Hong Kong Heritage
Raise your shopping game when it comes to souvenirs in Hong Kong. Here, Fah Thai rounds up an indispensable list of the island’s unique mementos depicting iconic places and objects that are truly Hong Kong.
Words: MC Lai
Inspiring pieces by talented and local designers capture a piece of the city’s history in cool designs and fun objects. Rather than a keychain or a t-shirt there as you explore Kowloon, Stanley market and the abundance of souvenir gift shops around Cat Street; how about some dim sum salt and pepper shakers for a friend? Those tote bags in the ubiquitous red, white, blue pattern seen in markets for years? They are reborn in a contemporary style.
It would be better to remember the good times you had in Hong Kong with new and trendy keepsakes from locally established designers already recognised internationally. When visiting the island, make it a point to check out popular destinations like 2squared or PMQ (pmq.org.hk), an ideal one-stop shopping complex for lifestyle and boutique items.
In 2009, the site became a hub for design and creative industries. You’ll find around 100 design and creative retail shops in what used to be former residential quarters for the police, now converted into a retail destination.
A veritable temple of Hong Kong-themed merchandise is Goods of Desire – G.O.D. for those in the know (god.com.hk). In the local dialect, the name means ‘to live better’ as it phonetically resembles the characters, ‘G.O.D.’ Done with pride and humour, their designs reflect symbolic icons uniquely found on the island and turned into practical everyday items. Grab a pair of slippers, oven mitts and practical home items with motifs of favourite spots in Hong Kong. Fun items include flip-flops and umbrellas to key chains with familiar retro designs.
Douglas Young co-founded G.O.D. with Benjamin Lau in 1996, in a bid to promote a Hong Kong brand he said is “both forward-looking and proud of its cultural origins.” Many shops already promoting local designers look to his work as being representative of Hong Kong iconic designs. Tea towels with the Good Morning motif make ideal choices as these quintessential hand towels have been around for decades and still found in supermarkets on the island. Tote bags cheekily declare allegiance to being a Hong Konger while easy, everyday bag essentials like coin persons in shape of a Hong Kong mailbox would delight any gift recipient. While this popular shop is on site at PMQ, other locations are scattered around Hong Kong.
At Kapok (ka-pok.com), named after the tropical tree and founded by Frenchman Arnault Castel, the lifestyle shop acts as the perfect curator for the gathering of exceptional local brands. Arnault started a series of collaborations with various Hong Kong designers for the PMQ project, gathering the best of local designers.
Among some of the local talents include Tania Mills. Based locally, Mills was already known as a relevant illustrator for media publications and together with Kapok’s launched a new series of products with the theme of ‘I Love Hong Kong.” Kapok also has ditto ditto — (dittoditto.net) letterpress postcards of Hong Kong landmarks illustrated and handmade by p.s. chan. Her washi tape designs of Victoria Harbour can spark thoughts of many DIY projects.