Watch This | Sun Museum presents new exhibition 'HKI Knits', making name in fashion world
Sun Museum presents the retrospective exhibition "HKI Knits – 50th Anniversary of the Founding of HKI Group" from May 24 to August 5, 2023. The exhibition showcases iconic knitted ready-to-wear by the 10 fashion brands under the Hong Kong International Group (HKI Group) since its establishment in 1969, along with rare textile machinery and historical photos, to illustrate the history of Hong Kong textiles, culture, and fashion design. It is about the legendary success of the HKI Group, an archetype of Hong Kong enterprises breaking into the European, American, and Japanese markets with courage, perseverance, and wisdom.
Divided into six units, the exhibition reviews the major milestones of the HKI Group and describes the ups and downs of the Hong Kong textile and garment industry. The first unit traces the struggle of Dr. Jose S.S. Yu, Chairman of the HKI Group, as he headed the group to the fashion runways of Europe and US in the mid-1970s. The second unit introduces the group's most recognized brand, Malina Wong. The third unit outlines the group's further market expansion through the launch of brands targeting different consumer groups. The fourth unit focuses on Dr. Yu 's innovative management styles, encouraging employees to start new businesses and create new brands as dominant shareholder. The fifth unit presents HKI's faith into the opening-up and reform of the Mainland, entering China's garment and retail markets. The sixth unit tells the story of the group's building of factories in Mainland China, reviving the silk textile industry in the Jiangnan region.
Malina Wong is the greatest achievement of the HKI Group, which was exceptionally well-received in Europe. Its collection radiates a unique connection of East and West aesthetics, with the use of imitation gemstones, sequins, crystals, beads, and embroidery. This exhibition showcases iconic products of Malina Wong, some of which are precious items collected from auction markets worldwide, reviving the Hong Kong fashion brand that once dominated the European and US markets from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. In addition to Malina Wong, the exhibition also showcases other brands that HKI Group launched in the European and US markets, such as CORALINA, a women's wear brand that targets middle class and young ladies; FIRST MING (1987-1995); the knitwear brand VIENTO@DONNA (1998-2018); ADVANCE (1990-2000) for young women; Q-CON with trendy sweaters and T-shirts; Cassis, Six-O-Seven, Zaubermond with minimalist styles, and TantPourElle (2000-2007), a brand with French chic.
The exhibition also features textile machinery from different eras equipped with the most advanced technology of the time, such as automatic knitting machines to create complicated patterns, and intarsia machines to realize multi-pattern designs (Intarsia). These machines could produce products with complicated designs and sophisticated craftsmanship, even modifying the final content of the knitted product. Not only did they overcome the quota restrictions on Hong Kong textile products overseas at that time, but the products were also delicate and avant-garde, making Hong Kong fashion highly regarded by international fashionists.
Mr. Yeung Chun-Tong, Director of Sun Museum, said: "Dr. Jose S.S. Yu, who is the leader of HKI Group, utilized the strength of Hong Kong as the crossroads of East and West, creating distinctive products that won the recognition of the international fashion industry. In the last 50 years, HKI has met with success and setbacks. What helped them to cope with every challenge was the flexible, resilient, innovative and enterprising spirit of the Hong Kong people. They serve as a role model for Hong Kong enterprises."
Sun Museum is located on the 4th floor of SML Tower, 165 Hoi Bun Road, Kwun Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong. The museum is open from 10 am to 6 pm, Tuesday to Saturday. It is closed on Sundays, Mondays and public holidays. Admission is free.