A brief history of BoF China fashion business | Which mature Chinese designers can truly occupy the international market?

Shanghai, China — Since the reform and opening up in the 1980s, when China has a world-renowned apparel brand is a topic that is constantly being controversial and constantly expected. Today, a number of Chinese design rookies who graduated from the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and Parsons The New School for Design continue to bring fashion to the fashion world. Come surprise. It seems that the internationalization process that several generations of Chinese designers are looking forward to seems to be about to make new breakthroughs. So, who will be the first mainland Chinese designer to truly occupy the international market share?

Because business success or not needs to pass the test of time, so I exclude those designers who have entered the business field for less than 10 years. The reason why I chose 10 years is because from the perspective of China’s business development history, many entrepreneurs or companies have been ten years; and those who have survived for 10 years are really powerful designers. This time division also locks the designers tracked in this article to at least 30 years of age.

Designer Marco is by far the most influential Chinese designer in the international fashion circle. However, Marco has never set a business goal, so her biggest breakthrough will not be business, but social influence, which is the goal pursued by its useless. The first to visit the “Four Big” Fashion Week, Xie Feng, after five consecutive years of Paris Fashion Week, is now focused on developing the domestic market. There is currently no indication that he is ready to continue to work in the international market.

Zhang Huishan (left), Wang Juice (right) | Image source: Flickr

In the business breakthrough, the performance of two Chinese designers is very worth looking forward to. They are Uma Wang and Huishan Zhang. Although the growth paths of the two are not completely consistent, there are many commonalities in life experience, design and commercial performance: they all went abroad to study in adulthood; compared to the Chinese designers born and raised in China, they are carrying “The burden is less; the inclusiveness of the cultures and ideas of each country is greater; but at the same time, there is no loss of the aesthetic philosophy in the bones of the national culture, such as introversion and implicitness.

Before they started their own brand, they both experienced business experience and learned how to maintain the characteristics of their design language while satisfying the needs of a wider range of people. Compared with other Chinese mainland designers, the two are also worth learning in establishing a public image at home and abroad. In English, Google or Yahoo! are the names of mainland Chinese designers and brands who are now on the “Four Big” Fashion Week. They are only two designers who can find systematic reports. The so-called “systemic” report, one refers to the level of the media; the second is to see the number of reports. The media that reported the two designers covered almost the world’s most heavyweight media. These reports were not one or two pieces, but they almost followed their quarterly press conference. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can also see their active accounts on several mainstream English social media. The results of searching other designers show that their information is scattered and fragmented; there is no active account on English social media.

It is based on the above comprehensive management from design to public relations that the two people’s achievements in sales channel expansion are also remarkable. Their official website shows that Huishan Zhang has almost entered several of the world’s most elite buyers, including Browns, Joyce, Barneys, Opening Ceremony, Harvey Nicoles and Bergdorf Goodman. The global stores that sell Uma Wang have more than 15 countries and regions. There is no doubt that this is the most important basis for the two people to look forward to. For designers who can’t sustainably produce effective sales, fame can bring a bubble of honor.

Wang Tao (left), Chen Yezhen (right) | Image Source: The other party provides

Undoubtedly, Wang Jiang and Zhang Huishan have already stepped into the circle of the international fashion system compared to other designers – they know how to use international language and follow the rules of the international fashion industry to expand the international market. The same thing to look forward to is another designer Wang Tao. Wang Tao joined the “Broadcast” in 2002. At that time, there were only 100 stores in the “Broadcast”; today, there are more than 800 stores, and the annual retail sales amounted to 2.5 billion yuan. Wang Tao, the chief designer, contributed to this performance. Because of this, the Japanese Broadcasting Group, which belongs to “Broadcasting”, decided to sponsor Wang Tao to create his own brand “Taoray Wang” and in 2013 assisted him to start the launch of New York Fashion Week. Not only that, but the Ribo Group has invested heavily in a four-story building in Sohu, New York, as the international headquarters of the Ribo Group, some of which will contribute to Taoray Wang as the brand’s first international flagship store. Wang Tao has taken another path of “individual path”. Start a business for others and start your own business. Although it is later than others to develop personal entrepreneurship, it is of course very clear to those who truly understand business rules that the importance of capital strength at this time.

At the same time, in the field of high-level customization, in addition to the familiar name, there is also a Chinese designer to look forward to – Grace Chen. As one of the earliest Chinese designers studying at the New York Fashion Institute (FIT), she has more than 10 years of business experience in the American apparel industry, following the close-knit study of Italian senior editors, and years of research on the body data of Chinese women. The biggest advantage of its eponymous brand is that she has accurately found a group of consumers at the right time and provided them with customizations that match their identity. The reason for saying “appropriate time” is because before she had many practicing habits in China. But these high-profile designers insist that there are very few today. This is not necessarily the incompetence of the designer, but more of the immature consumer market. Today, with the increase of art and various cultural and social activities, Chinese women have more and more demand for Gaoding, and therefore Chen Yezhen has a place to use the military. The so-called “appropriate crowd” is because she has found the most elite female class in China, mainly female politicians and entrepreneurs. And “customization in line with their identity” can not be as sexy and unassuming as Western women, nor can they be too sultry like a star; they need dignity and elegance, but they also have their own personality.

Exceptions Spring/Summer 2016 Collection | Image Source: Exception

In addition, the current “Exception de Mixmind” led by Mao Jihong, “Zuczug” created by Wang Yiyang and the “God” brand led by Liang Zi also have plans to enter the overseas market – as accumulated in the market Brands that have been in business for more than 15 years are likely to become international icebreakers. However, for the designers of these native Chinese mature brands, their challenge lies in the renewal of ideas. For example, how to effectively retain the Chinese culture they adhere to while allowing the international market to accept this culture? They also have a stubborn perception of “brand stores” – that only “brand stores” are “upper grades” and they are afraid to stack their own brands with other brands and enter multi-brand collection stores. They believe that doing so is detrimental to their brand image. The fact is that in the European and American markets, multi-brand collection stores are the mainstream sales channels for designer brands. Even the brands of luxury companies do not have as many stores as they do in China. In addition, Internet thinking is also a big challenge for these designers who have entered the age of 40. Some of them still believe that the Internet is only used for publicity, and that what is sold on the Internet is not a high-end thing.

In the process of internationalization, Chinese designers face many challenges in competing with Western brands that already have rich “combat” experience in the international market. The first question is: in the context of the global retail industry downturn, Chinese designers and brands will rely on what advantage to stand on the international market and become a brand that can compete with European and American brands. Of course, the whole world now regards the Chinese as “the rich master”, but whether it can win by capital alone is still worthy of analysis.

Secondly, in the experience of multinational company management, the experience of international brands is far from what China’s local apparel companies can expect. The management experience of the international market is definitely not a problem that designers can solve. It requires an international operations team. Although in theory, all of this can be done by recruiting a team of professional managers with international management experience. To achieve this goal, companies need a Chinese entrepreneur with an international perspective – and this is the most lacking factor for Chinese designer brands. Of course, if they are fortunate enough to find an international investor or business partner, the plot of the story may become simpler. But, at that time, can we define them as “China” brands?

Therefore, it is worthwhile to look forward to the internationalization of Chinese design brands, but it also needs to be cautiously optimistic.

Buyer training announcement

content : About the fashion industry and buyers

1. Understand the fashion industry and retail formats

2. The current status and future development trend of the global fashion industry

3. China’s current situation and challenges

4. Comparison of Chinese and Western clothing industry differences

5. Buyer’s job introduction and its development prospects

Training mode : WeChat class, there are after-school audio and PPT data. In order to ensure that students absorb content, students need to do pre- and post-job assignments.

time : July 17th, 14:00-16:30 (2 hours lecture, 30 minutes discussion)

cost : 299 yuan

Contact information:

Weibo: Cold fashion

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Answer: Christine Tsui (1 minute response time)

Value: Christine Tsui (answer time 1-5 minutes)

China Fashion Briefing

1. 7 concepts about building a fashion brand with a great experience economy

The arrival of the experience economy era will bring the following changes to the retail industry, such as the further reduction of goods; the store will change the exhibition hall; the manufacturer will become the focus of competition; the time will become “hard currency”; the retailer will not only cover consumers by omni-channel It is also necessary to strive for limited free time in the digital life of consumers; digitalization will become an important driving force for the retail industry, and besides, customization will also become a key.

——BoF Fashion Business Review

2. New direction for the transformation of the garment industry

The garment industry is facing transformation and upgrading. Grasping the net red effect, transforming the service model, and embracing the new technology will be an important opportunity for the apparel industry from the traditional manufacturing garment industry to the service consumer and close to the market. At present, Net Red affects a group of consumers through its own mix and temperament, and also changes the channel layout of clothing brands. Net red marketing indicates the arrival of the accurate supply era of the clothing industry. In addition to effective supply, how to achieve deep docking with users has always been the focus of the transformation and upgrading of the apparel industry. Apparel manufacturers should abandon the old thinking of making clothes and change to lifestyle content providers. In addition, smart manufacturing is greatly improving the production efficiency of the apparel industry. Not only in the production process, but also in the marketing process, the development of virtual fitting software, etc., is also convenient for users to purchase clothing without leaving home, helping enterprises to accurately find user preferences and fashion trends.

——ESC Double Amoy Hall

3. Jiangnan Cloth went to Hong Kong Main Board

The designer brand Jiangnan Cloth recently applied for listing on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. When the listing becomes the norm, the competitive landscape will have more thresholds. It is not a simple product-level price competition with low value, but more integrated marketing competition that combines brand power, product strength and store power. Listing is the starting point for the company.


4. The transformation direction of the clothing industry

Recently, the “Red Collar Suit” was used as a sample of the transformation of China’s manufacturing industry 4.0, which was widely publicized with a bit of political significance, and was considered to represent the supply-side transformation direction of the apparel industry in the context of overcapacity in China’s garment industry. But for the apparel industry, the focus of transformation is on building brand culture and strengthening intellectual property protection, while manufacturing should shift to other parts of the world where costs are lower. Mass customization has little significance for the transformation of the apparel industry, but it still has great significance for panel furniture, home appliances, machinery, automobiles, architectural profiles and other industries.

——Chen Guo

5. Build omnichannel marketing

The emergence of Internet e-commerce allows goods and services to go online quickly, so that the information gap between producers and consumers is quickly smoothed out, and the traditional channel system is also online, leading to online and offline competition without boundaries. Going low, competition is fierce, and the production of enterprises is infinitely close to the cost line. In this context, if enterprises want to survive, they must reconstruct a value chain of marketing integration, upgrade their own operational capabilities, and evolve from controlling the products, channels, and markets to controlling consumers. Through professional services, to meet the individual needs of consumers, to change their own production system, to carry out flexible production, it is possible to obtain profits and achieve a win-win situation for consumers, businesses and producers.

—— Jacob column

Cold and cold also provides consulting and training for business and individual entrepreneurs. Its service organizations include Condé Nast Fashion Training Center, Vipshop and so on. If you are starting a business in the fashion industry, or if your business has any problems with buyers, merchandising, and retail operations, welcome a private letter. Please be sure to introduce yourself. I will not reply to any private letter that does not have self-introduction.

I don’t do any free training and consultation.

Contact information

Weibo: Cold fashion

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Answer: Christine Tsui (1 minute response time)

Value: Christine Tsui (answer time 1-5 minutes)