On 16 July 2022, 20 teenagers from vulnerable and challenging backgrounds, together with members of the Youth Crime Prevention Centre of The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG), presented 20 fashion collections they designed in collaboration with 76 students from PolyU, at the “#WYWT - What You Wear Tomorrow- Fashion Show”.
The 20 teenagers glammed themselves up for the runway presentation of the designs they had worked on together with the PolyU students. The event vividly showcased the creativity and confidence of the participants through their creations and aimed to encourage more of our young generation to stay true in life. The Show was co-organised by the PolyU School of Fashion and Textiles (SFT), (formerly known as the Institute of Textiles and Clothing), the PolyU Service-learning and Leadership Office and HKFYG. The idea was to unleash the teenagers’ creative potential and enhance their self-confidence. The programme also allowed the PolyU students to apply the practical skills they had acquired on their courses and enhance their sense of social responsibility through serving the community.
The Show was held at the HKFYG Building and Officiating Guests at the kick-off ceremony included Prof. Raymond WONG, Interim Dean of the SFT; Prof. Eric CHUI, Head of Department of Applied Social Science; Mr Wilson CHAN, Deputy Executive Director of HKFYG; Dr Joe AU and Dr Joanne YIP, Associate Deans of the SFT.
The project leader, Dr Jin LAM, who is also SFT Assistant Professor, said, “Through #WYWT’, we hope that the young generation can develop the strengths and talent within themselves and in others, and learn to appreciate and have confidence in themselves.
“While connecting the community with the positive <hashtag>, we believe that by using fashion as a medium, through the co-designed outfits, both the teenage participants and the PolyU students would be able to fully express their own unique values and potential and pluck up the courage to face life’s challenges.”
Mr Wilson CHAN, Deputy Executive Director of HKFYG remarked that, “I am a firm believer that everyone has talent, and I am so happy that this student-led project has given all the participants the opportunity to showcase their creativity and imagination. To participate in a process that encompasses every level of fashion production, from ideation to presentation, and by weaving art and fashion together to highlight their stories, both the PolyU students and the Federation’s teenage participants have gained a greater understanding of their strengths, thoughts and feelings. This will go a long way in building up their confidence and creativity.
Two of the participants, Yi and Hong, expressed their thoughts on their participation.
Yi, who had dreamed of being a teacher when she was young, had to contend with a difficult family environment, filled with misunderstandings, bickering and high expectations, which resulted in her becoming extremely stressed and exhibiting extreme behaviour. Joining the #WYWT programme, Yi was able to realise her innermost thoughts through textile art and incorporated her concepts into clothing design. In addition, by applying the calligraphy skills that she had learned, Yi also expressed her feelings in exquisite literary style by writing a chrysanthemum poem to convey her hopes of pursuing her goals.
Hong grew up with a single parent lacking financial and spiritual support, turning him into an introverted personality. However, with his talent in sports and in particular cycling, Hong had always wanted to become a professional cyclist and wear cycling outfits he had designed himself to represent Hong Kong in international competitions. He was unable to do this without adequate resources and support. However, working with his team in the #WYWT programme, Hong was able to integrate his ideas into the clothing design. Thus, he was able to demonstrate his determination by overcoming challenges and difficulties, and express himself boldly through his design and styling, while engaging in a unique experience that he says has enriched his life.