Archive – November 2006

Funny how trends change…

November 29 2006 (03:32:00) US/Pacific

Archive - November 2006

The Eiffel Towers, from Cheap Monday, subverting the low paradigm.

Karl Lagerfeld dropped several stones to wear Dior Homme. Jiang Zemin is going to use the Lagerfeld diet to get into these jeans.

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Loucheness is ephemeral, authority is forever.

Upward the rise!!!!!!!!

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Sitting back is more relaxing and healthy

November 29 2006 (03:24:00) US/Pacific

“We were not created to sit down for long hours, but somehow modern life requires the vast majority of the global population to work in a seated position. This made our search for the optimal sitting position all the more important.”

-Waseem Amir Bashir, a researcher at the University of Alberta Hospital in Canada.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20061128/sc_livescience/newadvicedontsitupstraight

You need to stop sitting straight and lean back when you are facing the screen.

Standing straight is still important for appearing taller and more handsome.

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Creativity from South Korea

November 27 2006 (01:59:00) US/Pacific

This very short piece sums up the problem with a lack of creativity among young Chinese and its source:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/26/weekinreview/26readfile.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

I find it relevant for the general subject of counterfeiting. It also mentions the current position of South Korea as source of all things wacky and modern for East Asia.

Comments

I must beg to differ about Japan’s lack of creativity of export-quality stuff. HK and Taiwan have been borrowing Japanese trends and fashion for oh the past 30 years probably and the current popularity of Samsung phones is poor backup for the author’s argument. That being said, the comment on China’s educational system is spot-on. Our lunch conversation today centered around when if ever China will ever get around to getting a 3G mobile network. Don’t you ever get the feeling that you are wasting your time climbing the corporate ladder at low wages in a developing country for the next 5-10 years when you could be off doing more interesting things in the rest of the world? Maybe you really love Beijing and have really bought into the ‘China is the future’ story but I am quite convinced that unless there some drastic top-down change happens here, then the country isn’t going anywhere fast. Just based on your writing and clothes knowledge I am quite sure you could get a killer job working as some sort of apparel industry/China consultant to any big-name firm in Europe and making 80 g’s a year if not more, all you need is the connection with the job… My $0.02
Posted by Pescatore on 11/29/2006 09:40:14 AM

That’s very kind of you to say. Now I do just need that connection. I really appreciate your frequent comments here and I hope that we can meet up at some point in the near future. Are you still in Shanghai?
Posted by stylites on 11/30/2006 11:34:54 AM

The more I think about it, the more fond I become of the sound of those 80 g’s you are waving for me out there. How is this done? Money is such a vulgar thing, but one has to be around vulgar people in life.
Posted by stylites on 12/01/2006 05:54:07 AM

Also, let’s here more about the country going nowhere fast…perhaps a contribution to my blog? I see fewer jeans tucked into plastic boots this year, which I think means things must be progressing toward something better.
Posted by stylites on 12/01/2006 05:57:35 AM

hear – why don’t they let you edit comments?
Posted by stylites on 12/01/2006 05:58:47 AM

‘Going nowhere fast’ in my book means: it is over 25 years since gai ge kai fang and still I can’t have a more meaningful conversation with Zhang San Li Si on the street than either 1)’can you use chopsticks/can you eat chinese food etc’ 2)the ‘national representative’ conversation 3) ‘let me speak English to you because you obviously are incapable of having a proper knowledge of Our China’s incredibly difficult 5000-year-history language’ ten years ago when we were going to school I would have put the previous 3 conversations into perspective by saying ah well it is a learning experience, now they just bore me to tears so I’m leaving Shanghai probably at the beginning of ’08. If you hadn’t heard, apparently Dr. Han retired and now lives in Shanghai again, I have been meaning to look him up one of these days.
Posted by Pescatore on 12/04/2006 08:31:05 AM

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Never Buy the Real Thing

November 27 2006 (01:35:00) US/Pacific

This article on electronics discusses customers mistaking the real thing for a fake:

http://newpaper.asia1.com.sg/news/story/0,4136,118196,00.html

Chatting over pizza last night, two friends and I concluded that the only safe course of action in China is to buy the fake.

Almost no shop can convince you that you have bought the real thing. These days, good fakes sell for the same price as the original, so high price does not prove a product is genuine. The only way to feel confident is to buy the fake, for a low price. At least you know it is fake, and can feel happy that you got a bargain. If it falls apart, at least you didn’t pay full price. What if the thing you thought was real and for which you paid full price were to fall apart?

This is the environment of uncertainty and fear that fakes create. Since you never know, you can never have enough trust in sellers to buy something claiming to be real.

Moreover, sellers claiming fake items are real will charge too much for the fake. They also generally lack knowledge of the product and (faked) brand which they are selling. The best thing is to find honest sellers of fake products, or sellers who ackowledge that they do not know the precise origin or identity of the products they sell.

By the way, this isn’t my idea. I took it from someone else.

Comments

I’m tempted to try an item from hong kong. Which brand do you think is usually faked in better quality(I don’t mean overproduction)?
Posted by Panna on 11/27/2006 08:57:15 AM

Well it really depends on what category of good you are seeking. I know most about fashion-forward menswear. In this category, I would recommend the fake Dior Homme, Paul Smith (the best), Kris Van Asche (sp?), and some more obscure Japanese designers that are being faked. Dsquared is also quite good, if you like their style with much weird logo-use and clever pictures. Avoid Versace, most D&G (there is some good D&G – it is clearly made by a whole range of producers with differing levels of quality), Gstar, Energie, and Gucci. I see keep away from sneakers. Although they look very much like the original, it is more difficult to assess quality. Why don’t you wait a little bit? I’m trying to find away for Americans to buy directly from China. The fake Dior stuff from HK sells at 3-4 times the domestic price.
Posted by stylites on 11/27/2006 09:26:48 AM

Thanks for your answer. So I’ll try DH or Paul Smith… On ebay.com are a lot of chinese guys…. Don’t you recommend this way? I’m from germany so I would prefer to buy with paypal…but the shipping costs seems to be reasonable..
Posted by Panna on 11/27/2006 01:28:46 PM

I don’t really want to support buying fakes. It me feel bad to be giving advice about which ones are good. So should we be coming up with solutions for this problem? Should citizens of the countries in which the brands are produced not buy fakes? Is it unpatriotic? Are we supporting China’s rise and the West’s demise when we buy their fakes of our stuff?
Posted by stylites on 11/29/2006 03:16:03 AM

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N+1 at Le Petit Gourmand

November 25 2006 (09:10:00) US/Pacific

Today I went to two potential distribution points for N+1. The Bookworm and Le Petit Gourmand. I left a copy of the magazine at the Bookworm and scheduled a meeting with their manager for Monday. Then I went to Le Petit Gourmand and talked for an hour with the manager. He was very interested and agreed to put a copy on display. He will arrange for me to discuss sales with their library manager.

http://www.lepetitgourmand.com.cn/

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N+1 is a new publication out of the Lower East Side with no equivalent in the literary world. It has been billed as an East Coast answer to the Believer, but the sensibilities of the magazines are very different. The commitment of n+1 has always been to a serious, academic engagement with a broad spectrum of cultural, political, and literary topics relevant to the here and now. Each issue of the magazine is comprised of essays on politics and the intellectual situation, fiction, translation, and reviews. The magazine aspires to an international focus and appeal and believes in the compatibility of passion, genuineness, humor, and rigorous intellectual thought. N+1 has been written up in a great number of brand name newspapers, among them the New York Times Magazine, the Boston Globe,the TLS, the Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung, Revue des Deux Mondes…etc. The editors publish frequently in the New Yorker and New York Review of Books. They have published works of fiction, among them
“Indecision” by Benjamin Kunkel. And essays from the magazine have been reprinted in Harpers and the Best American Essays.

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The Beijing Auto Show

November 24 2006 (03:22:00) US/Pacific

There is something appropriate about going to an auto show on Thanksgiving – no? Auto culture is such an important contribution of the US to the world. But, predictably, our gaze was attracted most by the European cars.

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The models match the Lamborghinis in style. I always imagine a short guy in pleated pants, a black zip-up cardigan, and a black leather blazer jumping out of one of these and saying, in a nasally voice: “My Lambo can do 0-60 in 3.1 seconds.” It just seems like a supercar for flashy dweebs, the kind of guys who froth about hot chics like these models.

Below is the chariot of modern royalty, now the car for Shanxi mining barons to own by the fleet, and pay for entirely in cash. Ah, the ghetto economy…China probably already has a GDP twice the size of the US.

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This model had a severe expression, matching well with the grill and headlights of the atrocious vehicle next to which she stood. Through all manner of Simian antics, I made her crack a smile, which brought smiles to all of the onlookers. I promptly frowned, and proclaimed smiling to be vulgar and fake.

If you do decide to buy an oversized Rolls Royce like this, please keep in mind that you need a chauffer. The new models may be ugly, but this is still the automobile of princes, statesmen, and magnates. You don’t drive it around town for a thrill. This may seem obvious, but Hong Kong princelings have been known to adore scooting around town at the wheel of this big toy. In an effort to stem this tide eroding the exclusivity of his empire’s most esteemed brand, a previous governor-general passed an edict banning this abuse.

I advise young and affluent mainlanders to study the way the male lead in the Lover (L’Amant) uses his Rolls. The film is a lovely ode to romance in a colonial setting, with an interesting reversal, from the racial perspective.

I will be posting more pictures from the auto show as they come in.

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Dior Homme, a Major Chinese brand

November 22 2006 (03:37:00) US/Pacific

I spoke too soon about China Dior Homme – apparently it is already big on US ebay. Please note that all these coats are made in Italy:

http://cgi.ebay.com/DIOR-HOMME-Jpn-ed-super-100-s-SUIT-JACKET-BNWT-48_W0QQitemZ300050367823QQihZ020QQcategoryZ57988QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

http://cgi.ebay.com/DIOR-HOMME-Mens-Black-Long-Belted-Wool-Coat-Jacket-S_W0QQitemZ260055501660QQihZ016QQcategoryZ3002QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Please note that in the second listing, it says, under shipping and handling:

“We don’t ship to Italy”

There are some items which seem like they could be real, due to high price and distinctiveness:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Galliano-for-Christian-Dior-Homme-Leather-Bomber-Jacket_W0QQitemZ250050239691QQihZ015QQcategoryZ3002QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

John Galliano? They would really fake that weirdo’s designs? At the same time, coming from Hong Kong, this cannot be real. I see this as a trend that the big brands really have to be wary of. Soon the fakes will really be bought unawares by the same people who would shell out to buy the genuine article.

These people do not have the time, imagination, or money to do it the hard way and create their own brand. Their profits are squeezed by the real brands for which they do manufacturing. This is their only choice, it seems. They have to piggyback. It is revenge for colonialism – revenge for the imperialism of our brands. Soon they will be producing the exact same quality and style at an only slightly lower price. No more shoddy knock-offs. This will be the real Dior Homme in every way, except for the identity of the person making the profits. Maybe they will only take action when the Chinese government actually acquires LVMH.

I just don’t understand why ebay doesn’t control this sort of thing. Is there any doubt about these being fakes? Good fakes, maybe, but it is embarassing for ebay and America, in a sense, considering we have created the platform for selling fakes of luxury European goods.

I can’t wait to check Taobao.

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Are they fakes or not? What type of fakes are they?

November 21 2006 (06:25:00) US/Pacific

This is new question in the Chinese fashion world. Fakes are no longer just boring Prada and Gucci handbags and over-sized Zegna suits. Now we see loads of Paul Smith floral shirts, Catherine Melandrino silk ball gowns, and Marc Jacobs peasent shirts – not to mention mountains of Dsquared, Roberto Cavalli, and Y3. And the quality is good – with the pieces often being seemingly one off. These are not just black leather bags and logo T-shirts. We are now talking about very detailed prints and cuts – special interest high fashion goods. Often only one or two items are available in a given shop. You wonder how many are being produced to begin with.

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This is a shop in the building next to the Henderson Centre. The prices are quite high for China, with Ralph Lauren pants selling for 20 dollars, Paul Smith shoes selling for 55 dollars, Abercrombie and Fitch tee shirts selling for 15 dollars, and Burberry sweaters selling for 50 dollars.

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There is a bit of the usual stuff. The shop assistants were going wild while I did this, so I only got a few pictures.

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These Paul Smith shoes are everywhere, on the web and in shops. I have a pair. I am ashamed of this.

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This is the first time I have seen Dior intended to be Dior Homme selling in this way. This sweater is wool, very slim-fitting, and has rhinestones woven into the front. It says “made in Italy” and that it is intended for the Japanese market. The price is about 45 dollars. The avant garde styling and slim fit indicate that this is supposed to be the Dior Homme line, designed by Hedi Slimane, rather than crappy Christian Dior diffusion lines. For those who do not follow fashion, Hedi Slimane is considered one of the most revolutionary designers of men’s clothing. The Dior Homme line revived the prestige of Christian Dior as a menswear label.

Anyway, despite the great fame of Dior Homme, it had not until recently reached the shelves of stores like this that sell high-end potential fakes.

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Before I started pictures, I asked to try one on. They brought out a different size from the back.

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There were also many (10-15 on display) Dior tee-shirts in black and white with random patterns and words. These were selling for about 12 dollars. These didn’t seem as much like direct copies.

What I am interested in here is the variety of fakes. Some brands are clearly made in China. When you see polo and A&F it is not so much a fake as an overproduced goods. Paul Smith, Dior, and others are a mystery since they are not produced here. They are either (1) copied from pictures, (2) not based on the real product – just using the brandname, (3) copied from real articles of clothing.

There is a lot that can be said about this and I invite the contributions of others.

Comments

I too was wondering about the fakes that are clearly not from factory over-runs. And I am also curious about the real price of these goods as they leave the factory.
Posted by passerby on 11/21/2006 08:40:22 AM

if u go for the “good fakes”, then u can simply replace the word “fake” by “without horrendous marketing costs and irrational profit margins”
Posted by fish on 01/09/2007 05:43:45 PM

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Pollution

November 21 2006 (05:40:00) US/Pacific

According to weather reports, it was a sunny day today. You could even see the sun if you looked hard.
The gases seemed illuminated and glowed more than normal.

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At street level, by the broken rainbow at Jianguomen. It lights up at night.

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One-Button Suit at an Art Auction

November 20 2006 (05:50:00) US/Pacific

Yesterday, we met up with Mike while he was at work at Beijing’s largest annual art auction. He is a spokesman and translator for the company. In his spare time, he covers the Beijing gallery scene and up-and-coming artists for leading international art magazines. One of his next pieces is going to be on foreign artist communes in Beijing. He is also an artist himself, and I’m very eager to see some of his projects. In these pictures Mike is wearing his first suit from Senli and Frye.

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Mike is very happy to have a suit that matches his position, attitude, and personal style. The sacks that other local tailors had made were not the right thing for him. Note the thin lapels with high gorge, and single-button front. Observe the slim silhouette, perfect button stance, and trouser to jacket length ratio.

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Mike is standing by a Qing Dynasty gate. The starting price is around 700,000 dollars for the gate. Archive - November 2006 e4f9458f3681b59597dc74535b5c2b78 rs

Just in the half-hour we spent with Mike, several people praised him for his great style. He really pulls it together, a rare thing for Beijing expats. Mike shows us how to look professional, up-to-date and distinctive. I noticed that his suit had three fewer front buttons than the average for his colleagues.

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Pollution

November 20 2006 (02:32:00) US/Pacific

Archive - November 2006 0ee62ef70d676dfa6b03a8876f06e8f0 rsIt don’tunderstand why I am thinking of ways to produce more stuff. All I should really be considering is how to consume and produce less, and ways of convincing others to do the same.

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Nelsberry

November 19 2006 (02:27:00) US/Pacific

We come ever closer to launch. I think I have located a production facility.

I have also located Chinese-produced velvet!
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Gimme a Dollah

November 16 2006 (06:55:00) US/Pacific

At a Japanese restaurant on Monday night Riel was very much on the money – in a cuddly sort of way.

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Bought locally, no brandname.
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And I too was dining there, in that famous tweed jacket (you should have one made, too):

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Boyz in the Henderson Hood

November 15 2006 (14:58:00) US/Pacific

The lobby of the Henderson Centre was a veritable jungle of models. There is an agency on the twenty-fifth floor, so we often get the visually spectacular. These four hot puppies were all taller than me, not to mention slimmer.

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Do any of them look…er…sympathique?

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Zara in Beijing

November 15 2006 (09:42:00) US/Pacific

I received the following response from Inditex, regarding the opening of Zara in Beijing:

Dear Nels,

We haven’t a closed date but we expect the opening around February/March 2007.

Best regards.

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Christmas Trees!

November 13 2006 (02:50:00) US/Pacific

Sell beautiful fresh-cut Oregon Christmas Trees as a fundraiser and publicity event for your organization!

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The Douglas Fir is a premium 7-8 foot four-sided tree, with a symmetrical, pyramidal shape and dense but uniform branches. The bluish-green needles are soft to the touch and produce a sweet fragrance when crushed.

Delivery to Beijing is Dec. 5

35 dollars a wholesale tree – You sell for 70 dollars a tree!

You buy 50-100 trees

This means a profit of 1750-3500

Sell to friends, colleagues, parents, kids, hotels, etc.

Please contact me at feizhiyuan@yahoo.com or 13910092410 for more information!

 

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Tweed Jacket

November 10 2006 (11:01:00) US/Pacific

This tweed jacket and its fabric are becoming famous. Finding this fabric here in China and turning it into a blazer was brilliant, if I may say so myself. This is the third one that has been made, and I consider it to be a magnificent success.

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This one is in a slightly different style than mine, but it really suits Colin. He is using it here in a very streetwear kind of way – appropriate for his weekend skater self.

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Note the ticket pocket, kissing cuff buttons, and perfect gorge height and lapel width. This style and fit are perfect for Colin. Mine has wider lapels with and a very high gorge. I will post a picture of mine and the one that my friend Mr. Model is making soon.

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I ran into Colin at an American Chamber of Commerce event analyzing new M&A regulations on Monday and he was wearing this jacket with a tie, dress shirt, and slacks. He looked so smart and formal that I didn’t even realize it was the same jacket. It just highlights the versatility of this piece. Mine is more exclusively casual, with visible stictching running the length of the lapels – a half inch in (this is a casual style of stitching-not pick-stitching like you see on suits), sewn on pockets, and no button-hole on the lapel. Let me note here also that all of our button holes are hand-sewn, including the lapel one.

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Here he is with Riel, whose picture can be found below. Riel’s two suits turned out excellently. I do think Riel needs a casual blazer if he is going to continue running with modish blokes like Colin.

Comments

Real Kool stuff:)
Posted by girlygirl on 11/12/2006 01:11:32 PM

Modish blokes need street Tuff protection. But yeah I guess a casual blazer wouldnt hurt
Posted by Roch D. on 11/16/2006 09:16:28 AM

that’s true. It is a tough street here – particularly on the southside. Still up for a trip to the fabric market on Sat?
Posted by stylites on 11/16/2006 09:32:18 AM

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Chinese High Street Brands

November 10 2006 (04:07:00) US/Pacific

The question is why China hasn’t developed a high street type shop like Banana Republic (GAP), Zara, H&M, Topman, etc. These chains usually control every stage of production from design, to manufacturing, to branding, to retailing. The only one that has entered China is Zara, with a highly-successful branch in Shanghai. The others must fear pirating or believe that the market is not mature enough yet for their style and price level. I met a fellow last night whose real estate company approached GAP to assess their interest in entering this market. According to him, they shudder at the great investment this would require, with minimal returns in the short-term. They should develop their brands of course, since the middle classes that eat up their goods are rising fast. Still, fashionable mid-level brands like this are too easily ripped-off – this probably explains why China hasn’t developed its own branded retailers to sell on the domestic market.

Chinese apparel chain stores do exist, but they only sell goods at a low price-level (4-15 dollars). Some of these stores include Giordano, Robin Hood, or those others. The quality and level of these brands is not very much more advanced than athletic wear – and the prices are so low that it wouldn’t be worth ripping it off. They do not sell a comprehensive line of clothing that can take you from the gym, to the office, to a fashionable ball.

There are some chains selling more formal clothing – particularly men’s. One is called Romon, and there are several others. I assume that these can succeed because what they sell is so unfashionable that no one would bother ripping it off. Or maybe they are being ripped off.

Here’s where I’m headed with this analysis: Mid-priced, trendy brands cannot succeed because that market is occupied by fakes. You only have very low-priced, boring clothing, and high-priced designer stuff. The middle classes are left wearing polyester pants and Armanee. However, this will change.

My main concern remains fostering the domestic market for tailor-made clothing. It makes so much sense, given labor costs.

However, Chinese normally buy in order to fit into a high-status group, rather than to set themselves apart as individuals. Consumption is for belonging rather than individualism. We have to prove that wearing tailor-made clothing is a ticket to an elite circle.

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Zara first of trendy retailors

November 09 2006 (04:37:00) US/Pacific

Int’l fashion brands contend for China’s casual wear market

2006-06-26 02:40:35 Xinhua English

BEIJING, June 26 — The top 4 fashion giants of the world, Spanish fashion giant ZARA, the US casual wear brand GAP, Swedish fashion pioneer H&M and reasonably-priced German fashion chain store C&A, are expected to consolidate their position in the Chinese market in two years time.

 

ZARA has already taken the lead to launch its operations in Shanghai, and H&M has recently also announced its plan to establish a retail store in China next year.

 

As China kept its WTO-accession commitment to open up the retail market in 2005, foreign-invested fashion chain stores competed for the markets in the country. Early this year, Inditex SA, the Spanish retailer that owns ZARA, became the first one to enter China.

 

Unlike the high-class fashion brands, these casual wear brands known as the “fashion killers” have products that manifest a fashionable and trendy design, as well as have reasonable prices. They not only own the retail brands, but are also retailers, and therefore play an important role in the industry.

 

Insiders reveal that ZARA, which is still in an exploration phase in China, saw sales that reached 800,000 Yuan (US$100,000) when it started operating in Shanghai this March. In the next stage ZARA will enter into the Beijing market and its shop will be located in the soon-to-be finished fashion complex.

 

Fashion retailing consultant Kurt Salmon Associates released some statistics, showing that China’s casual wear market will grow at an annual pace of 10% to reach a scale of 468 billion Yuan by 2010.

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Clothing in Beijing – Import or Custom-Make?

November 08 2006 (02:52:00) US/Pacific

Beijing is extremely cheap for clothing if you are willing to sacrife on quality and style. If you’re content with the dross at the Zoo or Yaxiu, then fine. Occasionally you happen upon something almost wearable. There is a reason the locals are swathed in polyester, beads, and trousers with seventeen pockets. It’s not just bad taste – there are few other affordable options. Office girls making 5500 rmb who have any style are willing to pay 1200 for a decent pair of shoes and 500 for a wool sweater. Why? There are only a few shops in Beijing where you can get decent quality for a non-astronomical price.

Add in the sizing problem for foreigners, and you are left with very little choice. The “made in China” stuff that you find at Banana Republic and French Connection cannot be bought here at a low price. It makes sense to buy made in China apparel in the USA, because that same apparel is mostly not available here. The quality of exports is superior to what is available on the domestic market. These brands are more expensive in China (even if the products are made here) than in the US and their shops here offer less selection. At the present, the Chinese have not developed an adequate alternative to the big brand names. There is very little non-brandname stuff of acceptable quality. Sometimes, you find decent items in the Waimao shops, but the selection is spotty – not to be relied upon in building a stylish professional or casual wardrobe. If you want a black merino sweater or beautiful leather oxford shoes in your size, you can’t just go out and buy them here, like you can in the States or Europe. So if you want quality, you can either have your clothes sent or made. Of course, the tailors that can produce clothing on the quality level of Topshop, Zara, or even GAP are sparse – not to mention those that can produce clothing on the level of Saville Row or Kiton.

There is a great opportunity here, both for tailors and retailors.

Comments

Shanghai has Zara, my coworker and I were there last night.
Posted by Pescatore on 11/08/2006 12:48:43 PM

Apparently it is opening in Beijing, too. I wonder if I Chinese competitor will emerge.
Posted by stylites on 11/09/2006 03:39:11 AM

I have seen ‘Giorgi Amoni’ being sold in department stores on Huaihai lu (virtually identical logo’, maybe the key is to get a name that can’t be easily duplicated. ‘Zara’ comes to mind as being quite good for this (Well…maybe ‘Sara’ sounds similar…).
Posted by Pescatore on 11/13/2006 07:30:54 AM

That’s an interesting point, Pescatore. What is the distinction between just copying the name exactly and spelling it slightly differently? Is the mispelling just a mitake or a deliberate attempt to mislead customers? Is that mispelling legal by Chinese law? I suppose the assumption is that the Giorgi Armonis are escaping blame because they aren’t using the exact same name, though they are clearing still benefiting from the brand effect of Armani. The point here seems to be finding a name (or design) that triggers the same response of recognition or aspiration in customers that the original does. I wish I had a job that involved intellectual property theft and counterfeiting in China. It seems quite interesting.
Posted by stylites on 11/15/2006 09:40:18 AM

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Sir Paul Smith on Counterfeiting

November 06 2006 (10:27:00) US/Pacific

Back in May 2006, That’s Beijing interviewed Sir Paul Smith. This was one of the questions:

tbj: Counterfeiting is big business here in China. How much of a problem is it for you?

PS: Providing they don’t have a bigger business than yours then I suppose it is okay. In certain things, like in fragrance, it’s quite a problem. But I don’t think we notice it so much because most of the fakes are of very identifiable, famous products or logo products. We don’t really use a logo so, touch wood, we don’t have too much of a problem.

From looking at Taobao.com and countless retail outlets throughout Beijing, it seems as though the counterfeit Paul Smiths have a far bigger business in China than the real Paul Smith. I suspect that many of the Paul Smith products on US and UK ebay are also fakes, made in China.

Back in May of this year, this proliferation of Paul Smith had not yet occurred. It seems to be a phenomenon of the last few months. I am ashamed to say that I have supported this dark process. At first, I didn’t quite realize they were fakes. They are quite good and marketed in an upscale way. The counterfeiters and their merchants do cash in on the brand value of Paul Smith. The people buying fake Paul Smith are the stylish, sophisticated people who would buy the real Paul Smith. Just like with the real Paul Smith, the fake Paul Smith does not sit next to the fake Polo Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton.

At least in the world of fashion, Chinaoften feels like a demented parallel universe.

Comments

爱买假冒的产品, 尤其是服装品牌, 对于爱面子但买不起名牌服装的人来讲, 是类似一种淘宝的行为, 买假名牌的人,大多不是上当了,而是故意去买的. 买到”称心如意”的假名牌服装, 是为了显得很有钱(尤其是logo在非常明显位置),又不用花太多钱.因此假货会很流行. 呵呵.
Posted by feelgreat on 11/07/2006 04:05:44 AM

The “gay student group” in Sun Yat Sen University is actually a student group that focus on homosexuality,though it has an English name HappyTogether. it is not a corny gay or lesbian students group as you might think.
Posted by catcherer.spaces.live.com on 11/08/2006 01:39:48 AM

Don’t worry. It is really a break through to have a gay student group in China. It is great that they will have that support system now. Could I be an hononary member? All I meant was that when you consider the illustrious underground history of homosexuality as a subversive movement, sometimes these student groups seem a little cheesey.
Posted by stylites on 11/08/2006 02:40:01 AM

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Paul Smith Mini Cooper

November 03 2006 (01:32:00) US/Pacific

Here is a very friendly menswear shopkeeper from Xidan. I bought my Halloween costume at his fashionable little cubbyhole of a shop.

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He is posing with his Paul Smith Mini Cooper bag. This is one of the most recognizable pieces from Paul Smith’s current collection.

I found the following amusing, but it is really very frightening. You must click here:

http://search1.taobao.com/browse/30/t-g,obqxk3baonwws5di—————-40-list-commend-0-all-30.htm

It is like an army of ghouls, or I guess an army of clones.

Please consider that almost every one of these listings offers each item in many sizes and styles, potentially in bulk. PaulSmith can also be found on the sites of wholesalers, not to mention on retail. Check out the bags if you have a chance. This is just the men’s stuff. Compare this to the total number of PaulSmith items on US and UK ebays.

This is a link to all the Paul Smith items available on US ebay:

http://clothing.search.ebay.com/paul-smith_Clothing-Shoes-Accessories_W0QQsacatZ11450

PaulSmith is a big brand, but not exactly the very most mainstream type of brand like Gucci or Prada. It’s ironic, because just a year ago I read an interview with Sir PaulSmith about his entry to this market, and he commented that his brand probably wouldn’t suffer like more recognizable ones.

Taobao is China’s domestic competitor for Ebay. It is run by Alibaba.

The penetration of ecommerce in China is not deep. It has not gained acceptance beyond the usual list of prosperous coastal cities, Shanghai, Beijing, et. This is due to an internal logistics system that still lags behind developed regions and buying habits of consumers.

So, this is China with its 1.3 billion customers, but the consumer base for the stuff you see selling is a mere fraction of what it will be.

This raises many questions:

1. How many Paul Smiths are there competing against each other within just one province of China?

2. You can see several different levels of quality just for that one bag on ebay. If you’re a Chinese Paul Smith, is price or quality more important?

3. How does a Paul Smith gain take market share from other Paul Smiths?

4. When did Sir Paul Smith make the foolish move of sourcing from China? Or did he never? Is this just his punishment for having opened two measily stores on the mainland, one in Beijing and one in Shanghai?

There are many other questions, but I must work. Suffice to say, there may be more Paul Smith products just in Guangdong province than the entire rest of the world put together. This is an empire of Paul Smiths.

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At 798

November 03 2006 (01:22:00) US/Pacific

It was a beautiful Sunday: first a trip to the tailor to assist some people with style choices and then a stroll through the art gallery district.

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Suit Fitting

November 02 2006 (01:08:00) US/Pacific

Here is my friend, Riel, a French Canadian, at his first fitting with Senli:

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His two suits (charcoal and navy) were a tremendous success. I’ll try to get pictures up – maybe even some before and after, from a sartorial perspective. It was a revolution from huge double pleats to a slim, but strong, silhouette, perfect for Riel’s slim, but toned, build. I didn’t even realize he had such a great physique before seeing him in the finished suits.

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Online Orders

November 01 2006 (09:46:00) US/Pacific

I should note that over the next few weeks we will develop a system for online orders and measurements. This may or may not come before the proper website. Please keep checking back and referring your friends and colleagues to this site for top quality tailoring. Also, please mention it to anyone coming through Beijing.

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