You saw the protest, now buy the $400 Hong Kong T-shirt

A model presents a creation for fashion house Dsquared2 during the presentation of its woman's and men's spring/summer 2020 fashion collection in Milan on June 16, 2019.
PHOTO: AFP

On June 16, an estimated two million people took to the streets of Hong Kong to call for the resignation of the city's chief executive, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, over proposed law changes that would allow extradition to China and her government's handling of earlier protests about the issue.

While this was unfolding, a continent away in Milan, Canadian twin fashion designers Dean and Dan Caten, founders of fashion label DSquared2, launched their spring/summer 2020 collection as part of men's fashion week in the Italian city. By coincidence, this included a homage to Hong Kong and one of its most famous sons, legendary martial artist and actor Bruce Lee.

DSquared2 T-shirts for men and women were printed with Bruce Lee movie posters and the designers themselves took their post-show bow on Sunday clad in T-shirts emblazoned with a quote from one of Lee's films: "Don't think, feel."

The range was a (mostly) tasteful mishmash of East-meets-West influences referencing Hong Kong and East Asia, from cliches such as tiger prints to Asian floral motifs on silk shirts and dresses.

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DSquared2 is far from the first fashion brand to be inspired by Asia, but the timing of this collection's launch, which was a pure coincidence, felt a bit off.

Based on the prices of similar DSquared2 items currently available for purchase, those Bruce Lee-printed T-shirts are likely to set you back at least HK$2,500 (S$436) when they hit stores next year, which is somewhat ironic given that you can get similar items at street markets in Hong Kong, and all over the internet, for a less than a tenth of the price.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.