I know I talked a lot about overpriced luxury brands in my last post, but if you ask any of the hip young locals where they shop, they'd probably point you in a completely different direction. Yes, on the surface, it might look like logos rule this city, but those who care more about style than just dressing up in branded gear have long developed their own, usually more eccentric look. HK's biggest idol in this movement has always been Japan. And while local kids used to dress a lot more over-the-top than they do know, Japanese fashion still remains a key style influence. It's no surprise that Japanese brands are very easy to find here, whether it's Comme des Garçons, Uniqlo or more obscure labels that can be found in smaller indie malls. And to keep everyone happy, local brands that cater to this trend have popped up as well.
One such brand is 2% (or 'Two Percent'), a high street label that was founded in 1994, with a group of professional designers in charge of creating looks that represent Japanese hip and chic style. A few years later, a more sophisticated line '+-x÷' was added, followed by two more brands 'th:' and 'ODF' which specialize in unisex pieces and more quirky colorful clothes respectively. None of these ranges are as crazy as one might imagine, based on Japanese street style. Everything is very wearable. And as cute or kitschy as some of the lookbook shots might appear, the pieces looked very normal in-store. Which isn't to say the clothes are boring.
The store I went to was tucked in a busy side street in Causeway Bay, though there are over a dozen retail spaces scattered throughout HK and I believe there are larger shops than the one I visited. Nevertheless, this outlet stocked all the brands, but because of the limited size of the sales area, clothes were stacked together so tight on the racks, I had a hard time pulling them out. Combined with the crowds of people, this made browsing (let alone taking pictures) quite a challenge. The ground floor displayed the range of the regular 2% line and racks were in some cases positioned on top of each other, so I did end up spending quite a long time in the same corner. Of course this is HK, where space is hard to find, so don't be surprised if some stores do cram as much as they can into their little retail havens.
So many clothes, so little space... overview of the ground floor from the stairs (left) and colorful bags near the cash desk (right).
Plaid and sparkly jackets lined up in a row (left), a selection of leather boots (top) and chunky knits (lower right).
Even though the ground floor, with its black walls and minimal decor lacked any sort of charm, the clothes made up for it. I'm still kicking myself for not snatching up a pair of slouchy pin-striped trousers that came with matching leather braces/suspenders. There were cute frilly dresses, fitted sparkly tank tops and many colorful accessories courtesy of the ODF line, including bags, head pieces, hats with bunny ears (very cute) and scarves. Of course you had a few classics as well, such as basic tees, knits and simple white blouses. Most items were on sale at the time, so the pricing was incredibly low, though even without the sales, prices will match what most lower-end high street stores are asking for.
One floor up is where I found the more low-key '+-x÷' range, which was dominated by classic trench coats, light dresses, plaid tops and cool military jackets. Despite the clothes here being more my style, I couldn't keep my eyes off the accessories, which included the softest faux-fur collars and printed trilbies. The area was a little brighter than the previous one, mainly because of the white walls and sparkly floor, which added to the girly charm. But stuff was still crammed into racks against the wall. Surprisingly the accessories shelf was quite bare in comparison. I'd also like to note that 2% makes some great shoes. The patent booties with a wool trim looked both cosy and chic, while the neutral-hued sandals would be perfect for SS10.
On to the last floor is where the men's collection was housed along with the unisex label 'th:'. Again, these items are more low-key, so anything you buy here will last you beyond a few seasons. This was also the only area that seemed to have a bit of personality, probably a result of the wooden floors and shelves, giving everything more rustic vibe. Most of the clothes were geared towards winter, with thick coats, puffa jackets and chunky knits taking up most of the wall space. Again I was drawn to the accessories, this time the metallic wool scarves and (yet again) some very swanky hats.
More menswear than you have time to browse. Hats are a popular accessory (top) and the large changing rooms (lower right).
A few cool touches courtesy of the illuminated posters (left) and wooden beams add to the rustic look (right).
A great place to stock up on more 'local' fashion, even if it is Japan inspired. But to be honest, I wouldn't have guessed where the inspiration came from if I hadn't read up on the brand and viewed the lookbooks. The collections are a good balance between trendy and timeless and can easily be integrated into any wardrobe. Because of the various sub lines, there's a look to suit any taste, whether it's bright and fun, cool and edgy or classic chic. Good news to those who live in Australia, New Zealand or Canada... 2% is stocked there, as well as China, Taiwan and Malaysia, so check it out if you get a chance. Hopefully they'll create an online store in the near future, but until they do, you'll just have to pay HK a little visit.
Slightly more quirky... the ODF range which includes bunny ear hats and leopard print vests (images: 2%).Address: 4 Cannon Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Opening Hrs: Mon-Sun: 11:00-23:00