China is the fastest moving ecosystem in Fashion and Beauty.
When you come to Shanghai. You are always surprised. This time I took the time to spend a few hours in the Taokoo hui mall and the K11. It’s like being in a new planet when you live in California. Brands you know are different. And the codes are not the same. A new luxury is emerging.
THE IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE IS THE NEW LUXURY
In California, you don’t take a coffee at Starbucks any longer. Starbucks is boring. You are very much in the rush if you do so. If you have a business meeting you grab a coffee at Blue Bottle Coffee, or Philz Coffee. It’s more stylish. Why? Because nothing is standardized, and you have the feeling to be unique and to customize your order… It even takes time to brew it, and you may have to be in the line 2 times to order and then to wait for your coffee.
I had heard about the Reserve Starbucks from friends. Yes, the most amazing thing is to see the excitement of the young people, couples or small tribes of friends browsing or ordering some food.
Finally the “hot” brands are not the same but the codes for the new luxury“coffee experience” are:
- Design of the furniture and the space, immersive experience like something is happening (fresh roasted beans, carefully chosen)
- Accessories as if the brand had become a lifestyle
- Food to indulge the experience
- And the “rare” “small batches” “handcrafted”
THE ATHLEISURE AS A LIFE STYLE, WELLNESS ON THE RISE, AND THE SNEAKERS AS A SYMBOL OF SELF-EXPRESSION
Inspired by the story telling of facing mother nature and elements in a period of climate change, wether men or women, you have the feeling that they are not living in a big city in Shanghai, but facing Mother Nature in Iceland or Groenland. Montcler, Northface are part of the landscape in the malls. And nobody seem surprised to purchase an outfit better adapted to Montreal in Canada with a severe and snowy winter.
Wellness is the big trend for sure.
Not only are all Shanghai Millennials and Gen Z with a glowing and perfect skin, but they are fit. You can see they practice sport and eat healthy.
Yoga brands are here, and you see the rise of a new feminity archetype, mixing a casual elegance with sophisticated accessories or shoes. Everything is in the detail.
Sneakers are everywhere. Puma and Addidas for sure, but also Versace, Gucci, and even the classic Tods are putting forward the emblematic looks.
EDGY PEOPLE ARE FOR SUSTAINABLE FASHION
Messages are not explicit yet, but Stella Mc Cartney is here… And also guess what All Birds.
As may be the brand was not convinced their story telling would be inspiring Chinese customers. It’s not talking about Venture Capitalists in the Silicon Valley wearing their comfortable shoes with the New-Zealand wool as a social proof, but signing a celebrity… And guess what, a meaningful one by his commitments, Leonardo Di Caprio.
Even him seems surprised to be in the window of a prestigious mall in the middle of the grass and touching the wool!
GAMING AND VIRTUAL REALITY, FILTERS IN THE SUPER APPS INFLUENCE A NEW FEMININITY AND GENDER EXPRESSION.
For Women, Fun and “Kawai” would say my Japanese friends.
For Men, accepting to be different from the stereotypes of masculinity.
For all, Tech not only as diagnosis tools but as a new territory.
Guess what, it’s not only De Vialet but Dyson that have flagships as expressing the ultimate technology in their category. And we don’t talk about hair drying but also cleaning the house with vacuum cleaners for Dyson!
Design is part of the story.
Tesla is emblematic of this trend for cars. Disrupting all other prestigious brands or classic ones, and choosing carefully locations as a window for all, visible not only from the happy few purchasers but everyone.
THE LITTLE STORES AND OUTDOOR IS THE NEW RETAIL
Like Westfield in Los Angeles, being with a small boutique feeling is also the trend.
People don’t want any longer the standardized look and merchandising.
Global Brands look like independent labels with a fresh new look.
CONCLUSION FOR BRANDS
Exploring the two malls (even more interesting than the beautiful IAPM), I believe Chinese young customers are ready for new brands.
Not only the ones imported by platforms from America and Europe, but new Chinese founders, expressing a bold territory, with an authentic voice, being unique, not polished. Expressing their comittment to change things for the better and impacting people’s life.
The message is “ We have screwed up, the planet is in danger, we can live longer, but need to take care of ourselves and of the planet”. Anyone meeting the high quality standards, having a compelling story and sharing values, and understanding the fast moving ecosystem of influence, word of mouth and multiple platforms, will become a loved brand in China, and let’s be a global champion one day.
Post by Odile Roujol Founder of Fab Fashion and BeautyTech community, living in San Francisco, California.