The trendhunters guide to being a Hong Kong hipster

PHOTO: Reuters

Hong Kong as Asia's shoppers' paradise is a place that marries the old and the new.

There is balance in the tussle between ancient Chinese tradition's firm roots and the inevitable creep of modern Western influences.

You see it in the quaint and cluttered back alley shops which lead you up to posh, wide streets lined with the dazzling bright lights of global designer labels. Within seconds, your view of Hong Kong is completely transformed.

But there is another tribe that's been thriving in the undergrowth of the blatantly visible - cool local hideouts that cater to the insatiable appetite of the Hong Kong hipster.

Here, you'll find the vintage or bespoke juxtaposed against cutting edge indie chic. Hell, you might even find something with a good mix of the lot! If all this is news to you, here's a guide to Hong Kong's hipster shopping wild side.

ATHLEISURE WEAR

Hong Kong's always been a city of sophisticated fashion. But now, on the streets, that glam is taking on a sporty edge.

Think designer trainers and tights mixed with blazers, or designer sweatpants with dress shoes.

"Athleisure represents a lifestyle," says Cindy Ko of popular style blog Cindiddy.com. "It's clothing that you can wear from breakfast straight to a hike. This trend hits the spot."

Celebrities like Gigi Hadid, Jessica Alba and Gwen Stefani have no qualms stepping out into the flashlights of the paparazzi, so why should you? As long as you're appropriately accessorised, you'll have your best game on.

Check out:

1. Loading

Achingly hip urban streetwear with a creative edge. The store carries a list of new and established independent labels from around the world with athleisure products such as sweatshirts, beanies, tank tops and even skateboards guaranteed to unleash the closet hipster in you.

Address: G/F-1/F, 43-45 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

2. Caelum Greene

This is not just a gorgeous lifestyle store boasting upmarket athleisure, it also sells home accessories and beauty products. Forget the run-of-the-mill and indulge in quality activewear from brands such as FP Movement, Daquini and Olympia that will make heads turn both in the gym and on the street.

Address: G/F-1/F, 90-92 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong Island

DIY ACCESSORIES

Self-expression is cool, obviously. So it's no surprise that DIY is the hippest trend in accessories. You can craft almost anything to your liking - from jewellery to glasses to leather bags - for that one-of-a-kind piece that'll set you apart.

"There's a big DIY trend in HK right now," says Baldwin Pui, co-founder of Fungus Workshop. "DIY workshops provide the opportunity to make something special, different and unique."

Best part is, you walk away with a bespoke, one-of-a-kind work of art you can claim credit for.

Check out:

1. Fungus Workshop

What happens when a leather goods designer brand collaborates with a lifestyle creative unit? You get hipster bespoke DIY leather bags and accessories that aim to break all the everyday rules of the craft, delivered in high quality of course.

Address: G/F, 4 Po Hing Fong, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island

2. Obellery

Founded in 2014 by acclaimed makers Hugo Yeung and Belinda Chang, this jewellery studio stocks unique and modern pieces of handcrafted wearable art from Hong Kong and beyond. The studio also holds regular workshops if you feel like crafting something special for yourself.

Address: PMQ, Shop H403, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong Island

SHOP AND CHILL

Both Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok have more than what you think a district can offer.

Take a stroll along Nathan Road or the streets of Mong Kok and you will be able to find lots of hidden treasure that's worth the buy!

Besides, you can also enjoy indie music that represents the voices of the new generation - with the likes of pop band My Little Airport and indie rockers Chochukmo. - sometimes without leaving the confines of a warm, fuzzy cafe with your cuppa.

"We now have a wide spectrum of bands, buskers and singer-songwriters," says radio DJ Dr Wong Chi-chung, one of the city's most influential music voices.

"These are the voices of the new generation."

Check out:

1. Cafe Hillywood

Located in a basement space which can host some 250 people, the cafe/bar is known for its wide selection of craft beer and food. The venue has a stage too, so it's not uncommon to see people streaming in for an indie gig.

Address: B/F, 152 Austin Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

2. Fullcup Cafe

A good gem is hard to find and this great place for coffee, teas and food is no exception.

Located within a building in Mong Kok, this four-floor hipster hangout is decked with Scandinavian-inspired meets 1960s vintage furnishings that's guaranteed to bring back that groovy feeling.

It's a quiet hideaway from the hustle and bustle of the city where you can chill and relax, read a book or watch a live band perform on stage every Sunday afternoon.

Address: 3-7/F Hanway Commercial Centre, 36 Dundas Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon

POHO - HONG KONG'S HIPSTER NEIGHBOURHOOD

Poho is a neighbourhood which offers a snapshot of the bohemian and funky side of Hong Kong's Sheung Wan area.

What was once the site of a government pound where stray livestock were kept is now a thriving community of artsy galleries, boutiques and shops. It's no wonder so many hipster types have descended upon it and called PoHo home.

 

Check out:

1. 15 Square Street

A creative workshop and store run by a watch designer, where you will find VOID watches and shoes that he co-created as well as leather goods.

The Sweden-born shop owner often heads to northern Europe to source for products and also collaborates with local designers to curate an interesting minimalist selection.

Fret not: Their products cater to both men and women and their range which includes bags, shoes, and watches will promise something for everyone.

Address: 15 Square Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island

2. InBetween

Stepping into this tiny world of antiques is like entering a mini flea market. The retro-obsessed shop owner handpicks items with over 40 years of history from Paris.

Every item comes with a mesmerising story to charm its audience. You'll find vintage watches and jewellery, movie posters, and even kitchenware and home appliances.

It's also a place for new artists to showcase their work so your retail experience is always fresh with new ideas.

Address: 6B Tai Ping Shan Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island

JOINED AT THE HIP: WHERE SHOPPING GETS ORIGINAL

You'll find giant designer malls with international brands to match those in New York and London.

There is also an abundance of street markets selling trinkets, t-shirts and souvenirs. But Hong Kong also boasts a number of quirky designer boutiques, local fashion brands and offbeat neighbourhoods that cater to the taste of the modern hipster.

1. Juice

A fashion and lifestyle store from local celebrities Edison Chen and Kevin Poon that's grown into a respected voice on music, fashion and design.

It was opened in 2003 to provide "Hong Kong urban heads with a legit way to buy official streetwear at market price".  But it's grown into must-go place for edgy clothing, bags, hats and sneakers.

Address: 9-11 Cleveland Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island

2. Volare Concept Shop

Designer Franco Yeung customizes leather goods with a twist in this upstairs concept store-lace-up boots, rustic iPad cases and old-school messenger bags. Franco has dabbled in design all his life: He was once an architecture student before becoming an interior designer and later studied fashion design in Italy and Israel.

Aside from his own handmade creations which have been showcased around the world, he also stocks products by other designers. Be sure to make an appointment before visiting.

Address: 2B Fairview Mansion, 51 Paterson Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island

3. Kapok on Sun Street

A trendy, successful Hong Kong brand selling unique fashion, accessories and gadgets lovingly curated by French owner Arnault Castel.

Expect to find items that would appeal to both men and women such as t-shirts, canvas tote bags, watches and an extensive collection of Moleskine diaries.

There store also boasts a cafe and an outdoor table outside for you to watch the world go by as you get your caffeine fix.

Address: 3 Sun Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island

For more information, please visit discoverhongkong.com

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