Hi, I’m Adam Chi Lung Chan, from Hong Kong. Growing up in British Hong Kong, I was forced to have an English name “Adam”, Adam doesn’t relate to my Chinese name at all, but at that time I was too young to understand why I needed to have one, so I just keep it, until now.
Hong Kong is a very strange place, with more than 90% Chinese population, we speak Cantonese, we write in traditional Chinese in our daily life, unfortunately the HongKongese thought speaking English was more high-class and educated. On the streets or grocery stores of both sides of Victoria Harbour, it is very easy to spot parents talking to their young children/babies in English with a thick Cantonese accent or speak in mixed Cantonese with English words, in this way young kids are forced to learn a language they wouldn’t frequently use in their daily life. 90s kids and millennials are adults now, educated in a mixed cultural environment, you would have thought they would appreciates both East and Western cultures, in Hong Kong’s case? Unfortunately not, western culture is more liked and admired by the HongKongese, we (generally) have one of the highest sale records for most luxury brands (Gucci, Prada, Burberry, Louis Vuitton……etc) in the world and the highest-grossing films in Hong Kong are mostly western films. Not because the locals don’t have good appreciation of quality products, but because we think western products are more high class with better quality.
This issue is endemic across Asia not just Hong Kong but has recently appeared on a established high end magazine’s Hong Kong edition: VOGUE HONG KONG.
When I knew VOGUE was going to launch Its version, I was extremely excited and proud of it, “We will finally have our own Vogue!” Vogue Hong Kong have revealed 3 covers for their first issue, the covers feature disappointingly and predictably Western fashion influenced shots by British photographer master Nick Knight, using Russian Anya Ziourova as the Fashion Editor/Stylist, a New York based casting director, Bert Martirosyan (Please read the full creatives list below).
Photographer: Nick Knight
Fashion Editor/Stylist: Anya Ziourova
Hair Stylist: Martin Cullen
Makeup Artist: Val Garland
Set Designer: Andrew Tomlinson
Casting Director: Bert Martirosyan
An undeniably strong creative team contributed the first cover of VOGUE HONG KONG, unfortunately the team didn’t include Hong Kong’s own Creatives. With more than 7 million population, an 0% Hongkongese involved project was a little bit…… unbelievable. We should be proud of who we are, we self promote as “Asia’s World City”. On one side, allowing and accepting other cultures is very important, on the other hand, to keep our brand relevant, we should be proud of ourselves, and make use of our own talented designers, creatives and models. We should help ensure that our own citizens and resident feature prominently in the creative scene and the cover (or at least one of them!) would have been a great place for Vogue to do so.
It’s not easy to be a creative in Hong Kong, because the population are more likely to support international well known brands. Paradoxically Hong Kong creatives have to become “international” before they can enter or re-enter their own market. During “Fashion Hong Kong” (a fashion presentation by Hong Kong Trade Development Council) presentation in London, I talked and interviewed with founder and designer Polly Ho, we both agreed if local brands in Hong Kong don’t become internationally well known, the HongKongese would question the brands.
Going back to Vogue Hong Kong, International supermodels on the covers, creative team are all foreigners, it seems Vogue Hong Kong have tried to normalise, from the very first issue, a Hong Kongese free process.
Back when Vogue Netherlands (April 2012) and Vogue Thailand (February 2013) first published their own edition of Vogue, the cover models and creative team were mostly or at the very least partially provided from home grown talent. While I am sure that Vogue Hong Kong will provide a platform for Hong Kong creatives in the future, three covers from the first issue of Vogue Hong Kong with ZERO Hong Kong representation, is a missed opportunity and embodies a disrespect for the Hong Kong creative scene, which has been cause for lots of doubt and sadness among Hong Kong creatives.
Hong Kong has a lot of talented artists, creatives and designers, what we have ourselves is definitely good enough to involved in the cover story. The “others are better” thinking needs to be changed. Hong Kong has its own unique personality and style which should have been shown front of stage in our local magazine.
Adam, Chi Lung Chan | WRITER