Over the next two years, Italian fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana plans to increase its presence in China from its current 26 stores to a total of 41 boutiques.
Like many luxury brands, D&G is shifting its focus to China for increasing revenue.
“America was the last 100 years,” said D&G designer Stefano Gabbana. “China is the next 100.”
Although Japan has lately been one of the world’s top luxury markets, the Japanese have been slowing their spending. Recent events in Japan will further hurt the nation’s luxury market. Instead, economic predictors expect China to soon move into the number-one position as the world’s largest market for luxury goods. Market research group CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets projects that the Chinese market will reach over one hundred billion in luxury sales by 2020. And they could be right: last year alone, D&G sales in the Far East increased 26 percent.
With such a huge market potential, designers have been careful to explore Chinese territory before moving in. Domenico Dolce and Stefan Gabbana have made several journeys to China to study their new consumers.
“Chinese are eccentric, they will wear the flowers and the lace,” Dolce said.
This contrasts to the brand’s Western audience, which tends to seek out plainer, less flashy couture.
“Chinese aren’t afraid to be more,” Dolce said.
As D&G expands in China, the brand plans to create new color palettes and introduce new products designed with this market in mind. Some of these new products will include cosmetics and perfumes produced in collaboration with Proctor and Gamble. The D&G-P&G partnership has been producing cosmetics and fragrances for the last three years in the U.S, but Stefano Gabbana says the brand has been waiting to launch these products in China until they had a clearer understanding of the needs of Chinese consumers.
It’s not a question of whether the Chinese will buy these products, though; last year, according to research firm Euromonitor, cosmetics sales in the country increased 15 percent to reach $3.5 billion in revenue.
“We see the youth here in China and a new era of glamor for them,” Gabbana said.
photo credit: dolce & gabbana