Chinese upscale men’s fashion brand Bosideng is trying to make it big in the US market while maintaining its Chinese heritage.
In February, the brand made an appearance at New York Fashion Week. They also now maintain a pop-up shop on Park Avenue South’s Rothmans store. In August, they plan to finalize a deal with an unnamed luxury department store and open its American e-commerce site to shoppers, and have been increasing their social media presence.
These efforts are part of Bosideng’s plan to succeed in the US market and it has no plans to mask its Chinese heritage. The company has put Chinese characters back on the logo while emphasizing a trendy and contemporary style, according to Marty Staff, a former Hugo Boss USA chief executive who is now helping the brand to sell their products in the States.
“For many years — and I think this has changed to a great degree — China wasn’t looked at as a place where designer apparel could emanate from,” Staff told AdAge. “We would like to be part of the change.”
Bosideng has their work cut out for them, as China’s businesses have a notoriously difficult time expanding their influence overseas; a 2013 study by Milward Brown reported that 94 percent of Americans can’t name a single Chinese brand. Although the country’s electronics industry has made some headway, fashion remains “a harder sell,” which is why Bosideng has strategized accordingly to sell its “edgy, of-the-moment and well-crafted” clothes on US soil.
For one, Bosideng has “rebranded” themselves in the United States as “an upscale lifestyle brand for men.” While they have “globalized” their image, with about 80 percent of the collection made in Europe and 20 percent in China, their designs are rooted in Chinese culture. The brand’s t-shirt designs were illustrated by contemporary Chinese artist Chang Jinchao. Heritage is of paramount importance for the brand, according to design director Amelia Pretious.
“I think [the collection] feels very international, though in terms of the creative inspiration we always look to China,” said Pretious, who is from London.
Bosideng has learned from past international marketing blunders, including an attempt to promote the brand in London by putting discounts in fortune cookies. It also seeks to offer something different from brands like Shanghai Tang, which offers more “traditional” Chinese fashions.
“We’re always respectful and cognizant of Chinese heritage,” Staff said. But “that doesn’t mean you have to have Mandarin collar jackets.”
image credit: waldo pepper