Surprisingly for someone who has become one of Hong Kong's creative icons, fashion designer Dorian Ho says the city itself is not a place in which people can easily get inspired.

"What is great about Hong Kong is also what makes it tough for creative minds,'' Ho told Relaxnews on the eve of Hong Kong Fashion Week, Asia's largest fashion event, which runs January 18-21.

"The city's intensity means you can get things done but often it also means you don't have time to think as well. But the city is and always will be an influence on fashion all over the world, not only for our designs but the fact that this is one of the places people come when they want to get things made.''

Ho emerged in the 1990s as one of the world's most exciting - and sought after - fashion designers and his creations can now be found at Barneys Japan in Tokyo and Saks Fifth Avenue.

And his work will take pride of place at this year's Hong Kong Fashion Week as part of the Hong Kong Fashion Extravaganza catwalk alongside mainland China's Guo Pei and Frankie Xie and Japan's Toshikazu Iwaya.

More than 2,000 exhibitors from 30 countries have signed on for the event, which will be staged at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in the city's central Wan Chai district.

Hong Kong and the surrounding Pearl River Delta is a major sourcing destination for fashion industry buyers and Fashion Week allows the industry to not only see what is going on in terms of the design world, but what new garments can be found.

But it is also about the catwalk - and about the parties.

As the largest annual fashion industry gathering in Asia, the event has this year expanded its World Boutique section, which showcases designer labels and has attracted 250 exhibitors from 19 countries and regions.

Among those appearing for the first time will be The Underground Quarter by Londonedge, a group of 11 exhibitors from the United States and Europe that features alternative, rock or street fashion.

The work of British designer Vivienne Westwood will also be a focus of a seminar organizers say will "decode'' her legendary design career. The Vivienne Westwood brand will also use the Hong Kong event to debut its crossover series with Lee Jeans.

Organizers, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, said in a press release the increase in numbers at this year's event could be put down to the gradual economic recovery in the West

Hong Kong Fashion Week for Fall/Winter

January 18-21

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre