Photo taken purely by chance (HEHE how convenient), the main entrance to the mall
So I'm finally back in the city after being almost two years away and everything has been...well disorienting would be the most accurate word in describing not just how I feel being jet-lagged and all, but also how the city feels in general. The Hong Kong fashion blogosphere blossomed and grew tremendously in 2011, and while such #HKbloggers (Superwowomg, T Like Bubble Tea, Carmen Chan, Sam is Home are few that instantly comes to mind) provide excellent coverage of all chic and chi chi in the city, the scope is still a little too narrow to paint a fuller picture of HK as I'd like. Given that it's pretty much impossible just because it's such a big city of more than eight million calling it home, I thought it's still worth a try and so I'm going take a (few) stab at it while I'm here on my own. Take that Cathy Horyn! I've been interested in more of the decidedly un-glamourous underbelly of the local fashion scene anyway. In my search for familiarity within the city and in want of original material to blog, I found my way back to Mongkok, over on the Kowloon side's Argyle Center, which was my Forever 21 back in ye olde days if it ran on steroids.
The photos aren't the best due to several factors, which includes the fact that this is the first time I've use the camera and that I tried to take the shots as quickly as possible to get out of people's way. While I get why store owners would be annoyed easily if someone is obstructing their business (I'm just trying to get food on the table and pay the bills YO), some can be just downright mean for no real reason. Thankfully I avoided getting yelled at but the quality of the photos are compromised as a result.
The mall is extremely small and cramped, with the merchandise piled high on top of another. Music ranging from the Billboard Top 20 to local C-Poppy and K-Boppy tunes is blared from multiple speakers of the different stores. The ceilings are low and bright lights flash from every corner. Sensory overload much? I should probably also add that the there is only really one size for all the clothing and that there are no changing rooms. Everything sold in the mall is cheap, of horrendous quality and super trendy––essentially everything I am against. So why is it worth a visit? Even though I will never buy anything from the place nowadays, the place is where the average female teenager can go to keep up with the trends. The mall has managed to thrive in the face of big name competitors such as H&M and Zara in the city, most probably because of the sheer amount and range of items they are able to sell for unbeatable prices and how the merchandise of each store can change over the course of a single day. The amount of variety guarantees wide appeal and the sensitivity to the fickle tastes of young females all over ensures that something would sell at the end of day (I imagine if it senses something that doesn't sell, owners of each store (more like stalls if you ask me) will remove it promptly for something that will). The reigning fashion bible of the city continues to be the Japanese magazine Vivi and thus snippets and different tear outs of the editorials can be found plastered all over the place so that it can be copied down to a tee.
At the end of the day, I think this place is great place because one can test out what works and what doesn't at a minimal cost before committing to the real deal. It is a given that no one should actually attempt to build a wardrobe with the pieces here and I doubt that's what people have in mind when they shop here. The (generally) young and experimental demographic that stores attract reflects this idea. The stores are really quite harmless, if you treat as a kind of a fashion fast food meal that is palatable and tolerable...in small doses.