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- 17 May 2011
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China's 'too fast' Fashion & Luxury Industries


Timothy Coghlan, Founder of The Maosuit, explains why China is deserving of media attention when it comes to the pace & growth of luxury in the region.

Its obvious China is hot right now and the ‘buzz’ about China’s fashion and luxury world pervades all forms of media. Despite this daily barrage of news, it’s impossible for anyone outside China (or not visiting regularly) to really grasp how fast things are moving here. Not only are brands desperate to get a foot hold in China and capitalize on China’s booming retail market, but also Chinese citizens, particularly young people, have an amazing hunger for everything ‘fashion’.

Everywhere you go in China you can see and feel this with fashion shows and editorials screened on planes, trains, subway stations and buses and featured in every print media you can imagine. It’s also impossible to leave the house without seeing some fashion related advertising everywhere you go.

Perhaps the most fundamental area you can see this rapid change is in what people are wearing. At The Maosuit we are yet to figure out an accurate way to measure China’s changing fashion consciousness, but as China’s GDP growth hovers around 10% year on year we predict that if such an index existed China’s Gross Domestic Cool would be growing well above 50% a year.

 not only are brands desperate to get a foot hold in China and capitalise on the booming retail market, but also to connect with Chinese citizens 

In the first quarter of 2011 we noticed a significant increase in the pace the fashion and luxury industries are moving and not a week goes by without a major industry event. More often than not these happenings are becoming globally focused with the heads of the fashion world being involved. Take April for example, in the first three weeks of April there were enough events in Beijing to rival any New York or Milan fashion week.

April 1: Peter Lindberg visits Beijing to launch his exhibition titled The Unknown. At the opening were Vogue China Editor, Angelica Cheung, Vogue Italia Editor Franco Sozzani. and Vogue China International Fashion Director at Large, Nicoletta Santoro.

April 2: Diane Von Furstenberg launches her Journey of a Dress exhibition in Beijing. In attendance were DVF herself, Super model Natalia Vodianova, actress Jessica Alba, plus other celebrities including Charlie Rose.

April 13: Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts and Chief Creative Director Christopher Bailey both visit Beijing to open their biggest store in Asia with a digital fashion show streamed around the world and a party with
live performance by British Band Keane.

April 19: D Squared designers Dean and Dan Caten visit open their Beijing flagship store with a wild party.

April 20: Kiton and MCM CEO’s Antonio De Matteis and Sung Joo Kim respectively open their new Beijing stores in Shin Kong Place

April 21: Loewe opens its new Peter Marino designed store in China World Mall.

For fashion and luxury industry executives with plans for China or doing business in China this means only one thing: if you’re really serious about doing/maintaining the business in China, then you should be visiting China at least quarterly. Even then this may not be enough and key decision makers from the more aggressive companies entering China (usually American) visit China every month. With any business trip to China from Europe or the USA involving a 10+ hour flight and then (a minimum) 2 days each in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, that’s a week of hectic travel per month that strains staff and travel budgets, yet nonetheless is absolutely necessary.


The Maosuit aims to give on the ground and up to date coverage of the fashion and luxury industries in China. China is fast becoming the biggest fashion story of the century and savior to an industry ailing in many other parts of the world. The Maosuit is here to address issues and give insights hitherto unknown on how the fashion and luxury industry lives, breathes and operates in China.