U.K. fast fashion retailer ASOS has launched a Chinese website. The online retailer is tapping into the the world's second-largest economy with Asos.cn, which is set to launch by Spring 2014 and will join seven other ASOS country-specific sites, including a very recently launched Russian edition. According to ASOS' Chief Executive Officer, Rick Robertson, the China-specific site will initially offer only ASOS-brand garments and accessories before supplementing that offering with the designer goods that are available on its UK and US sites. The site will cater to ASOS' Chinese market by pricing items in the Chinese yuan, providing editorial content and newsletters in Chinese and connecting with Chinese social media sites, such as Sina Weibo. This is just one more indication that China is really coming into its own in the world of fashion.
image courtesy of vogue china
What other signs are there? Well, China recently re-vamped its national trademark legislation, making it easier for trademark holders to apply for legal protection and to provide better protection for existing trademark holders.
The Alibaba Group, a privately owned Hangzhou-based group of Internet-based e-commerce sites, recently invested in SINA Corporation’s Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. This deal is expected to reshape the country’s internet space both in the fashion realm and beyond.
In June, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Vogue launched a new initiative: “Americans in China," which joins the CFDA's existing Chinese/American Designer Exchange Program. As part of the Americans in China initiative, the designer duos behind Proenza Schouler, Rag & Bone and Marchesa showed their Fall/Winter 2013 collection in China in June, as a way of branching into the Chinese market. In case that's not enough, the CFDA also teamed up with Shangpin.com, the leading luxury fashion online shopping platform in China, to bring members designs to the Chinese market.
High fashion is going there: Italian and French fashion houses such as Prada, Fendi, Dior and Louis Vuitton are flocking to China and presenting runway shows for a select Chinese audience, which is a sure sign that this market is one worthy of attention.
The work of Chinese designers is finally being presented together with top brands including Givenchy, Kenzo and Alexander McQueen with the opening of Galeries Lafayette's Beijing store and the Lane Crawford Shanghai store. This marks many Chinese designers' first major commercial cooperation. In the past, they mostly set up their own shops to sell their productions.
And because Hermès is out-done by no one, the Paris-based design house launched its own China-specific brand. In 2008, Hermès debuted SHANG XIA, a brand that aims to revive Chinese crafts that were nearly destroyed by China's Cultural Revolution. It is the brainchild of Patrick Thomas, the French brand's outgoing CEO, and has done so well that it has since opened up shop in Paris.