Here I am wearing my suit from suit from Principal M. at the Kerry Center hotel.
Mark Werts, the founder of American Rag Cie, one of the most interesting multi-brand retailers in the world, founded in Los Angeles in 1984, visited Shanghai recently and attended Showroom Shanghai (时堂）, a rising trade fair in that city. Stylites works quite a bit with The HUB, a Hong Kong-based trade fair, but there are several events somewhat like this rising in the region to try to capture the boom in local designers, the rise of multi-brand stores, and the increasing appetite of local customers for small and medium sized foreign brands. Another interesting fair in Shanghai that is also gaining in strength is On Time, organized by Thomas Thompson and others.
Sanjiv Hulugalle has done more than most hotel general managers to make sure the Four Seasons Hotel Beijing stands out in a crowded luxury landscape, as this Jing Daily article reports. “I’ve been across the globe. In reality, there is a consistency based on people wanting great service and experiences. In China you are seeing a surge of travelers and at a scale that’s unique to the rest of the world; you have people who want to experience things for the first time, but you also have people who have traveled a lot globally and want a luxury experience in their own country.” Discussing the pop-up shops, Sanjiv continues: “The idea for pop-ups started small. Now people are lining up to get a slot. It’s not a huge revenue generator. It creates a buzz. This place is packed compared to six to eight months ago.” When asked to comment on whether a pop-up shop concept would be considered off-brand for a luxury property the General Manger believes, “When you talk from a brand positioning perspective, we as a hotel are very much based around creating experiences for our guests, not only personalized, but unique, that the guest may not have the opportunity to experience anywhere else in the world.”
For the last few months we have been working on a program of pop-up shops at the hotel that I believe has the potential to remake the retail landscape here in China.
With space at shopping centers in China’s top cities difficult to come by for multi-brand stores and smaller designers and traffic far too low on streets, luxury hotels are an interesting alternative for independent players. A regular flow of high-end customers, premium locations, a tendency on the Mainland toward very large lobbies and the need of these hotels for fresh content all combine to offer a very attractive environment for independent players in fashion. These types of shopping experiences have been seen at hotels in the West but they are more important in China, given the size and speed of development of the market. Niche retailers like Wuhao or a small, start-up, brand like Juma can get their foothold in this market via this kind of event.
Here’s an interesting article from the Jing Daily on the subject.
Click below to see some of the rudimentary mood boards that I created.
9/11 aside, it’s funny that apocalypse-type movies are always set in New York when in Beijing the Four Horsemen always seem to be around the corner. Three more days of this and evacuation plans should be activated, but before that I need to start wearing a gas mask from Zhang Chi.
Beijing is back to hazardous 400 Pm 2.5 levels after around a half year of being at merely unhealthy levels.
Jing Daily Publisher Philana Woo contributed this photo of terribly hip artist Tianzhuo Chen. Chen is best known in the fashion world for his collaborations with Sankuanz. Here is a video of the FW 2014 Sankuanz collection that they did together. About her photo, Philana says “Chen demonstrates the dynamism and creativity of China’s younger generation whose taste is galaxies beyond that of their label-clad parents.” Here are some recent pieces by Philana on Jingdaily.
The pop-up of Principle M and Radiance Blue at the Four Seasons Hotel Beijing was captured by Frank Yu who is now one of Beijing’s major street style bloggers (here is his Instagram). Below are some of the highlight products from the week – the bike above was probably the item that got the most attention.
Here are more photos of the Principle M x Radiance Blue x Four Seasons Hotel Beijing pop-up in Opus Lounge.