China will not remain the world’s factory forever, Chinese creation is trending.
For decades, the world considered China as the number one producer and imitator, often pointing out the cheap labor as being source of the “Made In China” low quality. This era is long gone as China is surfacing as a creator market. Designer brands that master both fashion and sustainability are coming up next and this, not only to the Chinese market, but worldwide mainly thanks to the internet. We can outline five different trends that are becoming relevant in China, we will also exemplify these new trends with several Chinese brands that are looking rather promising.
The polished finishes using burning oil or wax finishing have been trending over the last couple of months. Edge finishing or leather burnishing to get a specific polished look, the Chinese’s consumers interests in this new trend is gradually growing. Pairing this polished finishes with durable fashion clothes will reshape the Chinese fashion over the next years.
A long gone era
The days when China was focusing on low quality are long gone too, the focus now is on quality. Chinese designers realized that quality materials will last longer and will be more valuable for the wearer. The materials are important, but so are the finishes. Ultra-matte, leather upgrading, anti-staining, anti-abrasion bring the fashion products to the next level. More efforts can be put into the creating process and the design uniqueness. High-quality, creative, and original fashion is expected to emerge from China in the next couple of years. For example, Chinese brands such as Belle, Anta, Semir, Meterbonwe, Tata and Youngor are competing against international brands. These brands are doing well and are getting more popular by the day. The secret of their success is coming from their bold strategy to open selling outlets in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, where foreign brands are a little reluctant. Even though the ecommerce is skyrocketing all around China, Chinese customers are still used to go shopping in brick-and-mortar facilities.
Successful domestic brands
Belle is the top ladies shoe brand in China, they mainly target middle-class female which are looking for modern classic style. The brand reported a revenue of $ 1.5 billion in 2009 and has over 3,800 retail outlets spread in 150 Chinese cities (incl. 35 in Hong Kong, Macau and the U.S).
Anta Sports Product Limited is a Chinese branded sportswear company. The company was listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange in 2007 and its market value went up to $3.87 billion (5th biggest sporting goods market value in the world after Nike, Adidas, Puma and Asics).
Semir is a casual clothing brand targeting the youth, it has now over 7,500 retail outlets around China, its 2015 revenue was about 9.45 billion yuan ($ 1.35 billion).
Metersbonwe is the leading casualwear brand in China. The company targets male & female between 18 and 25 years old. In 2015 the group reported a revenue of 6.45 billion yuan ($ 921 million).
Tata is a fashionable and trendy shoes brand targeting young urban girl between 20 and 30 years old.
Youngor is focusing on men clothing, apparels and textile products. Their main male products are shirts, suits and casual wear. The brand has a reported revenue in 2015 of 14.53 billion yuan ($2.07 billion).
Pairing original and traditional
Traditional materials are getting scarce and in the meanwhile, the Chinese market is rapidly growing. Chinese designers are working on new techniques with alternatives materials to leather. Interesting applications are found and new technologies are developed on a daily basis in China. These new trends have the power to change the fashion industry in China and subsequently impact the world’s fashion market. The Chinese government is now supporting sustainable endeavors, promotes and endorses companies that work towards a more sustainable production with less impact on the environment.
Clothes with enhanced durability and design will be more appealing to the customers if they also feel luxurious. Soft-touching leather clothes is a strong aspect demanded on the Chinese market. Napa leather is becoming very popular among brands that are looking for processing it in their garments and accessories. However, wearability, flexibility and lightweight will have to be paired with a soft, luxurious feel.
The Chinese fashion, much like in Japan has its own distinct style and color palette which most of the time differ from the western ones. Extreme color combinations and bold graphic patterns originating from Chinese designers are getting famous and this not only in China. Western designers are also inspired by this trend making them more daring in their creativity. The ethnic Chinese heritage and the Korean ethnic visual elements are popular and used on a regular basis. China’s long pattern making history combined with the availability of new materials is reshaping Chinese fashion, allowing Chinese designers to have little to no restriction as regards their creation. The Chinese fashion market will bring new opportunity and new inspirations to the world.
Hello, I am writing my master’s thesis on Chinese fashion and would be interested to interview some fashion in China professionals, as well as reading more content on the topic. Feel free to contact me!