Erdos – usually quite a dowdy sort of label the one sees in those older luxury malls that appeal to an older, less sophisticated demographic and in second-tier cities – has really changed its image quite a bit. They have been using foreign designers and hypermodel Liu Wen as a brand face, so things are coming along quite a bit. The prints for this Spring’s collection were especially compelling as you can see in these images.
This article from Richard Hobbs’ article on hypebeast is essential reading for brands looking to get into the Chinese fashion market at this particular juncture. Richard explains the way China is moving from being a luxury to a premium market and the new rise of independent, multi-brand stores.
The last year or more has seen an avalanche of articles predicting the demise of the logo and the growth of less flashy but more individualized style in China. See CNBC “Logo fatigue? Chinese now want understated luxury”, “Chinese Luxury Shopping Trends 2014: No Logos And Less Money Driven By Anti-Corruption Measures” from International Business Times, and “How Fashion Brands Adjust to China’s New Niche Style” at the Jing Daily.
It turns out that I am going to be one of the two non-p1 street style photographers featured at “The Great Style Leap” a large exhibit that will be at the Orange, in Sanlitun, from Dec. 13 to 19. This notice on Business of Fashion even uses some of my photos. The question for me is what the them of my wall at this exhibition should be. P1 has taken over six-million street style photos, mostly in Beijing and Shanghai, over the last 5-6 years. It is the biggest, best funded, street style project in the world.
P1 was able to reach such a scale because it was membership-driven. All of the people they photographed should be part of their social network, and they are collecting the data. They really do deserve praise for making the connection between street style and social networks and then building up the business in China. I am not sure how well it is doing as a social network right now – they were a bit late in going mobile – but the idea remains a brilliant standout from the age of street style. Their exhibition, much like Stylites, will be celebrating the birth individuality in China.
So P1 has a good deal of material from which to select. They are using technology to scan through the images to find the trends that have emerged over the years. I have to find a way to fit into this. I think since their work will be almost entirely visual, my approach may be to provide written introductions to some of the interesting personalities around Beijing. I’ve always hoped that Stylites would be more about the actual people than fashion. Still, I am looking for any ideas in terms of the theme for my section of the exhibit.
Stocks in Swiss watch brands plummeted yesterday as the Chinese government “banned advertising for luxury brands”. The luxury brands are again a scapegoat for the government. There have been several big announcements like this over the last couple years. Above all, these produce a great deal of confusion for both consumers and the luxury brands because they are never well-defined and that reflects the reality that they are more of publicity stunt than anything else. The comments online seem to mostly be mystified. No one except the owners of stock in Swiss watch brands seems sure of what a “luxury good” is, for the purposes of this law. I think last time it was advertisements in public spaces that were prohibited. I still see them in airports and other somewhat higher end locations, so I’m not sure what it means. This new regulation applies to TV and radio. I saw that some the reports in Western media didn’t seem to make this distinction. There was no mention of print and online. The online commentary I have read in Chinese was predicting a continued switch into these realms by LV and all the rest.
Today commemorates the birth of the American nation and the one day set aside each year where overt displays of patriotism are not only welcomed, but encouraged. On this day the American flag T-shirt paired with cornflower blue trousers and bright white sandals—what I imagine Uncle Sam would wear on summer vacation—would not be in minority among the crowds of flag-waving parade goers.
Business of Fashion offers a helpful list of the top 20 figures in Chinese fashion. In addition to a slew of business owners from Hong Kong, several key Mainland media figures like Hong Huang and Angelica Cheung make the list. Even blogger Hong Huang and stylish Lucia Liu are here. Including Melvin Chua also seems to make sense given the huge number of events that are his work.
It was a bit surprising not to see Su Mang, Assistant Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Bazaar, Bazaar Jewelry and other publications and Assistant Publisher for the whole Trends, the largest fashion publishing group in China. Given that the Trends Group is the main voice deciding how the mainstream population of China digests fashion, Liu Jiang, the Founder and President of the group might also have been included. I understand that BOF might have wanted a selection of figures from manufacturing, retail, media, design, and modeling; there might not have been enough room for Su Mang or Liu Jiang. Still, the list does seem a bit Hong Kong tilted.
The era of brand-obsession, in which brand and price tag trump design, seems to be ending fast. As tastes evolve and diversify, Chinese designers and brands are seeing increasing interest in their products at home.
Chinese tourists were out in full force this past holiday season, causing quite a stir in the western world. According to Global Blue, a tax-refund and shopping service provider, Mainland tourists’ duty-free spending globally in December not only was estimated at over $170 million, but also accounted for more than 24 percent of the company’s global transactions, making them the largest demographic of tax-free shoppers in the world. Given these numbers, it is little surprise that stores all over the world are targeting Chinese consumers with collections designed specifically for them like dragon inscribed investment-grade gold.
Favorite of Beijing fashionistas, Beauty Berry by Wang Yutao just became the first Mainland Chinese fashion designer to show at Berlin Fashion Week. His trip and show were financed by Mercedes Benz, the main sponsor for Beijing and Berlin fashion weeks. More from the WSJ.