The previous entries to this series are part 1, part 2 and part 3. The full size photos of my trip are here. Some of us are planning a sourcing trip to Hong Kong. See the thread in the forum if you’re interested.
By the third day, I vowed not to return to Sham Shui Po. Not that it reflects badly on the area, but the truth is I was simply overwhelmed. Just when I thought I had reached my limit, I would find another shop with yet more fabrics or trims. I did the usual, Prince Edward station and vowed to walk straight up Yu Chau, until I reached the trims, I promised myself I would not get sidetracked by wandering into another fabric showroom, but somehow, more showrooms came out of nowhere.
Any Harry Potter fan will remember the hidden buildings, only visible when wizards approach. Two buildings spread apart to reveal a third, unnoticed by muggles. Well, that’s what I felt was happening. I kept discovering places I had walked right past before. Each time I vowed not to get sidetracked, but each time I was glad I did, as I found something that made it worthwhile.
This day, I spent more time viewing button showrooms. I love laces and ribbons have little use for buttons, but I would have been a complete waste of time to come to the area and overlook these tiny shops. The button shops were a sight to behold. Mind you, I have never been inside a button showroom of any kind, the closest thing to this I had ever witnessed is the button area of Britex Fabrics in San Francisco, where buttons are stored in tiny drawers but samples are attached to the front, so that you are able to select your button.
The button shops are aisles of tons of small drawers of buttons. Designers scramble with sheets of paper, with sketches, notes and fabric swatches, trying to find buttons that match. If you need a sample, most shops welcome you to take one; many provide small ziplock bags with space for you to record the item details. Some showrooms are just drawers of buttons, some have displays (seductively lit, I might add), showcasing the accoutrements you must locate in a drawer below.
Not only are there tons of button and closure shops, there are many, many shops solely dedicated to handbag and belt hardware. Some shops carry the typical offerings and some carry the elegantly designed and aesthetically pleasing. While many shops will allow complimentary button samples, handbag hardware is usually available for sale at a sample price.
Addicted to Sham Shui Po, I even came back on a Saturday after visiting Stanley Beach, hoping to view more buttons, even though I knew that while many shops would be open, many would be closed. I wandered into a bead store and spent over an hour purchasing bags and bags of beads for my daughter (they were sold by the pound, mostly $78 HKD per pound). After that, I declared that this time, I was truly finished and said goodbye to Sham Shui Po.