Ever wondered where all the fabrics, trims and beads on your new dress come from? Or how the latest colours are so quickly translated from the catwalk to your local Topshop? The chances are pretty high that a little unassuming low rise area in Hong Kong – Sham Shui Po – will have been part of the fashion chain.
Before I moved to Hong Kong 6 years ago, I had heard of this fabled place through industry chatter. It sounded like a textile Mecca but I wasn’t sure if I was just hearing Chinese whispers. Fresh off the boat and straight into my job, I was taken to Sham Shui Po by a colleague on my third day in Hong Kong. Let’s just say I never looked back! The rumours were true; a place where you can freely pick up bundles of fabric swatches, ribbons arranged with scissors for you to cut yourself a free sample, beads by the bucket load, and sequins – well don’t get me started.
Colour, print, texture, wools, silks, nylons, trims, furs, stretch fabrics, knits, wovens, glitter, feathers and the list goes on. You name it – it is here. Fueled by the high street’s love of fast fashion, this is where fashion buyers and designers from all over the world will come to source fabrics and new ideas to create the latest looks for your wardrobe. I see Sham Shui Po as a giant moodboard and colour palette for the latest trends. When I want to see what direction fashion is about to take, making a trip to Sham Shui Po is normally a good place to start.
Putting my magpie tendency aside, I have also grown a special love for Sham Shui Po as an area over the six years I have been coming here. Certain shop keepers never change, the delivery men on bikes still make me smile and it is really quite photogenic when the sun shines! I enjoy coming here, not just for the textiles, but for the glimpses into Hong Kong life that has faded in other parts of the city. An afternoon in Sham Shui Po always puts a smile back on my face after a tough week in the office. Give it a visit if you ever have a spare afternoon in Hong Kong, with all that colour and sparkle – I challenge you not to come away with a smile on your face!