Knock, Knock. . .Who’s There?. . .Asia

Opportunity knocks in Asia for those brave and progressive U.S. emerging designers [EDGE]. Do you have a global business strategy that taps into the East’s demand for fashion from the West?

Here are a few tidbits of what’s going on in the Asia market:

  • The Chinese are still the biggest buyers of luxury goods globally, making 29% of all purchases, according to consultants Bain & Company, despite a cooling Chinese economy.
  • Angelica Cheung, Vogue China’s editor-in-chief, says today’s luxury market is “very multi-layered (and) complicated,” adding that most international brands are failing to connect with Chinese consumers.  What (brands) don’t realize is how quickly things change, from month to month, from day to day even … one thing I keep stressing is the multi-layered reality of the market now … you cannot have one single strategy for the country,” she says.
  • Erwan Rambourg, luxury analyst and author, says “The speed (of change) comes from the fact that youth is driving sales. The Chinese luxury consumer is in their 20s, compared with the European who is in their mid-30s and in the U.S. older. Young people in China are all over blogs and forums, chatting all the time.  Brands are finding it difficult to adapt because they are not very tech savvy,” he says.

Today’s Chinese consumers are sophisticated and refined.  Their changing patterns of consumption are more likely to demand niche brands [OPPORTUNITY]. The luxury conglomerates [LVMH, Prada, Gucci], although still strong, are reporting disappointing financial results in this market, where growth has slowed to 2% versus a 30% rise in 2011.  This younger audience associates these brands with an older generation.

  • The cultural influences between East and West continue to ignite our imagination. The Metropolitan Museum of Art will celebrate the influence of China on fashion, film and art. The May 2015 exhibition,  presented in the Museum’s Chinese Galleries and Anna Wintour Costume Center, will feature more than one hundred examples of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear alongside Chinese art.
  • The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing is currently exhibiting seven solo shows of Los Angeles artists, The Los Angeles Project.
  • Asian names are well established on the fashion catwalks in America, and a new wave of Asian designers already accomplished in their countries are looking to make inroads in the lucrative U.S. fashion market. With the close of a month long  Fashion Week Spring|Summer 2015 season,  “innovation from the Paris  runway came from the far East” [Yohji Yamamoto, Comme Des Garcons], says Angelo Flaccavento, BoF columnist.


What does this mean for the EDGE network?  Be a powerhouse and rule your niche. There is no denying we [on all levels] operate, communicate,  connect, and are connected in a global [complex] society, today.  Leverage the opportunity to do business in the Asia market. Understand and act on how it fits within the vision and strategy of your business.

A few more stats to ponder. . .

  • China is set to overtake the United States as the world’s largest apparel market by 2017, according to market research firm Euromonitor.
  • Rambourg goes on to say. . .If projections hold, Chinese shoppers will account for more than half of all luxury sales by 2025.


1) Vogue China editor: Luxury brands don’t get Chinese consumer,  By Lianne Turner, CNN and Mairi Mackay, for CNN; September 29, 2014.

2)  Luxury Brands in a Quandry as China’s Wealthy Young Develop Resistance to Bling, Edward Helmore, the guardian | The Observer.



Rhonda P. Hill

Founder, Publishing Editor

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