In approaching the 45th anniversary of the Authority, we have witnessed a sustained transformation of our industry from manufacturing base into a global clothing sourcing hub. In our recent study of potential re-industrialisation of the local clothing industry, we have come to the conclusion that three key strategies would suffice; these include i) digitalised manufacturing and business models, ii) circular economy and resource efficiency, and iii) high value-added solutions. The Authority has therefore focused our work in selected areas amongst these key strategies.
In terms of digitalised manufacturing, we are keen on raising professionalism and upholding quality skillsets of practitioners in the industry. Among others, the application of 3D technology in the clothing industry has the greatest potential. Virtual design and sample making are rendered possible and efficient with the use of 3D technology. As such, the Authority and the Li Ka Shing School of Professional and Continuing Education joined hand to offer a new Higher Diploma in Digital Fashion Creation which admitted its first round of students in September 2019. This course provides specialised training for students about the application for the latest digital technologies in both fashion design and product development, such as 3D fashion design, digital patternmaking, virtual fitting and virtual fashion show etc.
Regarding the strategy of human resources development for providing a pool of professional practitioners, the success of the strategy hinges on a pillar of a well-established standardisation for the desired skillsets. In this regard, the Authority and stakeholders worked together to formulate a Specification of Competency Standards (SCS) which detailed the precise standard requirements for the respective skills needed for the industry. On top of this, the qualification framework classified the skills into seven levels which paved the ladder for career development. Also, the Authority provides support to the enterprises to implement the qualification framework for encouraging lifelong education and upgrading of overall capabilities of the practitioners. Last year, the Authority had already published the SCS which covered six functional areas for the clothing industry. To enrich the SCS, the Authority was re-appointed by Qualification Framework Secretariat to prepare four other functional areas, including Material development, Production planning and control, Technical support and Laundry service.
The Authority has also cooperates with various stakeholders to carry out different applied research and development projects in enhancing the strategic change of the local industry. One such project is Precise Controlling System at Assembly Winder which detects the yarn count and moisture content by measuring yarn weight instead of yarn length at the core winding process. Saving on production time and cost could be achieved due to the elimination of non-valueadded processes such as rewinding. Through this project, the Authority provided training and technical support to the industry to help them realising their innovative ideas into applicable devices.
The emergence of the concept coined as sustainability which advocated the incorporation of the environmentallyfriendly idea into business models and operations against the backdrop of the deteriorating environment is relatively new to the clothing industry. Notwithstanding this, the Authority organised various sorts of activities to increase enterprises’ recognition of this concept, and more importantly, to promote environmental-friendly strategy to the industry. The annual Fashion Summit (Hong Kong) has now attracted major attention for the industry, and the event in 2019 has included two roundtable meetings, a two-day conference and a Fashion Future Challenge Award.
The roundtable meetings brought together a wide spectrum of representatives from the fashion industry in Australia and Hong Kong to share knowledge about sustainability. Representatives from Australia shared their experience in successfully transforming their industry by developing smart-textiles, high-quality fibre and innovative shell fabrics. Invaluable experience was shared among industrialists of Hong Kong and Australia. The theme “Achieving the Goals” was originated from the 17 goals of a sustainable project endorsed by the United Nations, known as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The conference brought together the broadest cross-section of delegates from over 50 countries including the United Nations, NGOs, scholars, entrepreneurs and practitioners. The conference also brought together brands and start-ups to share their successful innovations and ideas. The Fashion Future Challenge Award was a 6-month long event aimed to arouse the interest of youths who were interested in sustainable fashion. The participants were asked to formulate innovative and viable proposals to cope with the anticipated challenges for the next 5 to 10 years.
In the past, the Authority strived for ongoing transformation to cope with the ever-changing economic and business environment both locally and globally. We count on the support from all stakeholders of the supply chain, and determine to maintain momentum for providing professional training activities of strategic human resources development for the industry.
May I express my gratitude to the new Chairman, Members, management and all colleagues of the Authority for their unfailing support and dedication to work during a most challenging period of the industry.