Chinese Expats Can Boost Growth for Western Brands


While the term “globalization” became popular in the 1980s, by 1848, Karl Marx had already developed an academic theory similar to globalization. According to Marx, “The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.”

In other words, the world is becoming smaller as the bourgeoisie uses new commerce routes and markets to trade goods, ideas, and capital. This modern age stands in contrast to the regionalism of past centuries when self-sustaining societies could function without the support of foreign actors and individuals were confined to limited space. But that isolationism isn’t feasible anymore.

Today, we live in an interconnected and interdependent world, and a mobile group of individuals called expatriates — or “expats” — has become a driving force behind the economic success of various nations. Made up of talented employees assigned overseas, scholars studying abroad, and individuals who’ve moved to foreign lands for personal reasons, expats are widely considered to offer unprecedented support to new and innovative sciences, tech, and cross-border trade projects. And since their incomes from overseas jobs are usually higher than similar jobs in their homeland, expats have become an interesting consumer base for brands. Although they’re hard to make generalizations about, common denominators can be found in this group.

According to a report titled Shopping behavior and attribute evaluation of expatriates — a cross-cultural study, expats “are usually highly educated and receive an above-average income including all kinds of (tax) benefits and remunerations.” Furthermore, the study mentions that expatriates “are often regarded as cosmopolitan consumers.” As a group, they are intelligent, multicultural, and wealthy buyers, and these characteristics make them an excellent target for luxury brands. Yet marketing campaigns didn’t target expatriates directly until recently.

There have been particular cases (mostly in the U.S.) when shopping malls marketed directly to expatriates. According to a study conducted by Geri Wijnen, Astrid Kemperman, and Ingrid Janssen, “examples are the Legaspi Group centres (Hispanic community), the Mitsuwa Marketplace chain (Japanese community), the South DeKalb Mall in Atlanta (Afro-American community) and the Diamond Jamboree mall in Irvine (Asian community), and the Japan Centre in London.” Interestingly enough, despite the high spending power of affluent Chinese expats, luxury retailers rarely mention them in advertising campaigns. According to a study by Bain &Co., Chinese spending accounted for 33 percent of the global luxury market in 2018. But luxury retailers put all their eggs in that basket and became dependent on Chinese tourists instead of diversifying by also focusing on the highly lucrative expat community.

Andrew Browne from the Wall Street Journal says that “even when the emperors did their utmost to keep them at home, the Chinese ventured overseas in search of knowledge, fortune, and adventure. Manchu Qing rulers thought those who left must be criminals or conspirators and once forced the entire coastal population of southern China to move at least 10 miles inland. But even that didn’t put an end to wanderlust.” Browne is correct in his assessment. The Chinese conducted voyages and explorations, inaugurated the Silk Road, and according to recent research, Zheng He — a Chinese Muslim eunuch — even discovered America more than 70 years before Columbus. It comes as no surprise that now, as the Chinese population gets wealthier, their desire to explore the world has returned full force.

According to Marty Hurwitz, CEO MVI Marketing, Chinese expats are “actually driving a lot of luxury spending now,” and as the Asia-Pacific region surges to the top of the world’s wealthiest areas and the number of Chinese millionaires and billionaires continues to grow, those top earners have started sending not just their money internationally but also their families. And with this new affluent expat class comes the same Chinese cash flood that redesigned the luxury housing markets in Canada, the European Union, the United States, and Australia. It’s been widely noted that Chinese expatriates have shaped the real estate market in Sydney, Vancouver, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York, however, apart from pricey real estate, this affluent consumer base also tends to invest in unique luxury retail pieces.

Hurwitz says that Chinese “are driving brand growth in many categories, but certainly in jewelry.” He argues that Chinese jewelers are ahead of the curve, understanding their compatriots better than foreign businesses, which comes as no surprise. In fact, Chinese jewelers Chow Tai Fook and Luk Fook opened stores in New York primarily to capitalize on the influx of Chinese luxury buyers. Additionally, Luk Fook has inaugurated new stores in California and Canada — areas with a high Chinese population density.

Data from the Migration Policy Institute shows that the number of Chinese immigrants in the United States grew from 1.7 million in 2010 to 2.3 million in 2016. As noted in the research, Chinese students make up a significant portion of the expat category, and 83 percent of Chinese millionaires now want to send their children to study overseas. We don’t commonly associate extravagant expenditures with these spendthrift Chinese students, but that’s only one segment of this phenomenon since their mature visiting family members tend to engage in luxury shopping sprees. Joshua Freedman quotes data from Emerging Communications when he argues that “high-spending Chinese students in the UK number about 95,000, with each of them receiving an average of 3.3 visits per year from family members.”

“In traditional Chinese culture, the family is the basic unit of society,” explains Victor Lum, vice-president of Well Trend. “So much so that the concept of family is extended to include close friends who are often referred to as ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’. There is an expectation that family members who have gone abroad, especially to wealthy and developed countries, should provide support to their family back in China.” And this support doesn’t just refer to payments but also luxury gifts. Therefore, Chinese expats don’t just go on shopping sprees for themselves but also to buy for their extended families, so luxury retailers need to make a conscious effort to adapt to their needs and target them through extensive communication and marketing strategies.

Australia is another interesting market for this demographic. Jane Cadzow from the Sydney Morning Herald says that in Australia, Chinese expats “have injected billions into the economy, spending with particular enthusiasm on real estate and their children’s education but also supporting a range of niche industries.” One of those niche industries is cosmetic plastic surgery. Mark Ashton, president of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons says that he and his colleagues devote a significant portion of their time to surgeries and cosmetic procedures that Westernize Asian features. Three procedures are the most in-demand with Chinese expats: “eyelid surgery (to create European-style folds), rhinoplasty (to make the nose less flat), and breast enhancement.”

But apart from luxury shopping sprees, expensive real estate, and plastic surgery, Chinese expats also make serious investments in the country itself. The Sydney Morning Herald indicates that Chinese investors represent the biggest source of overseas funds coming into Australia, and in the financial year of 2016, the Foreign Investment Review Abroad authorized over $47 billion in Chinese investments. In Canada, figures show a similar story and even in the U.S., Chinese expats remain a powerful engine of the economy, bringing growth in domestic consumption. According to research by Environics Analytics, “household spending from the two largest groups (South Asians and Chinese-Canadians) combined accounted for nearly 9 percent of total consumer expenditure in Canada in 2013,” and a report titled Ethnic Marketing in Canada shows that “South Asians and Chinese-Canadians reported 2013 household spending growth of 9 percent and 5 percent, respectively, versus just 2 percent for the average consumer household.”

The Chinese expat base offers incredible opportunities for luxury brands who perhaps can’t afford to pursue a long-term business plan inside China or don’t have a holistic market-entry strategy, and luxury retailers would be wise to carefully study the Chinese expat base if they want to unlock a new source of growth that continues to trend steadily upward.





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Top Fashion IPs in China? Supreme, Kaws, and Shawn Yue


In “Chinese Whispers,” we share the biggest news stories about the luxury industry in China that have yet to make it into the English language. In this week’s edition, we discuss:

  • What’s the most commercial value IPs in China? Supreme, Kaws, and Shawn Yue
  • Domestic luxury sales are expected to grow fourfold, says Chairman of Hang Lung Properties
  • Suffering from low sales per square foot, is the buyer store boom in China coming to an end?

Top Fashion IPs in China? Supreme, Kaws and Shawn Yue – Business of Fashion China

Despite President Trump’s repetitive accusation of China “intellectual property theft,” IP is a hot business in China because it embeds opportunity beyond selling products but multiple monetization streams including but not limited in licensing, partnership, etc.

The Fashion IP 100, co-released by a Chinese fashion company, and partner of CFDA, Suntchi and Alibaba’s big data platform CBNData, has measured top IPs based on influence among Chinese consumers, social media buzz, and search volume. The list covered the most commercial valued IP in designer brands, celebrities, artists, and influencers.

Surprisingly, Shawn Yue becomes the topmost valued celebrity IP in China, followed by singer Chris Wu (Louis Vuitton China ambassador) and Korean Idol Kwon Ji Yong. Shawn Yue is a Chinese actor, singer, and founder of his own streetwear brand Madness.

Plaza 66 in Shanghai. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Plaza 66 in Shanghai. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Domestic luxury sales are expected to grow fourfold, says Chairman of Hang Lung Properties – LadyMax 

The chairman of the luxury landmark Hang Long Properties, Ronnie Chan reinforced the strong sales of luxury goods in China despite the current uncertainness.

The interim report issued last Thursday referenced that 25% of all high-end fashion products purchased by Chinese consumers are traded domestically. This number is expected to grow to about 50% in the next six years, and the total sales volume will double in the same period. Chan also quoted a high-end fashion brand executive in Europe, and the actual growth may be higher than expected. And in order to stimulate domestic consumption growth, China’s mainland has begun to cut tariffs on some luxury goods in the past two years, which has caused China’s high-end consumers to gradually return. “Our revenue growth and recent performance of luxury brands can confirm this,” he added.

In this over 10,000 words of comments to its stakeholders, the Hong Kong real estate tycoon commented not only on the retailers’ future in Hong Kong but also on the trade war, the current US-China social-political state – the letter has gone viral on WeChat.

10 corso como shut down its Shanghai location in June this year. Photo: A Day Magzine

10 Corso Como shut down its Shanghai location in June this year. Photo: A Day Magzine

Suffering from low sales per square foot, is the buyer store boom coming to an end in China? – Beijing Business 

Driven by consumer demand in individuality and uniqueness, buyer stores in China undergone a series of boom, by positioning itself (price and style-wise) in between high-end luxury brands and fast fashion brands. In the past five years, the amount of buyer store has increased from 70 to more than 500, spreading from first-tier cities to second and third-tier cities. Retailer malls like Galerie Lafayette Beijing, SKP has its own buyer store floor. On the other hand, the defined sales of Hong Kong buyer store Joyce Boutique, and the shutdown of Italian buyer store 10 Corso Como Shanghai questions the future of buyer store model in China. Experts point out buyer store business model has challenged by e-commerce and should emphasize on exclusivity instead of high-priced goods.





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High Fashion on the Small Screen


This post originally appeared on China Film Insider, our sister publication.

With approximately 60 percent of Chinese now living in cities, “urban drama” (都市剧) is one of the most popular formats for television and streaming video in China, appealing to the aspirations of an increasingly large swathe of the population. Fashion increasingly plays a role in defining the characters of these shows, from high-powered lawyers in formal business attire to energetic young women in bright styles. But in a new crop of dramas, high-end fashion takes center stage in its own right.

The trend towards linking luxury brands with urban drama kicked off a few years ago with the series “Ode to Joy,” which has been described as a Chinese counterpart to “Sex and the City.” The show’s five female characters were dressed according to their personality, social background, and stage of career, with a heavy emphasis on designer labels. It was this that drew some criticism, as the number of brands appearing in the series rose along with its popularity — from about two dozen in the first season to more than 50 in the second.

This summer’s fashion drama of note is urban mystery/romance “Return the World to You” (归还世界给你, also known by the French title “Retourner le monde à toi”), which has drastically upped the placement of designer labels to 120-plus.

The series stars actress and model Guli Nazha as the co-founder of a fashion house, a role played by the Shenzhen-based Ellassay (which owns the luxury brands Laurel and Vivienne Tam, among others), and opens as the brand prepares for its first appearance at Paris Fashion Week, amid ongoing threats of sabotage from rivals. The series premiered on Jiangsu Satellite TV on July 19, 2019 and aired 58 episodes through August 19, and was also made available for streaming on iQiyi, Youku, and Tencent Video.

Premise: “Return the World to You” is reported to be the first series independently produced by Diamond Pictures, a production company established by Shen Dongjun, the chairman and CEO of Leysen Jewellery (formerly Tesiro). It follows Shen’s successful investment in the 2015 comedy-romance series “Diamond Lover” (克拉恋人), which took Tesiro as its workplace setting.

A drama set in the world of high fashion provides an appealing backdrop for Leysen’s diamonds to sparkle, though Shen has also expressed larger ambitions in his wish to create a show that can compete with the quality of Korean and Japanese productions. “I hope that viewers watching the series can develop some awareness of China’s current fashion industry and elevate their tastes somewhat, based on the fashion styling in the drama,” he said.

Implementation: The presence of Leysen diamonds is evident from the opening scene, in which the camera zooms in on a magazine ad for Blue Flame, a trademarked, 89-facet cut. The Leysen brand also receives prominent placement in other episodes.

The Ellassay clothing brand is most deeply integrated into the storyline, and Shen described the cooperation between Ellassay as a sponsor and the production in an interview with Beijing News. “We wanted to use a clothing brand as a background story, so the screenwriters had to understand the conditions in the industry by going to the company to observe, conduct interviews, and understand matters,” he said. “So you can understand (this brand’s) implanted advertising.”

Still, leading fashion brands prefer to lend out clothing rather than make the more significant investment involved in sponsorship. Although Nazha’s character Shen Yien is the CEO of Ellassay, and the brand is central to the storyline, she wears clothing and accessories from dozens of other labels, including big names such as Chanel, Gucci, Balenciaga, and Louis Vuitton, with a reported 260 costumes for her character and more than 120 brands crediting in the closing credits. The extent of her wardrobe became a viral topic on social media, and Nazha even described her work on the series as that of “an emotionless clothes-changing machine.”

To create this real world of fashion, Shen Dongjun recruited Su Mang, editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar China, to serve as the show’s fashion director, and Su oversaw the wardrobe for the leading characters, leveraging her industry connections along the way. Shen said he created the role for Su in order to bridge a gap in Chinese fashion dramas, many of which still typically rely on more traditional channels to procure their wardrobes.

Results: “Return the World to You” highlights some of the risks of relying on television dramas for effective integration of fashion brands.

  • Content and airing risks: The series was filmed in 2017, and it was originally reported to be set for a 2018 release. The delay may have contributed to the rather condensed release schedule of 58 episodes in the course of one month, which also left the brand with less time for exposure.
  • Critical reception: Although the series had consistently decent viewership throughout its run, maintaining a position in the top 10 dramas on network and satellite TV, it was poorly reviewed, with a Douban score of 3.6 (out of 10) and 53 percent of reviewers giving it just one star. Viewers cited the quality of acting, improbable storylines, and poor pacing of the drama as key deficiencies. On the plus side, the quality of the production, including cinematography, set design, and shooting locations, was generally praised.
  • Lost in the shuffle: With so many designer names in the mix, it is hard for any one brand to stand out apart from those that played a key role in the production, such as Leysen and Ellassay. It takes an assiduous viewer to catalogue the fashions worn by Nazha in the series, and the brands are not otherwise widely mentioned.

Nevertheless, we are likely to see more luxury brands on Chinese screens in the near future, with several new and upcoming series set to showcase fashion designers as their female leads. There’s “My Mowgli Boy” (我的莫格利男), currently airing with popular actress Yang Zi as a livestreaming influencer/fashion entrepreneur, “Wait in Beijing” (我在北京等你) a romance between a lawyer and aspiring designer set in New York City, and “Love, Haute Couture” (爱情高级定制), based on a popular online novel and starring Diliraba, an in-demand ambassador for luxury brands. All seem primed to provide further opportunities for the integration of fashion brands into their storylines.

Presented by China Film Insider, China Brand Insider is a weekly newsletter featuring original contentcase studies, and takeaways from the latest Chinese-language news on the relationship between brands and entertainment. Over time, we plan to offer more in-depth reports and live events to deeply cover the rapid rise of this industry. If you’d like to receive China Brand Insider each week and stay up-to-date with the latest brand integration intelligence, click to subscribe.





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Q&A: Designer Huishan Zhang Channels the Swinging 60s at London Fashion Week


This week, all eyes were on London-based, Chinese-born womenswear designer Huishan Zhangas he debuted his SS20 collection at London Fashion Week. Inspired by the “infectious appeal” of the swinging ‘60s, Zhang’s SS20 collection is the latest example of the young designer’s unique ability to combine playful silhouettes and prints with timeless materials, classic lines, and romantic color palettes. Zhang turns the old cliché of “combining East and West” on its head by refusing to go the easy route, instead seamlessly bringing elements of material, flow, and color together to create something wholly unique.

Since launching his eponymous fashion line in 2011, Zhang has rapidly developed an expanding global footprint, with his womenswear collections selling at prestigious stores such as Bergdorf Goodman in New York, Hong Kong’s JOYCE, and Selfridges in London just to name a few. Along the way, the young designer has received an ever-growing number of industry accolades and outfitted celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, Gigi Hadid, and Saorise Ronan.

Awash in somber pinks, skyline blues, emerald greens, and crystal whites, highlighting textures from smooth pearls to ornate lace and filmy organza, and ranging from qipao-like short dresses to silky power suits, Zhang’s new runway collection invokes a “rhapsody of emotions,” leaving observers curious to discover what exactly inspired it.

To learn more, Jing Daily spoke with Huishang Zhang ahead of his London Fashion Week runway show about his brand, his enduring relationship with China, and the inspiring effect of love and heartbreak.

In your own words, can you please let us know who you are, who your designs are for, and why you do what you do?

I was born in China but have lived in multiple countries and continents, which has allowed me to open my eyes to beautiful cultures and experiences. My designs are for a woman who is culturally intrigued and has an open mind. The designs are not for the trend-led but for the woman who wants to stand out from the crowd and appreciate a sense of timeless elegance and beauty. I love doing what I do, as the experience from season to season is always an adventure exploring culture and craftsmanship.

Huishan Zhang

Huishan Zhang’s SS20 collection at London Fashion Week. Photo: Courtesy of Huishan Zhang

What was the catalyst and inspiration behind the SS20 collection? How did you structure this season? Is it purely your creative outlet or do you weave and balance strategic design decisions to accommodate what you know your customers want to buy and wear?

Love, heartbreak, starting all over again, and mixed with the youthful spirit captured in the swinging ’60s. The enormous sense of adventure and new beginnings that comes from that decade. I find huge satisfaction creatively through my designs, but I’ve managed to merge those creative impulses with more of a strategic approach based on my customer and what she likes from season to season. I love that my customers have introduced me to some of my most classic pieces that they keep requesting and coming back for.

You have lived all over the world, from New Zealand to Paris and now London. Why did you decide to open your flagship in London?

London has always been considered a melting pot of diversity and culture. So it is where I wanted my customers’ experience, and mine, to grow from. Having said that, everything I do including design is touched by my heritage and Chinese traditions for which I am eternally grateful for. These ingredients are what contribute to the wide outreach my collections have.

Do you feel designers with rich cultural experiences have a different approach to design? If so, do you think your designs have a more global appeal?

Culture is the root of everything, and I definitely see more impact from designers across the world who allow their collections to be designed as such, allowing them to appeal to a much more international audience and naturally creating a global appeal.

Having been born in China, how important is the Chinese market to you personally and professionally?

Very important, as it has supported me since my debut collections both in terms of press, sales, and personal relationships to the industry. This in return has allowed me to grow as internationally as I wish while always feeling incredibly rooted and at home in China.

The last time you spoke to Jing Daily, you mentioned you wanted to introduce “The Made in China luxury idea” especially for the young generation. You’re one of the only designers to truly fuse their rich heritage and new experiences into something completely new, neither East nor West. What steps are you taking to accomplish this and what do you think it will take?

For me personally and professionally it has been a huge driving force to give Made In China a new storyline, not just of luxury but one full of heritage, beautiful craftsmanship, and talent. I never want to repeat what has already been created, I want to push boundaries and start new beginnings in the mindset of the people and how they choose to dress and bridge cultural ideas and beliefs. Everyone has started to really take note of where their day to day purchases, let alone clothes, come from. For me, that is very important as it puts the design and ‘the making of’ the pieces into a more treasured context that will stand the test of time and trends.





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British Luxury Brands at LFW Look to China for Brexit Protection


What started as cautious optimism has turned to concern for British brands attempting to navigate the evolving Brexit saga. With heightened tensions between Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the EU, the possibility of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit has become arguably more probable than ever. But what does this mean for British brands? For many, it means relying on the continued buying power of Chinese luxury consumers.

Back in 2018, New West End CEO Jace Tyrrell, who manages London’s famous shopping district, told Jing Daily that London attracts 200 million luxury shoppers a year, and that showed no signs of slowing due to Brexit. He even claimed that the political climate could catapult London forward as a “tax-free haven for overseas shoppers.”

However, this sunny enthusiasm may now have dampened. Amid this season’s London Fashion Week, the British Fashion Council released a statement to the press on the impact of a no-deal Brexit on the British fashion industry, emphasizing the catastrophic effects of such a scenario. The risk of moving to World Trade Organization rules means that British brands are having to assess the impacts of these tariffs, and it is unclear who will take on the additional costs — the businesses or the end consumers. According to the British Fashion Council, “based on export figures from 2018 it is estimated that switching to World Trade Organization rules would cost the fashion industry between £850 and £900 million.”

Understandably, British luxury brands are fearful of what’s to come. Ahead of LFW, the British Fashion Council held a seminar for designers specifically around preparing for a no-deal Brexit, helping them identify the risks and challenges to their business and prepare for World Trade Organization rules in the event of no-deal being reached by the end of October.

One of the promising solutions for British brands is to entice the ever-growing luxury Chinese consumer market. While Britain faces dwindling trade relationships with Europe, the Chinese government was among the first to prioritize trade deals with the UK. So far this year, luxury British powerhouses like Burberry and Harrods have demonstrated an intention to leverage the buying power of Chinese consumers, with WeChat Mini Programs and exclusive product launches.

“It’s hard to say whether a big market like China can completely stop any gaps that might be created by Brexit, but more and more British brands have realized the new ecosystem created by China — from the keen consumers to the creative talents coming from China,” says Alicia Liu, Founder and Managing Director of Singing Grass Communications. “From my perspective as a specialist advising international brands on their marketing strategy in China, it’s not enough just to understand how the different marketing platforms work, it’s also important to produce tailored content to engage a digitally savvy and sophisticated Chinese audience.”

At Burberry’s London Fashion Week show, the brand actively targeted the Chinese consumer. The new collection was available exclusively on WeChat for a limited 24 hours following the runway show. Burberry also displayed an impressive Chinese social media strategy, harnessing the power of its Chinese brand ambassadors, including singer Kun Chen, actress Dongyu Zhou, and rapper Lucas Huang. As a result, the British fashion house gained engagement from over 300,000 followers on Weibo, with Chinese consumers impressed by the brand’s classic craftsmanship and innovative design.

Brand Britain is still a very popular angle with Chinese consumers,” explains Vanessa Wu, Director of Reuter Communications, a luxury integrated marketing communications agency headquartered in Shanghai, “They are looking for just the qualities that British brands possess; craftsmanship and a strong story with heritage, alongside a clear identity of fun, and even something a little bit quirky and funky. Savvy brands such as Harrods, Whittard of Chelsea, and Vivienne Westwood are using these traits in smart ways on China’s unique digital eco-system and in physical retail back in the UK to show both a warm welcome and respect for their Chinese customers.”

So where the likes of Burberry leads, other British brands may choose to follow. LFW also sought to attract a more diverse audience this year with the first-ever public sale of tickets. Interestingly, one of the two designers chosen to display their collection at the public-facing event was British supermodel Alexa Chung. Chung has gained affection in China, in part due to her British-Chinese heritage, and has previously been featured on the cover of Elle China. Last year, Chung appointed Chuan Huang as head of e-commerce at Alexachung to help shape the brand’s global e-commerce business. Huang has previously worked at Lacoste where she helped launch the brand online in China.

According to Wu, “China is where all British luxury brands must be looking toward — all reputable business reports show that it’s Chinese millennials and Gen Z who are responsible for the lion’s share of luxury consumption globally. Brexit naturally causes concern among businesses that feel in the dark — not only on plans and guidance but on whatever form Brexit may take as a whole. What they can certainly rely on is the continued buying power of Chinese consumers.”





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The Art of Luxury Brand Licensing


Licensing has had a significant impact on the luxury sector, allowing Western brands to enter new markets in distant corners of the world. Through licensing, the licensor or trademark owner hopes to increase their revenue and build brand awareness. But, beginning in the late 1990s, the practice of licensing went downhill because of quality and design problems and the omnipresence of certain products, which brought about brand dilution. Consequently, after years of negative press, many professionals forgot about the positive benefits of licensing and how it can create win-win situations. Today, however, though a large number of luxury and premium brands have licensing agreements for their accessories and cosmetics lines, it seems like the newer practice of collaborating may be taking root.

Licensing versus collaboration

Younger consumers won’t remember that there was a time when fashion collaborations seemed impractical and utopian. In 2002, when the Takashi Murakami x Louis Vuitton collection dropped, collaboration hype was just starting to take off. Today, collaborations are the rule of law, with Target partnering every year with a new fashion designer, Louis Vuitton teaming up with rap sensation Kanye West (2009), and Versace and Lanvin working with the Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M (2011).

The growing popularity of collaborations is explained by the dematerialization of luxury, which, according to Amati & Associates, “entails that our perception of luxury — and our definition of luxury — are changing and evolving toward a less material domain, with new forms of luxury emerging.” This concept explains why the uber-wealthy segment is less interested in conspicuous consumption and luxury shopping sprees, and as a result, heritage houses have been forced to expand toward new consumer segments. Therefore, this trend has accelerated a return to licensing on one hand while also enhancing event-oriented collaborations.

According to Steven Ekstract, Brand Director at Informa Markets, collaborations are a type of licensing. “For the luxury marketplace, these collaborations are usually limited run drops and specifically designed to create a buzz around the brands participating,” Ekstract says. “The limited run makes them difficult to get and therefore in higher demand.”

Why licensing is a vital process for the future of luxury

As Fashionbi notes, “eyewear and cosmetics are the most licensed product groups in the fashion and luxury industry,” and eyewear companies like Luxottica and Safilo have become major players in the eyewear licensing business because of their partnerships with luxury brands such as Dior, Chanel, Ralph Lauren, and Tiffany& Co.

Most consumers see cosmetics and eyewear as a gateway to the world of luxury because these goods come at a lower price point. For instance, The Fashion Law has shown how 60 percent of Chanel’s revenues come from its beauty line, and the same publication also mentioned that one of Givenchy’s top-selling products from 2017 was lipstick given the high cost of their garments. It must be noted that licensing power players like Coty, Luxottica, and Interparfums, perform even better than some established luxury brands. Yet thanks to these profitable deals with Coty and Luxxottica, heritage houses such as Dior, Burberry, and Bulgari have earned massive royalties that have helped them achieve unprecedented growth.

In today’s globalized world where “digital technologies are constantly changing consumer behavior,” luxury brands are fighting for relevance. Therefore, building a loyalty-inspiring brand becomes a survival imperative. In other words, after seeing the success of lifestyle brands such as Lululemon Athletica and Ted Baker, the luxury sector is embracing the way these companies have built aspirational identities that customers continually return to. But to achieve that, Forbes says brands need to offer a “distinct experience, largely because they own and operate their own stores, along with wholesaling through third-party retailers. This allows them to control the retail experience and provide the customer with a singular, concrete brand image.” Because of this, luxury brands that want to become lifestyle brands see licensing as a prerequisite.

The biggest challenges in the licensing process:  

  1. Losing authenticity 

Ralph Lauren was the quintessential American brand, practically inventing the American preppy aesthetic, but since the turn of the 21st century, the company’s image has taken a series of various blows. Nowadays, most experts agree that unfortunate licensing agreements have diluted the brand, such as low-quality polo shirts produced in developing nations that found their way into department stores all across the United States. But by embroidering the company’s logo on inexpensive garments of questionable quality, Ralph Lauren has brought about the decline of its brand.

The Kering-owned Gucci label understood the risks of extensive licensing deals, so in 2014, it brought its eyewear segment back in-house. According to Reuters and The Fashion Law, “The group said it wants to be involved in every step of the business from design and marketing to sales, but would continue to outsource manufacturing.”

  1. Selecting trusted partners

In an interview with Pamela N. Danziger from Forbes, Ira Mayer, the publisher and executive editor of The Licensing Letter, underlined “the need for the licensee to be fully aligned with the brand in the program’s overall goals and objectives.” According to Mayer, Tiffany & Co. found a strategic partner that is deeply rooted in the perfume industry in Coty. The company provides a comprehensive distribution network, a global expertise in the beauty sector, experience, and consistency — all of which were necessary to partner with one of the world’s most important luxury brands. On the licensee’s side, selecting a questionable partner that doesn’t promote ethical practices can quickly compromise the integrity of any luxury brand.

  1. Brand equity dilution

As The Fashion Law points out, Calvin Klein vs. Warnaco Group is a great example of everything that could go wrong in a licensing agreement. In the 1990s, when Calvin Klein was at the top of one’s game, it entered a licensing agreement with Warnaco Group, but, according to a lawsuit filed by Calvin Klein in May 2000, Warnaco was accused of distributing “Calvin Klein jeans-wear through unapproved discount outlets, such as warehouse clubs such as Costco and BJ’s.” Instead of reaching new consumers and expanding the brand into new categories through a successful licensing agreement, Calvin Klein became highly commercial, and soon lost its glamorous image and aura of exclusivity.

Clearly, licensing has potential challenges, but luxury brands can minimize their risks by selecting partners that upgrade their services and goods. And for licensor evaluating potential partners, they should look for brands that promote the collaborative mindset and situations where both sides can come out as winners.





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What is Streetwear’s Next Phase in China?


August 29 was a special date for China’s hip millennials because it marked the opening of Yo’Hood: the biggest streetwear show in China, otherwise known as the Conplexcon in China, where you can spot kids wearing anything from head-to-toe Supreme to oversized shirts and dad shoes. Hosted by the youth-oriented commerce and media platform Yoho!, the show produced lines that snaked two streets away from the entrance, where scalpers hawked tickets to desperate trend chasers.

Puma hops and large Dad shoe pop. Photo: Ruonan Zheng/Jing Daily

Puma hops and large Dad shoe prop. Photo: Ruonan Zheng/Jing Daily

Inside, huge props like massive shoes, an oversized octopus, and a building made to look like a spaceship transformed the venue into a fantasy world. Kids posed for selfies or live streamed for fans in front of them. For the fair, brands put their most creative foot forward. The skateboard shoe brand Vans built a skateboard park, the athletic brand Puma installed basketball hoops where attendees could perform dunks, and even staid luxury brands like Montblanc and Hennessy came with a more-youthful-than-usual image.

The theme of this year is Youthquake. Photo: Ruonan Zheng/Jing Daily

The theme of this year is Youthquake. Photo: Ruonan Zheng/Jing Daily

This year’s Yo’Hood was the 7th version of the annual event, which now extends through the weekend and encompasses special parties throughout Shanghai. The fair now draws more than 57,000 visitors, yet veteran attendees were complaining that it’s gone too mainstream. “Personally, I liked last year’s better,” said one streetwear brand owner. “It had a lot more homegrown Chinese streetwear brands.” He also complained about the show’s lack of focus and how visitors can easily get lost. “The scene seems to be largely driven by FOMO,” said Henry Li, an event attendee who also works in the creative industry, as he pointed toward a long line of kids forming outside to get freebies. Many vendors also required visitors to add their brand’s WeChat account before they could participate in branded games — even before they knew anything about the brand itself.

Visitors try to imitate a high kick to win a gift bag at the Onitsuka Tiger booth. Photo: Ruonan Zheng/Jing Daily

A visitor tries to imitate a high kick to win a gift bag at the Onitsuka Tiger booth. Photo: Ruonan Zheng/Jing Daily

Nevertheless, the Yo’Hood phenomenon is an apt symbol of the current streetwear scene in China. Since 2017, thanks to reality shows like “The Rap of China” and “Street Dance of China,” streetwear rose from the underground to become a mass-market industry, and young consumers rushed to buy all the logos their favorite celebrities were wearing. As streetwear grew in China, it became apparent that two different crowds were forming — those who followed streetwear trends because they were becoming popular and those who valued streetwear as a way of look unique and oppose the mainstream. This is the central conflict for streetwear in today’s China.

Mia Kong, the newly appointed fashion director of Dazed China and a trend influencer, broke down the definition of streetwear for Jing Daily, saying “it used to be you dressed up to your interests, punk or rock… an expression of what you like.” This is the definition of streetwear in the West or with hardcore streetwear fans in China, where clothing expresses a hobby as with Supreme and skateboarding or Stussy and surfing. But in China, the mainstream streetwear trend grew opposite of this, where the clothing is discovered via mainstream media the culture behind it is understood later (or never understood at all).

2017 was an important year for Chinese streetwear. Thanks to reality shows, mainstream consumers suddenly took interest in it, and therefore, so did opportunity-seekers. “It quickly took off when we saw a lot of people selling their own streetwear brands via WeChat and targeting people from third or fourth-tier cities in China,” said Jiang Yisen, co-founder of the Chinese streetwear e-commerce app Wargo. Many of those WeChat brands were operated by individual vendors without an online storefront like Taobao, and while this form of selling is convenient and mirrors early underground streetwear sales in the West, buyers have no way to verify those products and assure their authenticity.

After the death of self-made WeChat brands, Taobao became the dominant platform for streetwear brands wanting to strike it rich, but now the third-party platform has become still somewhat limited. “Streetwear brands want to identify themselves beyond a Taobao store now,” said Yisen, who revealed that many brands want to enrich their content and positioning to fulfill consumers that want more meaningful purchases.

Xiaozhu, the founder of the brand Graf, sensed a similar shift in consumer trends. She started her business on Taobao in 2014 with a consumer age range between 18 and 30. Back then, she said customers used to be more concerned with prices (preferring knock-offs below 100 yuan) but now value unique designs more. “They are constantly looking for authentic brands,” Xiaozhu said.

This shift toward authenticity and quality design is vital to understanding how the streetwear market in China is shifting. Many streetwear brands walk a fine line between knocking off and playing off existing icons or brands. “A knock-off is sticking a Mickey Mouse to your shirt,” Xiaozhu explained, “while a play-off is Kaws’ tribute to Kate Moss.” Given the large counterfeit culture in China, this nuance was often lost. As the streetwear audience in China has become savvier about counterfeits, they’ve started to crave authentic brands, and they want storytelling to fuel that need.

A poster child for authentic streetwear labels in China is the brand CLOT, and its founder, Edison Chen, is often labeled “the Godfather of streetwear in China,” thanks to his determined efforts to put Chinese culture on the world stage. Chen gained prominence as a hip-hop artist and actor but left the entertainment industry after a series of scandals. For his second act, Chen went on to build a streetwear brand from the ground up, with his company earning an impressive $10 million in 2016. CLOT’s designs are often infused with traditional Chinese designs or elements as a way to authentically put his own identity into the brand. In addition, Chen’s successful comeback story, which unfolded as the streetwear trend was just emerging, helped imbue the style with an underdog spirit.

In China, Chen’s story was a key part of building his brand, similar to how many Japanese streetwear icons like Hiroshi Fujiwara and Nigo started their own brands. Yisen adds that his next goal is to dive deep into content by telling stories about his listed brands. “We want to be the Chinese Donda,” said Yisen, referencing the creative incubator started by rapper Kanye West. “Customers can meet the Chinese Virgil and witness the birth of a Chinese Supreme through us.” Graf’s Xioazhu echoed a similar desire. As a hip-hop fan herself, she brings rappers from the West coast to perform in China as a way to bridge cultures and fill in the context behind every purchase her customers make.

Dazed x Yoho! at Yo'Hood Photo: DAZED CHINA

Dazed x Yoho! at Yo’Hood Photo: Dazed China

Now more than ever, Chinese youth are looking for direction in this market, and media groups have begun to realize this. Media companies like MilK and Hypebeast now have large followings in China, and fans also welcomed the launch of Dazed China at the opening of Yo’Hood this year thanks to a licensing deal with Yoho! and the cult youth magazine Dazed and will likely showcase Eastern youth culture.

As Chinese interest in streetwear continues to grow, it offers opportunities for brands and the media alike who are willing to invest in proper storytelling. Although the spirit of streetwear didn’t originate in the East, the growth of it will likely continue to thrive there as creators focus more and more on the meaning behind it.





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Latest Little Fresh Meat You Need to Know: R3 August Celebrity Ranking


Little Fresh Meat, the Chinese nickname for young good-looking men who are considered as beautiful as women, are the bread and butter of many luxury brands in China. From lipsticks and skincare to watches and jewelry, these celebrities — so popular with female fans — have proven to be a very efficient shortcut to boost product sales and brand visibility. In the past, actor Wang Kai helped Estée Lauder eye cream to achieve record sales, the sales of a Guerlain lipstick named after Yang Yang skyrocketed, and a WeChat Moments ad by SK-II featuring Wallace Huo increased the brand’s sales on JD.com sixfold in one day.

For August, among the top 5 most buzzed celebrities on the consulting agency R3’s list, three are considered little fresh meat, with No.1 Xiao Zhan, and No.4 Wang Yibo both ranking high for the first time. Xiao Zhan got his start on the reality program X-Fire, where he trained to be an idol. From there, he went on to be the lead singer for the idol group, X NINE, but he gained mainstream popularity with the recent hit costume drama, The Untamed (陈情令). Fans praised his rigorous attitude and excellent acting skills. He was also featured in a blockbuster fantasy movie Jade Dynasty (诛仙), which topped Chines mainland box office with $111.64 million (270 million yuan) during the three-day Chinese Mid-Autumn holiday. Xiao Zhan has yet to sign on with any other luxury brands except fine jewelry brand Qeelin under the Kering group, and several FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) brands, such as McVitie’s, Olay, and Lays, etc.

Wang Yibo, who ranked No.4 this month, shared a similar career path. The 22-year-old is part of the South Korean-Chinese boy band UNIQ and his popularity up-ticked was also due to his role in the show, The Untamed (陈情令). Wang’s profile is more diverse — he’s also a professional motorcycle racer signed with MLT YAMAHA. Wang hasn’t signed on with any luxury brands except being the spokesperson for Japanese skincare brand Shu Uemura.

Both Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo’s popularity are likely to continue, as it was recently announced that both will be cast in some upcoming TV shows with well-known female celebrities. Xiao Zhao’s next rom-com, The Luckiest Couple on Earth (余生,请多指教,) is in production with as his female co-star, Yang Zi, who also ranked highly in our July celebrity list.

It’s hard to say how long little fresh meat celebrities can keep being fresh among fans in China. Clearly, popularity for a young Chinese actor or actress can be closely tied with the TV shows they are cast. Given this, luxury brands should be aware of the latest and most popular TV shows to cast for their possible next ambassador. The 29-year-old Hu Han has faded from the top position and was criticized for his performance in the latest box-office flop movie Shanghai Fortress (上海滩). And many are already courting favors with the next little fresh meat celebrities. The actor Li Xian, in 3rd place, down from the second spot last month, has appeared in several recent fashion events. In early September, he was spotted at Cartier’s high-end jewelry brand dinner and on the GQ red carpet.

Another concern is that many celebrities do not sign exclusively deal with brands and change too often, which is financially very good for the celebrity, but it may not create strong enough brand loyalty, as fans will follow the celebrity rather than stick to the brand.


Methodology:

The following ranking of the 20 top celebrity influencers in June is calculated by using data from Weibo’s Fan Base (calculating Activity, Adorable, and Social Influence Indexes), Toutiao, Baidu, and WeChat.

Weibo assumes the most weight, as it’s the platform where fan engagement can be traced. The Baidu, Toutiao, and Wechat indexes are more based on search behavior. The data from Weibo helps indicate the commercial value of each celebrity, especially for the Adorable Index where fans actually use a pay function to express their admiration for a celebrity.

  • Activity Index: The Activity Index counts the number of interactions on Weibo, which is a statistical indicator of interactions (including forwarding, commenting, likes, replying to comments, and comment likes on Weibo) generated by the content posted by the star over the past 30 days (including posts and comments).
  • Adorable Index: This refers to the fans’ contribution to the celebrity. Weibo has a mechanism where fans can contribute their admiration to the celebrity by giving virtual flowers which aren’t free. The adorable index is generated from the number of flowers the celebrity receives monthly.
  • Social Influence Index: There’s a large number of users publishing microblogs daily that mention celebrities. These microblogs are read by other users, and the number of readings reflects the recent popularity of a celebrity. In addition, a large number of users search for celebrities on Weibo every day, and the search volume generated also reflects the recent popularity of those celebrities. This data adds up to the social influence index of the celebrity.





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At LFW, Which Brands Resonated With China’s Millennials?


The Jing Daily Fashion Week Score evaluates a range of parameters to assess how a brand’s collection resonates with Chinese audiences. Shows have become a powerful tool for brands to speak directly to their fans, bypassing the filter once held by editors. This means fashion week now presents a major opportunity for brands to connect with the Chinese community and set the tone for the success of their collections.

For London Fashion Week Spring 2020, Jing Daily looks at brands who have a stake in the Chinese market and a few who stand to gain from heightened efforts. Powerhouses like Burberry and Ports 1961 were standouts, while Victoria Beckham and JW Anderson presented the most untapped potential. Simone Rocha, meanwhile, rose as a top contender among fresh brands making moves in the market.

The Jing Daily Fashion Week Score is based on the following parameters:

  • Model representation: evaluates representation of Chinese models on the runway.
  • Digital impact: evaluates Chinese netizen reception and engagement on leading social media platforms including Weibo, WeChat, and Little Red Book.
  • KOL & celebrity visibility: considers star power associated with the brand through strategic KOL and celebrity partnerships.
  • Special brand efforts: considers special programs or efforts on a brand’s part to speak to the Chinese audience.
  • Design context: a qualitative assessment of how the brand’s collection will speak to the Chinese audience based on current trends and preferences.
  • Brand history: considers existing brand history in China, including overall presence, social reach, number of stores, earning trends and brand missteps.

Illustration: Dusting Tong/Jing Daily.

BURBERRY

This season, Burberry adopted an active social media strategy for promoting its runway show and leveraged the star power of its brand ambassadors including famous Chinese singers Kun Chen, Chinese actress Dongyu Zhou, and Chinese famous rapper Lucas Huang. The three’s Weibo followers add up to over 133 million, which is the largest combined celebrity reach of all brands so far. One single post by Kun Chen on Burberry’s show on Weibo garnered over 70K engagement. Together, Burberry gained over 300K engagement on Weibo through its official account and the three brand ambassadors. In addition, the new collection’s product is sold through WeChat’s boutique for a limited 24 hours right after the runway show and is fervently welcomed by Chinese consumers. The WeChat limited-time boutique is an integral strategy of Burberry’s B Series by Ricardo Tisci that drops limited edition products every month on the 17th. This month’s B Series on WeChat will feature the new season’s Lola Bag, which now is on preview edition of only 20 pieces available worldwide.

Illustration: Justing Tong/Jing Daily.

PORTS 1961

Ports 1961 has a long history in China – part of the first wave of foreign brands that entered the market back in the ’90s. The brand has an established presence in China with over 70 stores currently in operation. Ports took on a very active social media strategy for its Spring 2020 runway show, posting on Weibo four days ahead of the show and actively recapping the event all the way till 48 hours after the show. Collaborating with famous Chinese celebrity Qi Wei, the brand leveraged her 45million followers on Weibo and gained massive exposure. Additionally, Ports 1961 partnered up with Chinese fashion accounts and bloggers to recap the runway looks to diversify their exposure. The brand also marketed the show on WeChat’s official account. However, model representation was lacking, with only 5% of models being Chinese.

Illustration: Dustin Tong/Jing Daily.

SIMONE ROCHA

Simone Rocha is proving to be a top contender among new, smaller brands making moves to enter the Chinese market. The brand recently gained attention for its pearl accessories, attracting fashion-forward consumers. This season, the collection featured a look that incorporates Chinese blue-and-white porcelain. References to Chinese culture can always prove tricky, but in this case, consumers seemed to connect with the design language. Four big fashion bloggers in China buzzed about Simone Rocha’s latest season, and their followings on Weibo add up to over 20 million. The brand has only recently launched its Weibo account in China and has a limited following, meaning brand discussion online is driven organically by Chinese netizens. With a long-term China strategy, Simone Rocha stands to gain higher recognition in the market.

VICTORIA BECKHAM

Victoria Beckham’s star power resonates strongly in China. Her personal Weibo account has over 2 million followers and she has established herself as a household name, often looked to as a style icon. The brand’s Spring 2020 collection received extensive coverage from fashion bloggers when compared to other brands of a similar size. However, the brand currently does not have an official presence in China, without any official social media accounts or stand-alone stores. The label is only available in multi-brand stores like Lane Crawford. In line with this strategy, Victoria Beckham’s official Weibo account did not promote the show. Beckham’s immense following, coupled with the organic conversation driven around the show, indicate that there is a missed opportunity for the brand to operate officially in China.

HUISHAN ZHANG

Huishan Zhang‘s new collection incorporates plenty of Chinese elements and reflects the history of Shanghai. However, the brand did not actively promote its Spring 2020 runway show on any of its Chinese social media accounts. Chinese netizen engagement with the show was likewise very limited, with few users taking it upon themselves to discuss the show. While Huishan Zhang has become a highlight of London Fashion Week and consistently represents Chinese culture on a global stage, the brand does not necessarily have a larger following back in China. This discrepancy pinpoints a tension that follows Chinese creatives as they take their work abroad, faced with the challenge of building brand recognition overseas and back home.

JW ANDERSON

JW Anderson made efforts to engage with its Chinese family through Weibo but did not receive much attention from the Chinese netizens for this season’s runway show. The brand posted 6 times on Weibo but each had very little engagement. The brand invited Chinese actress Chen Ran(陈燃) to the runway show, but her 2.2M followers did not appear to engage actively with the event. Her five posts related to JW Anderson’s SS2020 show resulted in less than 1000 engagements on Weibo. JW Anderson could have tightened its strategy by being more strategic with Chinese influencers and KOLs invited to the show, granted that the brand has already made an impact on a lot of Chinese consumers. JW Anderson’s “Cap Bag” recently gained attention on Chinese social media for its unique design, but also for its association with Liu Wen and Mr. Bag‘s promotion. Brands should aim to communicate their runway shows in a similar vein as they communicate new products. Many Chinese followers now care about more than just product and want to engage in a long term relationship with brands and their storytelling, making fashion shows a key moment.





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Created in China: LFW and BoF Host China Prize Winner


China has long been considered the manufacturing epicenter of the world, with the ‘Made in China’ label evoking thoughts of cheap, poorly made products. Recently, however, China’s talented designers have worked hard to change these negative connotations.

This year, Business of Fashion (BoF) launched its China Prize competition to champion Chinese fashion around the globe. The inaugural contest saw winner Caroline Hu awarded with $100,000, as well as a coveted spot at this season’s London Fashion Week.

Hosted by BoF Editor-in-Chief, Imran Amed, and Yu Holding’s Founder and Chief Executive, Wendy Yu, the prize aims to introduce the larger fashion industry to talented Chinese designers and celebrate true Chinese craftsmanship. “2,000 years ago China was proud of its talented design and production,” Yu told Jing Daily at Caroline Hu’s London Fashion Week presentation. “We have beautiful silks, beautiful creations, and a beautiful history, but that has somewhat been lost. This is what we want to bring back.”

In March, Shanghai Fashion Week played host to the six China Prize finalists, all with hopes of showcasing in London this week. However, according to Amed, it hasn’t always been easy to find Chinese design of international standards. “In China, I think everyone focuses on the consumer opportunity — obviously, it is now the largest fashion market in the world — and has a very ravenous consumer appetite. But I think sometimes what gets lost in all the talk about consumption is the creativity,” Amed says. “10 years ago, admittedly, if I was looking to find young design talent in Shanghai it was few and far between. There was just no real platform, and so I think everyone mischaracterized Chinese design as always being red fabrics with embroidered dragons, and it was kind of cliché. But over the past decade what I’ve noticed with each trip to the market is that there is so much creativity in China that can stand right alongside some of the best global talent that you find in other places.”

Caroline Hu

Caroline Hu receiving prize from BoF Editor-in-Chief, Imran Amed. Photo: Getty Images for The Business of Fashion

Born in Shenzhen, winner Caroline Hu’s designs reflect her love for romantic, delicate textures. The garments combine subtle silk nods to her traditional Chinese heritage, while demonstrating an acute level of intricate artistry. “We went through quite a rigorous process to find Caroline, but she has really outdone herself,” Amed says. “If you looked at these designs and didn’t know who had created them they could be created by any top young designer. We had over 100 applications for the prize, which in and of itself shows you the volume of Chinese talent out there. I think that’s really demonstrating the fact that Chinese design — just like design everywhere — comes in all forms, shapes, and expressions.”

According to Caroline Hu, the support from BoF and Yu Holdings has been more than she could have ever imagined. However, it’s Shanghai’s own emerging fashion industry that is otherwise supporting young Chinese design. “I think now, China’s growing fashion industry is very supportive of young Chinese talent,” Hu says. “People are graduating from fashion schools around the world and then going back to China to develop and showcase their collections in Shanghai. That’s really exciting.”

China Prize

Imran Amed with all finalists and models of China Prize in Shanghai. Photo: Getty Images for The Business of Fashion

In February, Hu was listed as one of New York Times Top 5 Designers to Watch, further suggesting that the fashion industry is ready for an injection of young Chinese talent. But amidst another exciting season, how is the perception of Chinese design changing at the world’s biggest fashion weeks?

“I don’t think it is changing fast enough,” claims Amed. “I think right now if you go and look at the opportunities to seek out Chinese designers in New York or London or Paris, it still feels like a little bit isolated. For example, they’ll have like one or two ‘Chinese Days’ in New York, but if you look at the audience it’s still mostly Chinese media and attendees. I think the real opportunity is to integrate Chinese design more into the major fashion weeks. Let’s see what happens, but I still think there’s a big opportunity to showcase the talent that is out there. We all have to make an effort to step outside our comfort zone and try and seek out something new.”





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