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Isaia is planning to bolster its presence in Asia.
This story first appeared in the June 5, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Italian luxury brand has signed a strategic partnership agreement with ImagineX Group, the Hong Kong-based retail, brand management and distribution company, to aggressively expand the brand in Greater China, a plan that includes the opening of the first Isaia store in Central Hong Kong this summer.
Isaia was introduced to Greater China in 2011 by Lane Crawford, a luxury department store retailer and sister company of ImagineX within The Lane Crawford Joyce Group.
“We are very excited about this partnership because the timing is perfect for a brand like Isaia to enter the Greater China market to capture the emerging and fast-growing opportunity of the new era of men’s wear,” said Thomson Cheng, managing director of ImagineX. “Our focus will be to open stores in prime locations in China, starting with Beijing and Shanghai, so that more customers have access to and continue to enjoy the Isaia collection of tailored men’s wear, sportswear, leather accessories and a made-to-measure service. We are actively evaluating retail locations in China as well as in Macau with a planned launch in those markets by 2015 and excited to be launching our first store in the Landmark [in] Central Hong Kong in August 2014.”
Landmark is a high-end shopping development that also boasts stores from Alfred Dunhill, Brooks Brothers, Corneliani, Dior Homme and others.
Cheng would not provide a number on how many stores ImagineX would ultimately expect to open over the course of the companies’ five-year partnership deal. “While I cannot share specific store targets for Greater China, the potential opportunity for the Isaia brand is significant,” he said. “Since the label debuted in 2011 at Lane Crawford department stores in Hong Kong and China, it has performed incredibly well. It is currently a top performer in the made-to-measure category, and one of the fastest-growing brands in their portfolio.”
Each store in Greater China will feature a tailor trained by Italian master tailors, who will travel to the region to oversee the made-to-measure program, according to Isaia.
“Isaia is at a very exciting time in our growth,” said Gianluca Isaia, chief executive officer of the company. “We are inspired by ImagineX’s ability to truly understand the essence of our brand. With a long legacy of knowledge, creativity and resources behind them, this partnership is a natural fit to achieve success in this market. The Chinese consumer represents this idea of the ‘new gentleman’ — a sophisticated world traveler who appreciates the highest quality products and creates their own sense of style informed by personality and a taste for luxury.”
Cheng agreed, noting that the brand’s sartorial style “speaks to that man who has confidence, who is willing to define his own style, and who is on the increase in China.”
Isaia, a family-owned company founded in Naples in the Twenties, is sold in the U.S., Canada, Europe, China, Japan, Africa and the Middle East.
ImagineX represents 20 brands in Greater China, including Salvatore Ferragamo, Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, Paul & Shark, Paul Smith, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Marc by Marc Jacobs, DKNY and Club Monaco.