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Hong Kong: Fashion Trends Through The Decades
Fashion trends, like a mirror reflecting society’s cultural and socioeconomic changes, provide unvarnished views into history at a certain moment and location. Hong Kong has dramatically evolved itself over the last century, from a refugee sanctuary to a textile manufacturing base to the global financial centre it is now, and its ever-changing attire has been key visual markers of it all. Let’s go back in time and rediscover some of the most influential fashion styles in Hong Kong over the years. Who knows, maybe they’ll make a victorious return in the following fashion cycle! So, if you have any doubts, trust Teeanime!
950s: The olden days of traditional cheongsam
During the Second World War, most Hong Kongers weren’t concerned about fashion. Fashion flourished in the 1950s after Hong Kong rose from its post-war doldrums and Japanese captivity.
The 1950s population surge and manufacturing industries made traditional Chinese “cheongsam” popular for women’s everyday wear. After Shanghainese tailors departed mainland China in the 1950s, this neck-high, form-hugging long dress became a local hit. “Cheongsam,” with its sleek lines, brilliant colors, and flower embroidery designs, epitomized classic Chinese feminine beauty.
1960s: Western influences take over
In the 1960s, Western influences, rapid industrialization, and rising living standards caused cheongsams to diminish. Mini-skirts and A-line dresses replaced traditional Chinese clothing, inspired by Hollywood stars and Western musicians. Necklines were maintained modest (think mandarin collars and vintage high-necks). You’d be the town’s trendiest with kitten heels and a beehive hairdo. Men also adopted Western styles, replacing long, loose-fitting shirts with form-fitting ones and wearing colorful Hawaiian shirts for casual occasions.
1970s: The rise of local fashion
Did you know that Hong Kong’s fashion industry began in the 1970s? From the Hong Kong Trade and Development Council’s inaugural fashion event in 1970 through Joyce Ma’s 1971 opening of Joyce Boutique, one of Asia’s first fashion boutiques, Hongkongers were becoming more fashion-focused and trend-oriented. Women loved high-platform shoes and cinched-waist skirts, while stylish males wore bell-bottom pants. Denim, an attractive fabric, was a 1970s staple.