SHANGHAI — In China’s biggest city for the opening of a new flagship, Sir Paul Smith was upbeat about the prospects for his brand here.
The, 5,000-square-foot Shanghai flagship is located over two floors of street-front real estate in the Jing’an Kerry Center on shopping street Nanjing West Road. It’s the seventh Paul Smith store to open on the Mainland in the past two years with an eighth — in Beijing — set to open in November.
“So far, so good,” said Smith, of the brand’s business in China generally, and the Shanghai flagship, which opened in November.
“We’re always in the top three here [at Jing’an Kerry Center], and that’s fantastic because there’s some pretty big players here. We’re about 20 percent up generally, on sales, across China.”
The company’s founder, designer and majority owner said younger consumers who have been educated, or traveled extensively overseas, have embraced the brand and helped spread the word on the Mainland. “They come back with the clothes they’ve bought [in Europe or the U.S.]. Obviously with the Internet and just travel generally, the men’s market has just changed massively,” he said.
Smith, like many before him, sees China as a huge potential market, but sees Paul Smith’s place within it remaining niche, an option for younger consumers trying to break the logo driven mold of luxury consumption in China.
“Of course there’s still a lot of uniformity, because there’s a lot of people here, that’s inevitable, but there are really strong pockets of creative dressing,” Smith said. “I think there’s a huge danger for the big brands in having too many shops here, but also being spread too thin. Now there is definitely a trend where certain young people reject [the focus on labels], and we are lucky enough to be one of the brands they are now more attracted to, because we are more anonymous.”
According to Alice Wong, executive director of Paul Smith’s Hong Kong-based distribution partner, ImagineX Group, Chinese consumers have embraced the boldest of the brand’s designs, showing an unanticipated appetite for color and pattern. Chinese consumers appreciate the runway line, while much of the rest of the world goes more for the suits in the London line or the PS casuals, she said.
“If you look at the last two seasons, the runway line has been very colorful. Last season, there was a print that was very floral and rosy, and that was received very well by male customers [in Beijing],” she said.
This desire for individuality has been a major key for the success of a brand entering the Chinese market for the second time. Paul Smith first made a run at the Mainland China market in 2002, before retreating to regroup five years later after undisclosed losses.
“I’ve always enjoyed just individuality and that’s my main point and actually, eight or 10 years ago, that was a problem….People wanted logos, or a very distinctive piece that was backed with an advertising campaign, and I wouldn’t do that,” Smith said. “Things have changed and I think China’s gone fast and it’s because of the world of technology. It’s not hurt us at all, and it’s a way for people to see what I do.”
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews