French luxury brand Hermès debuts its highly anticipated Chinese designer brand Shang Xia with a store opening in Shanghai Thursday. In July we wrote about the bold and unique strategy by an international fashion house, Hermès, to create this entirely new Chinese brand and bring it global.
The Shang Xia (“up down” in Chinese) store, located in the Hong Kong Plaza Mall, is minimalistic chic and elegant. With the goal of a balanced mix of Chinese craftsmanship with modern style, it offers everything from hand-sewn cashmere clothing to home furnishings to shoes to tableware made from traditional Asian materials such as bamboo, jade, and porcelain.
Shanghai-based designer, Jiang Qionger, is the brand’s artistic director and also a minority shareholder in the new company. She works with a team of 20 artisans to capture the design vision for Shang Xia.
“The idea is to bring the Hermès philosophy to China, to create a Chinese Hermès,” said Hermès Chief Executive Patrick Thomas,“Instead of buying another company, ‘Why not create a brand from the ground up that shares our philosophy — outstanding quality, creativity, and strong style?’”
The company hopes Shang Xia will boost its already strong position in the Far East. Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, collectively, are now Hermès’ “principal market” according to Thomas. “If Shang Xia becomes a competitor to Hermès, that would be a success,” said Thomas.
Hermès plans to open Shang Xia’s second standalone store in Paris next year and another one in Beijing in a few years.
Luxury goods sales in China is estimated at US$9.5 billion in 2009, but some believe the Chinese luxury goods consumption market is bigger, at about US$20 billion, when overseas purchases by Chinese are taken into account. That’s pretty massive.
photo credit: shang xia