Fabric Hunting Madness In Hong Kong


Sham Shui Po District is probably Hong Kong's earliest industrial and commercial centre. Wholesale and retail businesses of mainly textile and clothing, apparel, piece goods and non-staple food are concentrated in Cheung Sha Wan and Lai Chi Kok. Sham Shui Po District is also a distribution centre for computer and electronic goods, and its computer shopping centres are famous to all residents and visitors.

Walking from shop to shop is like being in a designer's dreamland; you can sample fabrics of various colours, textures, and materials, or browse through the latest styles and patterns and easily get trapped there for hours. It was a challenge to sort and sift through so many different fabrics for our Karner bags. Young designers and trendy cafés popping up in Sham Shui Po has hailed it as the next Williamsburg of Hong Kong. It seems lifestyle and fitness are the most current trends in Hong Kong.

In Sham Shui Po, one can immerse oneself in a world of fabrics containing a vast number of colours, materials, and textures. A designer could get a lot of inspiration to make just about anything by walking through the neighbourhoods around the garment district. There is everything from YKK zippers to polyester mesh, water-resistant material, TPU, and various die-cast hardware. With multiple materials to choose from, deciding on the style becomes a problem. The clerks are quiet and sit at the back of the shop. There are hundreds of rows of pattern swatch cards pinned up on all sides of the shop, and that is just one shop out of dozens here. Once you have decided on a few swatches, you'll call them to get you some samples from their warehouse and cut you a few feet for HKD 100 (USD 12) to HKD 200 (USD 26) per foot of material to cut and try.

Once we collected the samples and tested the fabric, we were ready to make some quick and easy mock-ups to try for size and proportions. The duffel was made that way first, then the backpack as well. The process is a simple and is the quickest way to see results and the potential of how the bags would be assembled during the final prototype stages.