This article is an extended version of the same which appears in the WeAr Magazine Denim Special, out June 2015.
Words: Monica Fossati
In the beginning, the denim and jeans industry was green, since pesticides and GMOs didn’t exist at that point. Nevertheless, producing green clothes has always been a fashion trend, for a brand, a designer, a niche or a season. Over the past 15 years, the denim and jeans industry has made significant efforts to reduce its environmental impacts. Preserving water for denim’s treatment has been one of the main targets. François Girbaud, who launched the stone wash technique in 1965, which consumes lots of water, answered the first one in 2003, with his laser technique Wattwash. Many other waterless initiatives have been born since then. This is due to the growing awareness of the need to answer to the warnings of NGOs and governments, because the issues are real threats today: pollution, depletion of resources and working conditions.
Producing eco-denim is not that difficult, as it relies mainly on the material, the dye, the water and energy consumption and the treatments. First, the material: as organic cotton is rare and original treatments are key trends for denim. So imagination and research have been able to bring about new materials recycles from water bottles, linen or paper yarns. Meanwhile, textile waste, recycled materials, natural fibers and artificial fibers such as Tencel mixed together can provide many possibilities for eco-fabrics.
Dye remains natural in authentic denim, as indigo is a plant. The best eco-dyestuff is recognized thanks to labels like OEKO-TEX from Germany, which indicates the additional benefits of tested safety for skin-friendly clothing and other textiles to interested end users. It approves that a product is harmless for the environment, but also healthier for the wearer. The eco-design approach also analyses the whole lifecycle of a product. That means the whole way of production, so aside from less-water technologies, sewage treatments awareness and renewable energy developments are taking place into mills in developing countries.
A major impact on climate is transportation, so local sourcing as much as possible and greener, slower and optimized distribution help to reduce CO2 emissions that affect our climate. Plus, thinking ahead to the garment’s ending, the easy disassembling of the materials (textiles, metals) has to be anticipated, therefore some brands use stitches instead of metal rivets, and so on.
The fabric itself can be eco-designed, for example Kassim Denim does so with an environmental management system. But a pair of jeans includes other stages of manufacturing; it is a complete ‘lifecycle’. Levi’s made the first eco-designed jeans in 2006, with a 100% organic cotton denim, a coconut shell button on the waist and stitches instead of rivets. The indigo finish came from potato starch, mimosa flower and Marseille soap. The best eco-jeans rely on the whole chain: the store contributes to the global impact of the product, and the wearer as well, with the washing and the choice of ending waste.
Producing the best eco-denim for the industry is a mixture of all these ideas, aiming to reduce all environmental impacts as much as possible. Today, most denim manufacturers – the first witnesses of the whole jeans’ lifecycle – propose very smart products, such as ISKO, BOSSA and US Denim Mills. The good news is that whether you are a designer, a wearer, a buyer, or a manufacturer, every time you touch a denim, you can participate to make it greener at this stage of its life, with your choices and behaviour.
For years we were kept in the dark. The predicted return of multibrand stores in China never really came, but then, like most things over here, it happened almost overnight – and according to all the market players, we are looking at yet another bubble in the near future.
However, the long-awaited awakening is showing maybe even more potential than what could have been hoped for. “Only the stores with a strong marketing platform and a unique perspective on buying will survive,” predicts Ritchie Chan, Founder of Triple Major (three multibrand stores in Shanghai, Beijing, and Chengdu). Roy Xu, Founder and Chairman of the P+ Group (sixty P+ shoes and accessories multibrand stores; 200+ other multibrand and distributed brand stores), agrees: “it is an absolute necessity for multibrand stores to become brands in their own right, with a long-term vision and the ability to provide complete customer experiences.” But isn’t this what any brand wants?
The key difference between China and mature markets from the West is its fast-evolving consumer base. Unlike stores in Paris or London, which have a strong and stable identity, Chinese retailers constantly need to reinvent themselves to retain consumers. “In China, there is no mercy when it comes to loyalty,” continues Richie, who knows that the strong following he has built up since 2009 will disappear overnight if he is no longer perceived as their go-to fashion retail store. As a consequence, 30% of his range is new every season – and that’s an opportunity everyone can take advantage of.
The operator of ten different multibrand concepts, including Maria Luisa, which it purchased last year, P+ is in a position to push this logic even further. Pure product buying is not the most important part of its business model. Instead, the stores serve as brand incubators to create a customer following and, once potential has been detected, the group will invest heavily in developing a brand in China or Asia-Pacific, as they are doing right now with Neil Barrett.
At the other end of the spectrum, Ring Cao, Head Buyer for MyPlay (founded in 2010; twelve stores by the end of 2014), demands a lot of support from her brands. “The market is moving quickly, especially for men who are more and more fashion conscious but need guidance and lots of advice. There is huge demand for fresh brands with the right balance of design, quality, and price point, but the consumer also needs to be reassured that they are making the right choice.” This is why she will favor brands that are reactive in constantly providing PR and marketing material, and that can quickly deliver on a mid-season reorder. “The fact that more European brands now propose three to four collections a year is a huge plus for us, as it helps us retain consumers through constant novelty, especially in the growing segment that feels that fast fashion does not meet its needs in terms of guidance and shopping experience.”
In short, multibrand stores in China are progressively becoming the entry point that foreign brands always hoped they would be. Many will come and go, but by identifying the serious players, both small and medium-sized brands now have a perfect point of entry. That being said, getting orders in is just the first step, and providing guidance and marketing support to a range of buyers – ranging from very mature through to high-potential beginners – is key to long-term development.
Close monitoring of sales and customer feedback will be the cornerstone of successful market entry, whether directly managed or prepared in conjunction with these new-found partners.
Triple Major – Richie Chan, Founder
The 3 Triple Major stores (SH/BJ/CD) are just a window into the Triple Major platform, complemented and backed up by an in-house brand and a creative/branding studio and agency.
The core value and goal is to reinvent popular culture.
Triple Major aims at trying to broaden the definition of what a multibrand store can do, increasing value by organizing many events and non-apparel brand installations, live design studio events where VIP clients can watch designers at work, and redecorating and changing around the store layout and contents, and providing interesting concepts from the start (TCM dispensary concept in BJ, Center for Panda Studies in CD)
The fact that Triple Major host an in-house brand along with other designers is not an issue as its sole purpose is to complement the brand mix, focusing mostly on footwear and also trying to broaden the scope to compensate for the fact that some emerging designers that Triple Major supports only have very few SKUs per collection.
Unlike I.T., Triple Major is not doing the same but cheaper, the major differentiation is product type not price point. The lines are story-oriented and non-seasonal.
Triple Major has a different view of what a multibrand concept is supposed to be, and started its own path in 2009.
There is a feeling in the market that multibrand as a concept is going through a bubble, with little evaluation of viability and sustainability.
In Europe multibrands have existed for a very long time, but let’s look back also at how the Chinese market was back in the early 90s: it was also all small-scale multibrand stores, so the system has existed for a long time already – it’s the entry of major monobrands that changed the rules of the game.
There is a huge supply of independent designers in China, more than people are looking for and the market ready to absorb.
The whole system right now is prosperous on the surface, but one should expect a major reshuffle in about 2 years. Only those with a strong marketing platform and a unique perspective on buying will survive. This comment is also valid for designers who need to work in a more structured and sustainable way.
BUT there are still lots of good signals.
One of the key points of sustainability of “mature” markets is that the clientele is more static, with stable and predictable taste which enables the established multibrands to have a strong identity they can maintain without having to change too much or too quick. There is almost a certain conservatism when you go season after season to the key stores in Paris for example.
There are a couple big differences which characterize the China market:
– Unexpectability : even the consumers are lost and don’t know exactly what fits them, they sometimes might have a label of preference but barely (as a consequence there needs to be a few key opinion leaders for the model to become successful)
– Relatability : the consumers need to identify themselves to a store, to feel they will always find something that fits them there. It is indispensable to be distinct from others, to have a very personal, non-replicable style. A concern to the multibrand model as it is right now is that not so many people are aware of this critical requirement.
How about the United Arrows model in Japan?
There are a few obstacles and differences with China.
In Japan, a consumer follows a brand or given style pretty much from birth to grave, but in China they drop you the second you’re not cool anymore. “No mercy for loyalty”. This is why in Triple Major 30% of the buying focuses on new brands every season.
Uniqueness is key, cannot give a feeling of uniformizing everything and everyone. “Other people can dress like you but they will never be you”.
It is absolutely necessary to make your success abroad known and visible to the Chinese consumer. They will value this and see it as a safe sign they are making the right choice.
Take Opening Ceremony: they would need to take their successes in Tokyo, New York and replicate them here, taking their signature strengths as they are and localizing them just a little. They are for example very active on Facebook and Instagram, but these platforms are either blocked or not so followed in China so they need to switch the medium, but not the content.
Cool people like Jay-Z and Rihanna wear their clothes, they throw crazy warehouse parties as signature events — just need to do the same here!
Working with local KOLs that fit your style and using the media that the Chinese follow all the while staying true to yourself is the recipe for success.
As a buyer, Richie feels that browsing the internet can be even more efficient than going to trade shows to find new brands because the product is only a part of what a brand is. The shootings’ art direction, VI/CI are more ‘3D’, more complete in terms of branding compared to a clothing rack.
Regarding the delayed design and production cycles in China, 80% of the sales of most independent designers are still within their home market so more time is better to prepare and adjust a collection. The shift will happen but it will be gradual until they catch up on the cycles from the international market.
Uma Wang is a good example that this is possible as she is already showing in Milan although selling a lot in China. Designers will start pushing their processes and make sure that at least part of the collection is ready for international buying cycles.
P+ Group – Roy Xu, Chairman
Roy has been in the retail industry for 20 years, and started the P+ shoe multibrand chain in 2006, and then carried on to Maria Luisa last year, acquiring or creating a total of 10 multibrand concepts along the way.
P+ Group is getting ready to acquire a men’s multibrand concept, 6 to 7 of which are already planned to open from 600 to 1000sqm each. Also just signed with Bonini to bring the whole concept into China.
The true necessity to a successful market entry is the right knowledge and a strong platform to push the product through.
There is real potential and a great future for multibrands, but those who will truly succeed won’t be so numerous. Small local stores will come and go for lack of a long-term vision.
P+ is about to acquire a new format mobile APP in order to add value and points of contact with its customer base. A completely new model, different from VIP.com or Glamour Sales that will rely heavily on A-list celebrities endorsement.
There is an absolute necessity for multibrand stores to become real brands, with a strong follower base and all the marketing and PR support that a stand-alone brand would require.
Everybody keeps talking about O2O but the true meaning of this has never been implemented yet. The actual product part of the story is still disconnected from the rest.
Strength of multibrand concepts in Europe vs. mono-brand stores?
20 years ago, China was all about buyer stores. The first wave of established brands to come in (Pierre Cardin, etc.) started establishing a monobrand logic that didn’t exist until then, and that was consolidated by the massive entry of luxury brands.
In the past 2-3 years we have seen a return of the multibrand concept.
But at the end of the day, mono or multibrand is not so relevant, because we can see easily that P+ for example is a brand of itself. And at the same time is serves as an incubator: if a brand sells well its shoes in P+, and has a complete range of product, then this will call for a deeper collaboration and the opening of monobranded stores to capitalize on the brand’s potential. As a brand, opening one’s own stores is still an absolute necessity in China.
Maria Luisa is also a good example of how to implement a multibrand concept in a new way. Flagships in Beijing and Shanghai are opened already, with many more in the pipeline. But only with two stores in existence P+ Group already created a relative in-house brand called Maria Luisa Studio to better learn from the brand incubator that multibrand stores have become.
If you look closely at Lane Crawford, at the end of the day their success is not so big. The store is respected and selling well in Hong Kong, but overall the success of the model is still limited.
10 Corso Como in Shanghai is the same, but only relying on the content instead of capitalizing on the name for itself.
An in-house brand is an absolute necessity.
I.T. Already has 25 years history. Their business model of own in-house brands resembling a lot their buying brands can have an influence and be a problem for mid-market brands represented by them, whereas it is a huge opportunity for the bigger names: customers become hooked-up through the i.t. concept, and some of them will then turn into loyal I.T. clients.
When it comes to the A-list, people don’t want copies or something similar, they want the real product and full experience.
Overall, I.T. pushes the brands and solidifies the name, and i.t. makes the bulk of sales. i.t. will become a brand of itself and they are for sure getting ready for it.
The world is just one big interconnected network, at the end of the day even the biggest most famous brands also rely on smaller up-comers’ designs to feed their own collections with. People look down on China for this, but from New York to Paris everybody uses this development mode!
When P+ acquired Maria Luisa, the first move was to create the related in-house brand with its own dedicated design team in order to progressively create a brand with its own DNA.
Re/ Distribution and partner choices
Many many brands come knock at the door. The first step will be to run them through the buying and merchandising teams to evaluate the potential and relevance within the existing portfolio. Second step if the 1st one is successful, is to look into the possible operations modes and business model, and to run a detailed sales projection.
P+ as a group will not just buy products anymore, they will carefully select high-potential brands, and become real partners that will invest heavily in them.
Traditional distribution models have been dead in China for 5-6 years already, and P+ does not open the door to this model except for very rare exceptions like Neil Barrett, but in return will obtain the full APAC region instead of just China.
License opportunities are still big in China, P+ even has a whole team solely dedicated to licensing brands as an incubator. The M&A team is also very active, and helps better define the best fitting collaboration mode, from license to JV or full Asia representation.
MyPlay – Ring Cao, Head Buyer
How do you look for new brands?
Media and online platforms quite important to get double feedback.
Collaboration with showrooms also very deep in order to play on the safe side as you know them well already, and can rely on their designer choices.
Celebrity collaborations also important: celebrity friends like some brands and will tell MyPlay about them to help pushing the product.
Fashion weeks, international trade shows and personal travels are also a very important part of this in order to get a more direct, personal connection with the market. Trade shows are an interesting one-stop solution because they are curated and bring many brands under the same roof.
Price is very important when it comes to a new brand. The Chinese consumer is hungry for new things, but for them you need more than something that looks good: the balance between design, quality and price is key to the decision.
How to attract your attention as a new brand?
The brand support and reactivity is key to collaboration. Whenever something is needed must get immediate reaction and feedback.
Many European brands’ production cycles are very long, vs. a shorter and shorter cycle for many Asian brands which can deliver within 4 to 5 months from design to production delivery into the stores.
The market changes are very fast right now in China, so it is necessary to have partners and point of contact that are very quick and supportive.
Do you plan to make changes to your buying or make it evolve?
Most Euro brands only have 2 collections a year, but more and more will get out 3 to 4 collections. This helps a lot adjust the buying on a safer basis.
MyPlay’s background is very street and cool fashion style. But there are more and more male customers in MyPlay who request more brands that correspond to what they want. They don’t feel that fast-fashion brands can answer their needs and really want more options and support.
How do you see the future of the menswear segment in China?
The market is huge, and the demand is very high. High-level, rich or evolved guys will always find what they need. The focus has to be on slightly less complex men who have high needs in terms of support and advice. They don’t need very complex pieces, it’s a matter of finding basics with a twist that will make them feel both safe and fashionable at the same time.
The level of fashion understanding is increasing very quickly in China, so it is necessary to accompany their evolving.
They are beginning to have more and more precise requests and tastes, which is why it is important to stay close enough to them to be able to anticipate the needs.
Is the answer with local brands or international cool stuff?
Classic menswear is very strong in China, but fashionable, cool things are still mostly coming from abroad. It thus remains key to keep bringing in more and more brands that can answer these needs.
Any plans to create an own brand?
Thinking about it, but it is still too early. Need to gather more feedback and better understanding.
The market potential is very big, so this can be a way of attracting more purchasing power.
MyPlay would most likely create lifestyle brands – accessories, coffee shops, etc. – not necessarily apparel lines. The idea is to bring a more complete experience to the consumer and provide a more 360 degrees
If a brand is doing so good with you would you distribute?
This could be considered, but at this stage the focus goes on building up the MyPlay brand as itself in order to not jeopardize the original platform’s strength.
Need first to see which brand would be so strong that this could be justified but until now no candidate has emerged.
The way P+ operates is very safe because you first create a strong brand following before taking it one step further in its development.
The most successful brands in MyPlay are those that have been sold for the longest time like Boy London (UK), Glad News (JP), 5Preview , Ground Zero .
Eleven Paris still needs more time. It will be a specially promoted brand for 2015 hope the results will be good – for now going through Hong Kong to get product. The big attention Eleven gives to final consumer price by making the right steps in controlling the price for the consumer is very important and should yield good results in the longer term.
With Scoop International just around the corner, WeAr interviews the show's founder and director, Karen Radley, to find out about the next event.
Scoop Internation takes place in London's Saatchi Gallery from February 1st to 3rd 2015.
Q&A with Karen Radley, founder and director of Scoop
WeAr: What are you excited about for the next edition of Scoop?
KR: I'm excited about the show being a very busy one. The collections showcased at the next Scoop are extremely strong from established designers but also we will be having a strong focus on emerging talent.
WeAr: Why should buyers visit the show, how does it stand out?
KR: Buyers should visit show because of the wide range of collections that Scoop offers. As well as showcasing womenswear designer collections, Scoop offers footwear, accessories and apparel. Scoop is a one stop shop for any buyer, but more importantly a wonderful experience to seek out new and upcoming designers. It stands out from other shows due to the aesthetic of the show being held within an art gallery – The Saatchi Gallery.
WeAr: Is there anything new for this edition?
KR: For this season we have added extra space within the Saatchi Gallery to accommodate more exhibitors!
WeAr: Are there any brands you’re keeping your eye on as ones to watch?
KR: Cultuli Cult (scarves), Majo Lab, Mr.Mrs.Shirt, Schiesser Revival, Bobbl Hats, Rosso35, Amelie Allure, Empathie, Natalie & Alanna, Bruta Shirts…. I could go on, but there are too many to mention – thats why a visit to Scoop International is so important!
WeAr: Where should visitors go after the show in London?
KR: The Beaumont Hotel and the London Edition Hotel
WeAr: Finally, what can we expect from the newly added edition of Scoop in September?
From this summer onwards an exciting new concept will see two Scoop shows taking place each season at the Saatchi Gallery. The popularity of Scoop has seen a profuse number of brands wanting to join the family and now with this year’s schedule extending to August and September with plans to host four shows a season, an even richer selection of designers will have the opportunity to exhibit in London.The timetable has been devised to cater for overseas labels and their production agendas as well as the high-end collections and young British designers who expressed an interest In Scoop running alongside London Fashion Week. The fact that Scoop London will be taking place during London Fashion Week will also make it easier for international buyers to come to the show, as many of the key stores from Europe, the US and further afield only make it to London once each season. The first edition of this new show, Scoop London, will run at the Saatchi Gallery this year on 20-22 September 2015.
TROPICAL MOOD. PARADISE ON YOUR BACK
Distant worlds, dream worlds to wear: from Acapulco with its 1950s glamour to the Amalfi Coast
and its unforgettable shades of blue. On the beach, at the pool, in a boat or on a surfboard,
underwater or just floating – it’s beachwear, beachwear, and more beachwear. Prints will take
us to luxuriant places, to other latitudes closer to the sun we waited for during too-long winter.
Next summer, the contemporary man’s vacation wardrobe will be more sophisticated, reflecting
tastes that have evolved and are open to the new. Miami, with its unique energy, blue swimming
pools and lush tropical vegetation is at the center of the season’s imagery. Denim-look palm
trees and hibiscus blossoms are the patterns on unlined jackets and on shirts. It is a sunny look
that blends into natural tones and textures in collections pervaded by the relaxed mood of island
life. Tropical garden print shirts are made to be worn over sun-bleached pastel shorts or
distressed jeans embellished with embroideries or pictorial touches. But those jeans go just as
well with washed t-shirts and accessories with waves, green palms and raffia on the linings.
Bright shades of mandarin orange, blue and pink enliven “organic” shapes – corals, tropical fish
and geometric rocky landscapes on totally fresh swim shorts. The beach couture picks up on
crossover suggestions: from the early surfing repertoire to traditional African motifs all the way
to limited edition original photo prints.
URBAN TAILORING: SARTORIAL, TECH and SLIM FIT
The avant-garde man’s outfit interprets a passion for design in an unusual combination of
sportswear and new-generation tailoring: meticulous attention to cut and detail go hand-in-hand
with research on materials, and innovative textures embellished with digital prints. Slim fit urban
tailoring is meant for an elegant, cosmopolitan man: it uses tech-fabrics and deconstructs the
lines and proportions of classic menswear. And the contemporary dandy’s uniform? The tailored
jersey suit, the hand-sewn Neapolitan style shirt, and micro-patterned Bermudas in tech fabrics
– all meant to be worn with super-light fiber scarves and hats, crafted nappa and soft suede
slip-ons and leather-and-canvas espadrilles.
BAGS FOR THE ENDLESS SUMMER
Style, line and function come together in a harmony of fine materials and masterful
craftsmanship in collections of one day bags created to meet the needs of today’s
professionals. Ethnic hints for a new way of travelling: roomy bags combine leather, canvas,
and wood but with extremely clean lines making them as perfect for the city as they are for the
beach. Summer presents a world of accessories of no-compromise quality and timeless,
minimalist styling: fine craftsmanship, top quality hides such as Italian vacchetta and 100%
cotton canvas with the fewest possible metal fittings that would make them vulnerable to
weather. The favorite styles? The evergreen messenger and tote bags, the 24 hour bag, and
the increasingly trendy rucksack – all made to use all the time: from business meetings to the
gym to the weekend getaway.
THE OUTFIT FOR THE URBAN JUNGLE IS SPORTY-CHIC
The new metro look turns to sportswear, freely mixing heritage and tech materials, taking
sports-based elements out of context and using them together with urban wear classics. The
result is a sporty-chic DNA that generates items embellished with mesh details, bonded and
pierced fabrics, printed knits and high-tech, matelassé effect sweatshirts. The palette creates
fascinating contrasts on fabrics and in the prints: bold color blocking, floral patterns and pop
highlights. The raincoat is now perfect for all occasions and meets all needs: from the eskimo
with a protective hood to the short, high-performance vintage parka. Simple, squared lines,
inside pockets and plastic zippers stand out on fabrics that breathe. The season’s must-haves:
the water repellent, super-comfortable, thermal microfiber over jacket with ergonomic sleeves.
This is a world where jersey shorts are naturals for summer evenings, while shirts and jackets
with updated lines are made of stretch fabrics and enhanced with full-color graphics.
Here is a wardrobe that evolves in its travels through the seasons: different weights, and
performance levels that can face any changes in weather. “Voyage” also means function and
comfort and we see it in clothes with utility details and stretch fabrics that are pleasing to the
touch. The docking point? A composite look suited to getting around in the city, with a new take
on sailing, or with biker-inspired items. In spring, windproof, water-resistant stretch fabrics take
the lead in field jackets, shirts, polos and pants, along with a contemporary traveller pack in
shape-memory fabric for blazers, coats and trench coats with functional pockets, while military
cotton is the preferred choice for pea coats and eskimo jackets. The summer turns the
spotlights on super-light fabrics like ottoman micro-cotton and a sophisticated look with lively
prints on everything – from field jackets to swim shorts.
Denim, in every possible shade and finish: from raw to sartorial to the environmentally
sustainable, from light wash to cold over-dyed, from check prints to monochrome floral patterns
on shirts and pants. This is true research and it extends to styles and combinations: cargo
pants, bermudas, capsule shirt collections all the way to the denim jacket – including the 5-
pocket version – making for a 100% denim look…and of course there is always stretch denim
and indigo fleece with novelty print details.
THE WORLD OF T-SHIRTS: DIGITAL PASSION
The kids on the streets of Tokyo and London with their apparently improved, exuberant look are
the inspiration for the item that dictates trends more than any other. Always more customized,
daring and colorful, the T-shirt is a whole generation’s ID. When it’s embellished with edgy
photo prints it speaks to a fashion-conscious allure, but it is also the vehicle for stories of
rebellion and artistic passions. As a manifesto of style, it blazes the path for excessive, amusing
and unpredictable looks as it mixes animal prints, geometric patterns and multicolor flowers,
rock graphics and extreme wash processes. In the eye of this perfect storm – the t-shirt with 3D
digital prints, underground icons and bright vitamin colors. And…t-shirts that speak to surfing
paradises, designed for dreaming of a summer oasis in the midst of a frenetic, always-rushing
THE NEW GENTLEMAN’S DRESS CODE: WHISPERED ELEGANCE
Sartorial tradition plus innovation equals summer elegance for the new gentleman. Outfits that
are extraordinarily light in weight and feel, but also in tones and looks. Bold patterns move over
and make way for sophisticated simplicity in suits and jackets: mock-solids and barely
perceptible micro-patterns, elegant jacquard effects that become clear on a closer look just like
the subdued ton-sur-ton Prince of Wales and other checks. The cool, almost impalpable fabrics
are the result of long and meticulous studies. Soft, lightweight cotton-and-silk, cotton-and-linen,
and pure cotton are present in subtle, textured weaves or enhanced by soft, overall floral or
necktie prints on the outside, on the linings or under the collar. Knitted looks, with a vintage air
and very fine textures create soft, three-dimensional surface effects. Young and updated
double-breasted and two button jackets with wide lapels play leading roles. As for accessories,
the vest is an established must-have be it patterned or printed, contrasting with the jacket, it
enlivens the look and trims the silhouette combining practicality, comfort and sophistication.
BLUE IS THE NEW BLACK
The season’s undisputed star is blue and not just as the key to elegance. With its infinite range
of shades – especially bluette, electric blue and Mediterranean blue – it is the perfect solution
for formal and informal, for classic and sportswear, for ready-to-wear and accessories. Denims
from carbon paper blue to aviator tones bring “old” and “new” together in shirts for every
occasion – from casual to under a tuxedo. British heritage royal blue dresses up ties and light
summer scarves with a Real Ancient Madder printing. Indigo with white evokes the sea, on hats
inspired by the Amalfi Cost, on délavé tailor-made trousers or on swimwear with photographic
prints. And it’s still blue – ton sur ton on faux-solid vests, micro-prints and sophisticated jacquard
effects on very understated suits and jackets. Last but not least, there is navy – traditional and
central to summer – with an innovative twist of vertical and horizontal strips for a modern sailor
look with skinny pants, structured blazers, herringbone sweats and glasses with colored lenses.
Color blocking sets the pace for the season with shades of blue, from ultramarine to cobalt and
steel paired with acid yellow and asphalt black.
SUPER-CHIC SHOES WALK IN DESIGNER FOOTPRINTS
Classic footwear becomes über chic. On dress shoes, hand-buffing creates colors and nuances
on natural split cowhide uppers . Laser-cut patterns – holes, outlined flowers and swallowtails –
lend an exclusive touch when used alongside of stitching. Easy, yet bold lines, rounded toes
and two-tone combinations in warm colors for oxfords, derby boots and double-buckle shoes
punctuate summer for the contemporary gentleman with a touch of elegance for every occasion.
The slip-on is practically a single product, a total success in every possible version: from suede
to buffed crocodile, from mini-geometric natural cotton and raffia weaves, to calf and nappa
combinations all the way to calfskin with a waxed patina. Right there, next to bold blues, reds
and greens are shades that recall natures own colors: sage, dark brown and sand. The suedeand-
canvas combo informs the City Running project: light natural colors light up the upper over
a rubber bottom stock with leather inserts.
(for store addresses, scroll down)
In no other industry are old things so in-demand at the moment as they are in fashion.
Designers draw their inspiration from vintage, savvy fashionistas set trends, and people use them to define their identities. Vintage can be ordered at fashion trade shows and there are websites devoted entirely to buying and selling second-hand treasures. Brands experience a revival when their once forgotten garments are worn again, and the best fashion stores today offer both current fashion and beautiful vintage pieces.
What is it about vintage that makes it so desirable? Maxfield in Los Angeles is probably one of the most successful stores worldwide when it comes to selling expensive vintage designer clothing and accessories. Luxury vintage pieces fill the impeccably curated concept store along with a selection of coveted contemporary designers. The store uncovers some of the most spectacular rare finds, like old Hermès suitcases and Chanel bags, and it is not uncommon for the pieces to go for upwards of 20,000 dollars. Deidre Wheaton and Sarah Stewart of Maxfield shed some light on the phenomenon: “They are pieces reflecting original ideas, special and reflective of the particular time period. Vintage uses fabrics, prints and techniques that may no longer be in production.” For Jeff Rudes, the CEO of US label J Brand, vintage sparks the creative process and can determine the direction of a collection for the season. Also aboard the vintage bandwagon is Luc Bierme, the manager of Who’s Next Paris, which includes a vintage market at each of the shows. He believes that it is important to give buyers the option of selling vintage. For a customer, it’s about finding that one special piece just for you. The huge variety of timeless pieces passed down from generation to generation serves as a source of inspiration for everyone.
Many retailers already combine vintage with the latest fashion and have found the approach to be very successful. According to Bierme, “These days everything in a multi-brand boutique must be for sale, even the decorations and furniture. Clients seek out these unique pieces as much as they seek out an accessory or a ready-to-wear piece.” A clothing store that also sells vintage presents customers with a contrasting point of view and helps them create a more individual look. The world’s first-ever vintage department store Blitz in London agrees. In general, reports David McKelvey, there’s a heavy demand for vintage concessions right now. The massive three-story space, with an in-store café, sells on-trend vintage fashion alongside home furnishings, books, records and accessories. Everything is organized by style and everything is for sale. But the last thing you think of upon entering is a thrift shop. Maxfield buyers Wheaton and Steward also emphasize that it’s not only the luxury quality of an old vintage gem, but also the familiarity of the designer that sells.
Vintage Store Tips:
besides Maxfield Los Angeles and Blitz in London, our experts gave us the following stores to go to find the best vintage:
64 rue Tiquetonne
Open Mon 2-7pm; Tue-Sat 11am-7pm
has various stores throughout Paris, check here: www.hippy-market.fr/boutiques/
also has various shops throughout Paris, check here: http://kilo-shop.fr/boutiques
Most important is at:
125 Bld St Germain
Open Sun,Mon: 1:30pm-8:15pm, Tue,Wed: 11:30am-8:15pm, Thu, Fri,Sat: 11:30am, 8:45pm
has various stores throughout Europe, check here: www.episode.eu
Most recommended is at:
1011 NV Amsterdam
Open Mon-Sun: 10am-6pm
has stores in New York and Los Angeles, check here:
8214 Melrose Avenue
90046 Los Angeles
Open Mon-Sat: 11am-6pm, Su: 12pm-5pm
One of a Kind
259 Portobello Road
Notting Hill W11 1LR, London
For three seasons now IMG has been organizing the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Istanbul.
In a country where so many cultures, religions and histories get together it is not surprising that also the creativity in fashion is a given. Turkey excels since years now in its manufacturing, famous for its fine leatherworks and denim.
It has been for many years a destination for European brands to manufacture their clothes and many Russian retailers constantly go to Turkey to buy their fashion as well as other Balkan states.
So whilst Turkey is a relevant fashion destination it is still very passive on the international market and it is easily forgotten that there are very creative but most importantly sellable designers in Turkey.
During Istanbul Fashion Week these designers showed their collections and whilst there is upwards potential in their brand building skills, the collections themselves seem very promising.
Azur Kaprol, one of the most established couture designers who is established internationally anyway, presented her Fall/ Winter collection which included interesting prints, fine silk blouses with lots of refined details and not to forget amazing gowns which are breathtakingly beautiful and most importantly: extraordinary. Something which guarantees that a woman will be the only one in the room wearing it.
Moreover, Utopian by Studio Kaprol showed its first collection consisting of mens- and womenswear. Young, rebellious and with lots of energy this collection wants to target the more commercial end-consumer. Very wearable designs partnered with affordable prices will make sure that this brand could be very successful in Europe but also the UK and the US. The brand is special in so far that it is designed by a team of 14 young designers not only from the field of fashion design but also architecture, music and film.
Most to look out for is its denim collection, which is backed by Denimvillage. This will ensure the quality of the product as well as a strong partner behind the collection.
A young designers, fresh out of university which seemed very promising was Ece Gözen very talented in prints but also showed shirts and dresses with architectonical details.
Nihan Peker produced elegant clothing mostly colored in old-rosé with elegant over the knee skirts and dresses.
Other designers which are to-watch are DB Berdan,Özlem Ahiakin for womenswear and Özem Kaya as well as Hakan Akkaya for menswear and Simay Bülbül who works a lot with leather.
NOVOMANIA, THE TRADESHOW WHICH BRINGS INTERNATIONAL FASHION TO CHINA, HAD ITS START TODAY.
READ THIS INTERVIEW WITH GUILHERME FARIA, GENERAL MANAGER OF NOVOMANIA, CONDUCTED ON THE SHOW NOT ONLY TO GET AN IDEA ABOUT THE SHOW BUT ABOUT SHANGHAI AND ITS FASHION SCENE IN GENERAL.
What is special about Novomania?
We really understand the fashion market as Novo was a retailer and a distributer so we understand what the brands want and what the market wants. The joint venture with UBM brought in the exhibition side and this made it possible to create something special about the show.
We introduce new international concepts to the market. These don’t only have to come from the international market to China but can also origin from China. This country is starting to produce very interesting things, and it is just a matter of time until these creative Chinese brands go international.
What can European and US companies expect if they exhibit at Novomania?
Independently of how big you are in your own country, in China the amount of people who know you is limited. And if they don’t know and understand the concept of your brand, they will not buy your product. So you have to expose yourself and show your brand to the people. We are the only platform where you can do this.
For the Chinese customer, it is more about the image of a brand than about the product. What we offer, is a platform for brands to introduce their concept to the best in fashion of China.
Tell us a wisdom about the fashion business in China.
The most important thing is, that you don’t leave the market on its own. This market is too important for any CEO than to just find a distributor. This market can completely change the roots of any company.
You come here and you have to adapt. You don’t need to change your product completely but your communication has to be different.
If you come here, you come as a trial and error.
Tell us the best places in Shanghai for shopping for fashion.
There are many places. It really depends on what you want. A couple of streets are famous like Nan jing road where the big monobrand stores are. Even though there are many new developments there, it is still very much a shopping mall culture, which is fairly repetitive. Novomania plays a major role in innovating this, as we give new concepts and new ideas. This is very important for shopping malls, as the only way to differentiate themselves, is to open multibrand stores. With multibrand stores, each store will always be different as it pushes a different brand or concept. Of course, also the little streets in the French Concession are great and you can find multibrand stores there, which are small corner stores made with love.
What are the best multibrand-stores in China and the best e-retailing websites?
There are a handfull of good e-retailers in China.
The most important group to mention is Alibaba, which developed the tmall.com platform. Unless you are registered as the legitimate brand you can’t sell your product there. This platform almost covers half of the market.
However, there are also a lot of independent sites and flash sales. The price still plays a big role, which is why campaigns are very important to have online.
At present there are more mono- than multibrand stores in China. Do you expect that to change in the future, if so – when?
It already changed in Russia and in China it will change even faster. Already, the Chinese ultra high-net worth individuals are looking for alternative brands to the known luxury brands as people don’t want to be confused with the up and coming middle class, which already can afford those luxury brands. This bears the opportunity for multi brand stores to establish themselves with sophisticated and new labels.
What should I not miss to see or do in Shanghai, apart from Novomania, when I am visiting your fair?
You definitely will realize that Shanghai is a dynamic and top developed city. But you should leave Shanghai to understand what China is really about. Come with an open mind as brands can learn a lot from coming here and hopefully they can open their mind and learn that China works in a different way and will certainly not adapt.
Please name a few good restaurants and places to go out at night in Shanghai.
Shanghai grew such an important hub for international companies, that the foreigners who come here bring quality and lifestyle. Restaurants on The Bund like el Willy or Mr and Mrs Bund, which is a contemporary modern French place, are good.
Lost heaven is a must for Chinese food for foreigners. There is one on The Bund and one in the French Concession.
As for nightclubs M1nt, Bar Rouge or Unico are good to visit. But also don’t forget all the bars and the hotels on the Pudong side.
What is your goal with Novomania in the near future?
We want Novomania to be the reference for fashion in Asia.
And my personal one is that i want to help transform fashion in China.
As a retailer from outside China, is it worth coming to Novomania?
We show not only up and coming Chinese brands but labels from countries like Korea, Japan, Australia and Hongkong. These brands you wouldn’t see anywhere else in the world. There are so many nice things popping up in China. And we see many and talk to many of them.