For years, Chinese manufacturers have been looking to take control of their operations by manufacturing their own brands by partnering with foreign and Chinese designers.
One advantage of being based in China is that local brands have shorter lead-times and faster production schedules with a flexible supply chain that enables the company to achieve numerous product designs in smaller batches, with a fast replenishment, that can respond quickly to changing consumer demands.
I explore the changing landscape of China, the fastest growing online marketplace in the world, established Chinese brands, and emerging brands.
Online shopping is a necessity in Mainland China, as its the number one online sales platform in the world. Chinese consumers purchase online as it takes less time. Going to the shop consumes a lot of time and shopping itself can last an entire day.
If you have decided to take your luxury fashion brand to China, your brand has to be accessible for online buyers, it is better to collaborate with popular e-commerce platforms instead of creating your own e-shop on your website.
Exploring, one of the most popular online shopping platforms in China:
Tmall is the go-to site for any consumer brand looking to make it in the China marketplace. To allow foreign brands to highlight their products on Tmall, they established an English portal that charges higher fees to foreign enterprises versus local Chinese companies.
Tmall was built off of established brands but last year they wanted to focus on home-grown fashion talent and the growing creative culture in China, creating a new meaning for the term “Made in China” and promoting the trend of “Designed in China.”
The initiative aims to help Chinese brands expand globally, through designer-buyer matchmaking, e-commerce collaborations and showcases at fashion week events.
For NYFW (New York Fashion Week), this spring was the 2nd season highlighting the best of Chinese brands at “China Day” during NYFW.
Fashion week allowed users who spot something they like on the runways to be able to add it to their digital shopping basket immediately thanks to what Alibaba is calling their “See Now, Buy Now” program.
What drives the online sales is established and emerging brands, below I look at some success stories from Mainland China:
Founded in 1994 by a team of 12 art and design students, the Chinese fashion brand JNBY initially got inspiration from the look of club kids in the late 1980s and 90s.
JNBY designs, promotes and sells contemporary apparel, footwear, accessories, and household products. Their products target middle-to-upper-income customers who seek to express their individuality through fashionable products. In 2013, JNBY started making clothing for kids.
Today, JNBY has 1,500 stores worldwide with its head office in Hangzhou, China.
Shanghai Meters/Bowne Fashion was established in 1995 in Shanghai, China and today have over 4,000 stores today.
Meters/Bowne is a Chinese casualwear fashion brand that targets teenagers to those in their 20s. It is the biggest Chinese casualwear fashion brand that still owns 5 layers of flagship stores.
Anta Sports (http://en.anta.com/) was established in 1994, in Jinjiang, Fujian province, and listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2007. By 2014, Anta’s market value surged to 6.4 billion dollars bringing it to the fifth position among the list of biggest sporting goods companies globally after Nike, Adidas, Under Armour and Lululemon.
Anta Sports Products designs, develops, manufactures and markets sportswear, including sports footwear, apparel, and accessories. The company has established an extensive distribution network with a leading presence in second and third-tier cities in China.
Shanghai Tang started as a single luxury boutique in 1994 and has grown into a chain with over 23 stores today.
It was the first global Chinese luxury brand combining the elegance and fusion of East to West.
David Tang Wing-Cheung from Hong Kong started his Shanghai Tang business as a little boutique in 1994.
Shanghai Tang has become the most successful international luxury brand internationally because of its high-quality materials, combined distinctively with Chinese styling and attitude.
In 1998, Richemont (Swiss luxury group) started investing in Shanghai Tang, and completely took over the brand in 2008, in 2017 it was sold to an Italian businessman, Alessandro Bastagli who promised to expand the brand.
Angel Chen has been credited for igniting a global fire of bold, Chinese talent. Bringing a burst of color to her designs, the Shenzhen-born 26-year-old made the Forbes China “30 Under 30” shortlist in 2016, and has since gained a dedicated international fan base. With designs fusing East and West, ANGEL CHEN is stocked worldwide at 30 retailers, including Lane Crawford and Urban Outfitters.
The Shenzhen designer has been something of a poster child for Chinese fashion for a while now, and more boutiques across Europe and Asia stock her eye-catching garments every year.
In 2015, Kanye West told Ximon Lee he was “killing it”, and the Chinese-born designer was instantly catapulted into the global fashion spotlight, acquiring a group of fashion-forward fans.
Since then, he has been based out of Berlin, having been trained in New York, and raised across China. In Lee’s words, his eponymous label “refuses to be defined by location or gender norms”. His avant-garde style merges slick, angular tailoring with a variety of muted leathers and dark denim designs.