• Fashion stylist and image consultant Veronica Li speaks to The Mag about her foray into fashion, her personal style, and upcoming trends for 2021.
• She thinks the recent industry focus on sustainability has led to the rise of slow fashion.
• She recommends the “plus one, minus one” strategy in keeping a balanced wardrobe.
• Her trend predictions include modern minimalism, unisex designs, and work outfits that emphasise the upper body.
Our world is changing at a rapid pace – what does the future hold for fashion?
Veronica Li plunged into the fashion world seven years ago with her style blog, Vnika Li. What started as a hobby eventually became a lot more for her – over the years, she’s made a name for herself by working with brands and dressing celebrities like Grace Chan, Fiona Sit and Louisa Mak. Today she’s a professional stylist with her own image consulting agency and studio. So if you want to know what the next big thing in fashion is, ask her!
Hi Veronica! You were a fine arts and multimedia graduate. What made you pursue a career in fashion?
VL: To me, fashion is an attitude, a means to project a message, enhance your presence and boost confidence. But rather than fashion design, I was more into throwing different pieces together to create a unique image. So when I came back to Hong Kong from Vancouver, I decided to take a course in fashion styling and did an internship assisting the renowned stylist Denise Ho. I also started my blog that summer, which has since opened many doors for me.
How would you describe your style, then?
VL: I always go for a timeless, elegant look with figure-flattering clothes. Recently, I like to wear neutral tones with a pop of colour and simple accessories. I’m very much inspired by the 50s, when Dior’s “New Look”, featuring a defined waistline and a full A-line skirt, revolutionised women’s fashion. I’m also a huge fan of Audrey Hepburn, who always exuded a special kind of confidence and gracefulness.
You’ve been in the industry for a while now; how has fashion changed over the years?
VL: The most prominent thing is how the Fashion Week schedule has changed. Designers used to have to churn out collections after collections within a year, but some brands started to experiment with different schedules to produce fewer but bigger, seasonless collections. Last year, because of the pandemic, this shift became even more prominent. I think this is a much more sustainable plan for designers to create more authentic, high-quality garments.
“People are buying more consciously and they see the value of investing in high-quality pieces that will last.”
Another key shift has been the emphasis on sustainability. As consumers are asking for more sustainable options, brands are responding by incorporating green and ethical practices and running campaigns on sustainability to raise awareness. A memorable example is Dior’s show in 2019 – as a nod to nature, they filled the stage with real trees that they later replanted.
Do you think these changes will continue into the future?
VL: I surely hope so. Fashion might be a sales-driven industry, but we’re also trying to be more responsible. Slow fashion is on the rise again after two decades of fast fashion dominating the market. People are buying more consciously and they see the value of investing in high-quality pieces that will last. Second-hand platforms that incorporate excellent quality control practices, such as Vestiaire Collective and Hula, are also making it easier to buy pre-loved items these days.
Does this mean that fast fashion is “out”?
VL: Of course, fast fashion will still be around – it’s trendy and affordable, so there will always be a market. Sometimes, I also shop fast fashion for items but I use the “plus one, minus one” strategy to keep a balance in my wardrobe. It means every time I buy something, I also have to donate something to charity. This way, I always think five times before spending and cherish what I have more.
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What else are on the horizon for fashion this year?
VL: We’re going minimalistic – but it’s not monochromatic. Often referred to as “modern minimalism”, this style features neutral colours such as beige, khaki and blue, which evoke nature and are quite calming.
We’ll also be seeing more unisex designs. Dunhill, for instance, is mainly a menswear brand, but now they’re selling unisex blazers too. Combat boots are another great example. We used to associate them with a more masculine style, but this year we’ll see them worn in more refined ways – with a maxi dress, for example. They’ll also be available in many more colours, with different embellishments to create a younger, unisex look.
How about workplace fashion – how are we going to dress for work in 2021?
VL: We did a lot of virtual meetings last year, and I think this will continue to be the case in 2021, even though we’re back in the office. So pay more attention to the upper body in terms of work clothes – think tops with collar details, ruffled shirts, dangly earrings and necklaces. For the lower body, more comfortable choices like trousers or loose maxi skirts are preferred. And ladies, don’t forget your make-up! Go for bold lips for a stronger presence, or at least do your eyebrows and eyeliner to look awake on camera.
Fashion trends change rapidly. How do you make them work for you?
VL: Fashion comes and goes, but personal style is timeless. Not all trends are suitable for everyone, so the most important thing is to know what fits your body shape and character, and feel comfortable in it. There is, however, a trick to incorporate trends that don’t suit you into your wardrobe. Let’s say you like the trend colour but you don’t look great in it – then try it as a handbag or other accessories instead of a full outfit. Wear the trend, not the other way around!
Follow Veronica on Instagram @vnikali or visit her website for more.
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