers through the setting up of a resource centre. Third, we will launch a dedicated incubation programme for fashion designers to groom talents. Through these measures, we would like to create a sustainable momentum for Hong Kong's fashion industry and showcase our fashion design to the world.

     The Government has also injected $400 million into the CreateSmart Initiative, which is a funding scheme to support the development of creative industries. With these additional resources, we will continue to fund worthwhile projects which promote fashion design and accord priority to nurturing talent and supporting start-ups.

     I am grateful to the organisers of today's event, the Institute of Textiles and Clothing of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the Hong Kong Fashion Designers Association. The International Fashion Design Seminar will certainly bring us the insights of the four renowned fashion designers and fashion design educators. The Hong Kong Young Talent Alumni Fashion Show will showcase the latest collections of 18 local alumni nominated by four fashion design institutions of Hong Kong. Through the International Fashion Design Competition, we will see the contest of design students from Hong Kong and others parts of the world.

     I am most excited by the events today. We will see the convergence of creative ideas and works of well-established players in the field. Through such convergence we see both inheritance and competition that would ignite new senses and spark off creativity in fashion design. As the name of the event rightly and succinctly depicts, it is about the future of the fashion industry of Hong Kong.

     The future looks bright and promising for Hong Kong's fashion design. For now though, ladies and gentlemen, let's sit back, relax, and enjoy the seminar and catwalk shows.

     Thank you.

Ends/Monday, June 13, 2016
Issued at HKT 11:14