From November 11th until December 21st, Hong Kong will play host to Dysemevas, a pop-up store set in an emerging area along the far end of Hollywood Road.
The shop, with an expiry date of six-weeks, features work by ten designers who are based in China (inclusive of Hong Kong.) Each week the two-level store will highlight different combinations of designers and build around a particular theme.
What will they be selling?
The offerings include clothing as well as accessories and ceramics. Pieces range from high-end items to T-shirts. The brands / designers include: Qiu Hao, Zhang Da, Lin Jing, Daydream Nation, Yang Du, Bandi Panda, Rock Candy, Under Oath, The Year Of, and Winnie Lui. The Year Of and Rock Candy may already be familiar names to Hong Kong shoppers.
Though the designers are all China-based, there is a significant international flavor to the group. Many of them have been educated abroad at prestigious fashion institutions or have gained experience working for well known labels.
A good match for a pop-up
China-based designers have had a difficult time winning over local consumers. Shoppers here are notoriously fickle and many believe that foreign made fashion is better. There exists a problem of perceived value. The average shopper would rather pay the same price for a well known brand, than buy an equally priced item from a Hong Kong or China-based label. One solution to this dilemma has been to create limited edition items and keep tight control over the supply. This has worked for high-end street wear clothing company CLOT in the past. (Last year the police were called to their Devil-CLOT pop-up store to break up a near riot outside! You can read more about that store here and here.)
For two reasons, pop-up stores are a good solution for China-based designers in Hong Kong’s market: limited opportunity to buy adds exclusivity (and therefore perceived value) to the product; and a temporary store creates buzz yet avoids a high rent, long term contract.
Temporary stores nothing new to Hong Kong
Though ‘pop-up’ shops for fashion are a relatively new phenomenon in this city, Hong Kong has its own brand of temporary store culture.
Walking along the street on the way to check out the future Dysemevas location, I spotted two different Hong Kong style pop-up stores. Because of the city’s extremely high rents, opening a shop on the ground floor is cost prohibitive for the majority of businesses. Rather than simply let property sit idle between tenants, some landlords would rather rent their shops out to businesses temporarily. These shops sell merchandise that doesn’t require any atmosphere or special alterations to the space. Typically they sell fast-moving merchandise such as DVDs and also small household ephemera.
You can often spot these shops in high foot traffic locations.
A changing neighborhood…
The area at the far end of Hollywood Road, in Hong Kong’s Sheung Wan neighborhood, has been undergoing change over the last few years. Old businesses that are remnants of the area’s past are starting to move to cheaper locations, or slowly fade away. The new businesses opening up tend to be boutiques, galleries, and other slightly yuppie-friendly establishments.
The Cat Street Gallery on 222 Hollywood Road, just up the street from the future site of Dysemevas, is a good anchor point in the area. Taking a different path than the amateurish galleries around town, the space clearly has its own vision. Walking by last week I saw several impressive works by Yuk King Tan (from New Zealand,) including a laser-cut sculpture of the HSBC lion that was stunning.
Next door, anchoring the Kush serviced apartments, may be Hong Kong’s coolest 7-Eleven. While not particularly large, the branch earns its rep by dispensing with the typical bright color scheme in favor of a slick-black finish.
The block where Dysemevas is located has several ground floor spaces currently undergoing renovation.
Dysemevas is made up of two adjacent sites located at the intersection of Hollywood Road and Queens Road West. The shop will open in 256 Hollywood Road, while a bar area will occupy 254 Hollywood Road, next door.
For more information and to read profiles of the designers included in Dysemevas, go here.
Dysemevas pop-up store
254 and 256 Hollywood Road
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
(at the intersection of Hollywood Road and Queens Road West)
Opens November 11th to December 21st, 2008
Store hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 11 am – 8 pm, Sundays: 12 pm – 6 pm.