Showcasing the power of an inclusive community
HONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach – 20 July 2023 – 76 students of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and 20 students of the Hong Chi Association showcased 20 sets of their creative work at the “Fashion for Diversity 2023” on 24 June 2023. Their works encapsulated their creative ideas and distinct personalities to show that fashion is more than just styles and trends, it can also help to build a more inclusive community.
“Fashion For Diversity 2023” was a collaborative effort by the School of Fashion and Textiles (SFT) and the Service Learning and Leadership Office of PolyU, as well as the Hong Chi Association. The project aimed to promote community care through fashion styling and design. It provided an immersive learning experience for PolyU students, stimulating their creativity and talent while nurturing them into becoming active members of the community. “Fashion For Diversity 2023” helped to spread the message of inclusivity and compassion within society. The Hong Chi Association students enjoyed the experience of designing and establishing their own unique styles and were fully engaged in realising their dreams, which gave them an immense sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
Officiating Guests included Ms Zuie LIN, General Secretary of Hong Chi Association, Dr Grace NGAI, Head of the Service-Learning and Leadership Office, PolyU, Dr Joe AU, Associate Dean of SFT, PolyU, Ms Terry WU, Manager of Hong Chi District Support Centre (Kwun Tong West of Hong Chi Association, Ms Pui Fong YAM, Services Supervisor of Hong Chi Association, Ms Sara CHEUNG, Services Supervisor of Hong Chi Association, Ms Jessica LEE, Manager of Hong Chi District Support Centre-N.T (North District), Hong Chi Association and Dr Jin LAM, the project coordinator of “Fashion For Diversity 2023”.
Dr LAM said, “This is the eighth year of the Service-Learning Programme’s collaborative fashion show project at the PolyU and this year is particularly significant as Hong Kong is facing a major challenge in terms of mental health issues. Unlike previous programmes, this year’s event brought together people with different special needs through an outreach format, promoting engagement and interaction in an inclusive arts community.
“Work designed by students from the PolyU and the Hong Chi Association were featured in the fashion show to demonstrate the unique and diverse fashion art ecology. This will help to raise public awareness and understanding of individuals with special needs, enabling them to better integrate into society and receive more opportunities and support.”
During the event, 20 students from the Hong Chi Association showcased their fashion designs created in collaboration with students from the PolyU. Wearing vibrant makeup, they were transformed into professional models and confidently unveiled their fashion sense on the stage, sharing their design achievements with the audience.
Two participants in the programme, Tung and King, also displayed their creative fashion potential at the event. Tung has autism and tends to be more passive and introverted. She rarely interacts with people and mainly expresses her thoughts and feelings through drawing. However, through the programme, Tung went above and beyond to engage in the creative process and interacted actively with the PolyU students, both online and offline. She shared her design concepts and ideas assuredly, while also showcasing her impressive talent for creating works with an unexpected palace style. Tung and her teammates from the PolyU collaborated on designing masks, which turned out to be a significant breakthrough for her social anxiety. From initially being too afraid to look at people, she gained the confidence to step onto the stage and face the audience, demonstrating an inspiring and impressive improvement.
King has a mild intellectual disability, and just like others involved in “Fashion for Diversity 2023” the event changed her passive and shy personality, allowing her to become the protagonist of her own life.
King tended to lack strong opinions and lived more as a follower, but in this case, she fully immersed herself in the event and showed great enthusiasm for fashion design. Not only did she bravely express her ideas to the PolyU team members, but she also learned techniques such as printing patterns and patchwork. Staging her fashion was challenging, but with the encouragement of the PolyU student team members and with dedicated and constant practice, King stepped out of her comfort zone. In the end, she showcased a creative denim outfit, which surprised and inspired the audience.
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