This week in the news, eco-friendly fashion is catching on in China, German luxury brand MCM enjoys huge retail success in China, Starwood plans to open 22 hotels in China this year, LVMH has entered the restaurant business by purchasing Crystal Jade, and art exhibits are becoming fashionable in China.
Chinese fashion labels are joining the green trend and becoming more eco-conscious. Shanghai-based boutique Icicle, is working to implement eco-friendly business initiatives throughout their 100 plus Chinese locations. One way the brand is embracing sustainability is by eliminating wrapping paper waste. The brand has also introduced cotton bags in order to become more environmentally sustainable. Furthermore, Icicle’s clothing is lined with white organic cotton as opposed to the more commonly used polyester. They are also using other biodegradable materials, such as corn fiber, for their price tags and buttons. Other brands joining the eco-friendly trend include NuoMi, Finch, Wobabybasics, and Snoozer Loser.
German luxury fashion brand MCM is expanding its presence in Asia with new boutiques and pop-up shops. The brand is already very popular in South Korea, and endorsements from Korean stars are driving its popularity in China. MCM’s two stores at the Lotte Main downtown outlet in Hong Kong had monthly sales of over $3 million earlier this year, with sales peaking in October, when $4 million worth of goods were sold at the brand’s main store. Sales were up 82.8 percent in these locations last year. MCM’s duty-free retail sales have also increased, with the brand’s China Duty Free store outlet in Sanya on the island of Hainan displaying remarkable growth in January and February. MCM opened its seventh Beijing store last month at the In88 shopping mall on Wanfujing Avenue in the Dongcheng district.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts continues its rapid China expansion this year through its Aloft, Four Points, Westin, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, and Sheraton brands. Starwood will open 22 hotels throughout China, second only to the number of expected openings in the Americas. Of the 22 new openings planned for China, 14 of them are under the Sheraton brand. The new hotels will be opened in locations including Shandong, Shanghai, Hainan, Chengdu, Guangdong, and Zhejiang, among others.
The world’s largest luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH, has purchased the singapore-based Crystal Jade restaurant chain for around $100 million. The deal will give LCapital Asia, the private equity division of LVMH, a 90 percent stake in the restaurant group. With over 130 restaurants in over 10 countries in Asia, Crystal Jade’s mix of Chinese fine dining, casual dining, and specialty restaurants will expose LVMH to additional markets, and should help the company’s flagging wine and spirits sales. Despite restaurant revenue in China rising only 9 percent in 2013 after 23 years of double-digit growth Crystal Jade is well-positioned for success in the restaurant market. Last year, the restaurant brought in $250 million in revenue.
Young affluent Chinese are becoming increasingly interested in art. Shanghai has become an art hub, featuring more than 10 open private and public museums and exhibitions of the work of artists as diverse as Japan’s Kusama Yayoi and Victor Hugo. The city has had mixed success with art shows in the past, but the recent boom seems to indicate a new trend among China’s middle class. While China has been the biggest buyer of art in the world for the past four years, purchasing US$4 billion in art last year alone, most of these sales come from wealthy collectors. Affordable art is a middle-class enterprise, and another creature entirely. Affordable art markets are already well established in developed countries; approximately 70 percent of the art purchased in the West is considered affordable. This figure is just 33 percent in China, but it is expected to grow quickly.
Image source: GB Times