Many major international events were postponed or cancelled from the Covid-19 pandemic because it cannot be easy to adapt to the challenging times and still find the means to stage a grand scale event safely. But this is exactly what the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) did to go ahead with their annual ‘Centrestage’ digital fashion show.

Combining traditional runway shows with computer-generated imagery, Centrestage proves how major events can be redefined when situations call for it.

Now on its fifth year, the fashion extravaganza – which always brings designers, buyers and fashionistas from around the globe to the bustling city of Hong Kong – was not allowing the global pandemic to stop them from showcasing the best works of the region.

The event successfully staged six virtual runways from for three consecutive days in September on its website and official Facebook page. These shows included “Fashion Hong Kong”, “Next in Cheongsam”, “FASHIONALLY #15”, “Taipei in Style”, “Hong Kong en Vogue” and the final of the Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers’ Contest (YDC) 2020.

Taking the cue from the effects of the pandemic, this year’s edition adapted the central theme, “A World of PHYGITAL,” wherein the series combined physical and digital elements to prove that fashion shows can be redefined when the situation calls for it.

For its opening salvo, the virtual fashion show feted homegrown design units that have all taken part in New York or London Fashion Week events, namely Mountain Yam, Sun Lam, Yeung Chin, Bettie Jiang, Doris Kath Chan, Glori Tsu, design duo Jessica Lau and Walter Kong, and Angus Tsui.

“This year presents a very challenging time for economies and businesses around the world. Despite the disruptions brought by the pandemic, the fashion industry is still forging ahead. In response to the current situation, Centrestage has successfully transformed into a digital fashion platform with a series of virtual runway shows, showcasing the latest collections from Hong Kong and Asian brands to fashion lovers and media from around the world. I am pleased to see designers overcoming challenges by coming up with creative responses to the ‘new normal,’ launching their collections on the HKTDC’s online platform to gain exposure and expand their networks,” Benjamin Chau, HKTDC Deputy Executive Director, shared in a statement.

The Centrestage website aggregated 240 brands from 23 countries and regions, including 130 new joiners such as Korean streetwear brand FlenoSeoul (under Gyeonggi Creative Fashion Studio Korea) and Taiwanese canvas craft brand Guang Fu Hao, just to name a few.

All throughout the three-day virtual event, Centrestage combined traditional runway shows with computer-generated imagery, producing unique showcases that caught the attention of fashion lovers and media from around the world as if it were one of the agency’s past four outings.