Goodwin Mok Chi-fung, a 17-year-old student from King George V School, showed how teenagers can make a difference by holding an exhibition and auction of jeans at the Conrad Hotel. He and a friend, Arnold Wong, raised HK$60,000 on Saturday in a project they call Beehive, and the money will go to renovating a school on the mainland.
The idea was born last year when the two young men visited Guizhou and were struck by the situation of poor students there.
'Kids there are studying in very poor conditions,' said Goodwin. 'The schools are falling apart, there are cracks on the wall and dirt on the ground. They don't have enough money to buy books, not to mention useable desks and chairs.'
He and Arnold, also 17, spent the entire summer in Guizhou teaching students and helping them repair their desks and chairs. After they returned from Guizhou, they had the idea of raising funds to renovate a school.
The timing was perfect, because the two had already been talking about how to raise awareness about global issues through a common interest - fashion. Originally they had wanted to help victims of the Sichuan earthquake, but after the trip to Guizhou, they realised students there needed even more help.
'We picked jeans as everyone wears them everywhere,' Goodwin said about the Beehive project.
'Beehive is the home of bees, and we'd like to be a beehive for the poor - we want to give them homes and support.'
Arnold organised the support of Grace Charity to help co-ordinate the school-building work, while Goodwin invited a friend of his grandfather, who is a factory owner, to help them produce the jeans. But they also needed manpower, which they found in friends.
One of them helped design the logo, while 17-year-old classmate Oscar Yeung contributed in terms of organisation and promotion. The first batch of 100 pairs of exclusive selvedge denim jeans were produced in a short time.
'Our debut collection featured around a dozen limited-edition jeans, with unique designs by young artists, who we want to provide good exposure to,' says Goodwin.
Altogether, eight artists provided designs. Some painted on the jeans, while others sewed designs or decorated the designs with fabrics and ornaments.
Lucy Croft, a classmate of Goodwin, says she has contributed to many design events, including an album cover for local pop band Mr and a giant mural outside her school for London-based pop singer Mika.
'Once I heard Goodwin needed help, I volunteered,' the 18-year-old said. 'If my creativity can help the poor, I can't think of a reason not to help.'
Another artist, Frances Segismundo, 17, said Beehive was a great opportunity for teenagers to show off their creativity.
Their hard work paid off when they raised HK$60,000 in the auction.
'e plan to organise a trip to the school again after the renovation work,'said Goodwin.
Goodwin said Beehive will be coming up with more products. Support them at www.beehiveproject.org