It’s safe to call Chris Ran Lin a global citizen. Born in China, the fashion designer later lived in Hong Kong for a few years and now calls Melbourne home. He founded his namesake fashion label here in 2013, and soon plans to expand his head-turning, slightly left-of-centre array of men’s knit jackets, jumpers and coats, adding womenswear for the first time ever, plus an international online store.
Lin still heads back to Hong Kong at least twice a year, both for work-related research and to visit friends, so of course he has plenty of favourite shopping spots amid the city’s ubiquitous bustle. “[Hong Kong] is changing, but it still has that international feel,” he says. “Some people just go there as a bridging destination and maybe take a couple days visiting. You can go from Hong Kong to any other city, so it’s pretty convenient.”
Whatever your time or goal in Hong Kong might be, Lin offers up his unmissable destinations, ranging from the biggest names to the best-kept secrets.
“It’s a department store [but also a] boutique,” Lin says. “You can find anything there, like international labels and labels from Hong Kong and China.” With four major locations, including at Times Square and IFC Mall, Lane Crawford is an essential visiting experience that Lin likens to a souped-up David Jones – one with much more on offer. “I’m selling my designs there as well – that’s why it’s the first thing I recommend,” he adds with a laugh.
With a location right next to the Lane Crawford on Canton Road in Harbour City, Joyce is equally hard to pass up. “You can find something really niche, both in menswear and womenswear,” says Lin. “All the fashion brands you can imagine, you can find there.” Founded in 1971, this is one of Hong Kong’s true anchors for fashion retail, with a wow factor that makes it popular with visitors. According to Lin,“ even if you’re not thinking of buying anything, it’s a viewing experience”.
This high-traffic hub for international fashion has locations in Harbour City and beyond, plus a more casual younger sibling, styled I.t, which Lin recommends for streetwear. “So it’s a really different experience” at each, he says. Newer than Lin’s first two choices, I.T is edgier and more modern in its presentation, but still has plenty of variety.
In addition to the household names (locally, at least) listed above, Lin recommends going in the opposite direction and exploring the many thousands of obscure fashion shops peppered throughout the city – in particular, the areas of Tsim Sha Tsui, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Central and Mong Kok. “You have to go into a shopping area and take a whole afternoon,” he says. “If you want to discover something unique and fun, you really have to go into a place and look for it.” Even the airport’s duty-free shopping falls under this category. “It’s a really big city, and sometimes it’s hard to tell you where to go,” he adds. “You just have to find your way.”
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