Riding China’s Luxury Fashion Wave

Despite warnings against hyping gourmet foods and luxury clothing, western clothing brands are still looking towards China. Previously, luxury brands sought the young and affluent Chinese buyer, now high street fashion brands are also vying for the Chinese market, from the BBC:

Luxury labels have thrived in China and now their cheaper High Street counterparts are betting that young, fashion-conscious shoppers like Ms Yu, 20, will help them weather weak economies in their home markets in the US and Europe.

“They target a very different consumer segment compared to their luxury counterparts, but being Western brands they will always have a certain cachet with the Chinese consumer,” says Ashma Kunde, a London-based global retail analyst at research group Euromonitor.

However, they will encounter stiffer competition from established local chains than their luxury forerunners, and with many brands expanding aggressively in China, they will also be vying with each other for customers.

Many brands have ambitious plans for China and others are entering the market for the first time this year.

Although western brands are thriving in China, local designers are emerging in the urban scene. Aside from street fashion designers, China’s luxury designers are also on the rise, according to Asiaone Plush:

For many years designer Guo Pei drew inspiration for her luxury clothes collections from travelling abroad, but recently she decided to focus solely on China’s culture.

China has in recent decades become known as the workshop of the world, with tens of thousands of factories pumping out cheap products for shops globally sporting a ‘Made in China’ label that often evokes poor quality.

But Chinese firms such as Guo’s are now using the label as a marketing tool to create a new generation of home-grown luxury brands and convince the country’s legions of rich to ditch their Chanel clothes and Bordeaux wines.

Today, China boasts roughly 15 to 20 brands – ranging from watches, jewellery, fashion or cosmetics – that are riding this wave, hoping to compete with foreign firms in what has become the biggest luxury market in the world.


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