Prada has China to thank for most of its 60 percent-growth in the first quarter of 2012, and many industry insiders consider it a marker for the country’s maturing fashion sensibilities.Chinese consumers’ tastes are changing — at least among the very wealthy.
Changes are being cultivated through a number of new initiatives that aim at providing a luxury education. Lux Up is a members-only site founded by ex-Vogue fashion features director Harriet Quick and former Harvey Nichols buying director Averyl Oates. The site, launched in September, is designed for Chinese visitors on shopping trips around the world, offering them a mix of brand events information and editorial content. Such outlets are encouraging consumers to get smart on the latest fashion trends according to The Guardian.
Obvious luxury brands like Burberry (where growth has gone down 20 percent from 2011) and Louis Vuitton are now less popular among the country’s ultra-wealthy than brands that specialize in stealth-wealth, quality products without logos that only fashion insiders recognize.
Hermes, which is also doing very well in China, plans only to open 20 stores across the globe in the next 5 years, advocating a form of “slow luxury” preferred by French brands. Louis Vuitton, which is following a one-store-at-a-time policy, suggests that playing hard to get will be the way that second-tier brands survive and the favorites thrive in the Chinese luxury market.
photo credit: prada