This week in the news, Michael Kors has teamed up with WeChat and Weixin to offer an all access look at New York Fashion Week, China’s fragrance market is primed for growth, fast fashion brands are taking the place of luxury brands on The Bund in Shanghai, China’s largest travel agency has entered the cruise market, and Lane Crawford focuses to niche brands to increase luxury sales.
Tapping fashionistas’ desire to be in the know, Michael Kors is giving Chinese fans an all access look behind the scenes of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York by teaming up with WeChat and Weixin. Though Michael Kors has live-streamed its fashion shows and shown behind-the-scenes content for several years on its microsite, live.michaelkors.com, this is the first time Chinese fans will have an all access look. All Access Kors combines the microsite with new features for WeChat and Weixin. The New York Fashion Week show will be live-streamed on both the microsite and the Chinese social media sites, and social media chatter will be aggregated during the live stream with the hashtags #AllAccessKors and #MichaelKors.
While over 75 percent of people in countries like the US, Spain, and France use colognes and perfumes daily, as of 2013, only 12 percent of urban Chinese were using fragrances. In a target group index (TGI) study done by Kantar, it was found that only China’s elite regularly use fragrances. In fact, when considering the variables of income and age, they found that the typical fragrance consumer was much younger and wealthier than the average Chinese citizen. Kantar also noted that cultural norms are at play in the vast divide between American, European, and Asian perfume, aftershave, and cologne sales. In China, it simply isn’t customary to wear perfume. Sales are currently being fueled by women 15 to 34 years old—or those who say they “like to keep up with the latest fashions.”
Due to less visitor traffic, slowing sales, and new shopping options elsewhere in the city, luxury brands are leaving The Bund, and fast fashion brands and restaurants are taking their place. One reason for the slow sales and traffic is the lack of a luxury design strategy for the area due to the large number of landlords. Moreover, many properties are managed by state-owned businesses, which rented retail space to brands that weren’t appropriate for the area. In fact, some luxury brands have hesitated to open stores on The Bund due to neighboring stores that don’t fit the luxury image. Fast fashion brands, such as Zara, H&M, and Uniqlo, attract a wider range of shoppers and can afford the higher rents with their high rate of inventory turnover.
China’s largest online travel agency, Ctrip.com International Inc, and cruise ship operator Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd have formed a joint venture to take the lead in China’s fledgling cruise industry. Ctrip bought the Celebrity Century, a 1,814-person capacity cruise ship built in 1995 and refitted in 2006, from Royal Caribbean. The two companies will jointly operate the ship. The partnership will give Ctrip the chance to learn from a successful international cruise operator and give it a leg up on the competition within China. Two other Chinese companies, Yantai-based Bohai Ferry Co Ltd and HNA Tourism, took a similar approach in buying second hand ships from international operators to start their cruise business.
Lane Crawford’s Pedder Group is weathering a period of slow economic growth in China with a new collection of exclusive handcrafted products. The “Krafted I” collection contains an assortment of high-quality handbags, shoes, furniture, and accessories from niche brands around the world. Featured products include crocodile, cordovan, buffalo, and calf footwear from Italian designer Alberto Fasciani, rugs from the Malaysian design firm Omar Khan Home, jewelry from The Gem Palace in Jaipur, India, and furniture designed by architect Yabu Pushelberg. The curated collection debuted last week in Lane Crawford’s IFC store, and will also be available in Shanghai and Beijing locations starting early this month and continuing for four weeks.
image credit: michael kors