Building on its long-established international reach, WWD is launching a new edition — WWD China — to track the country’s continuing transformation from global factory to fashion and luxury powerhouse.
Produced in partnership with China Mind Next, WWD China will include original content, on-the-ground reporting and syndicated WWD features all brought to life digitally, through events and in select print editions starting Aug. 1, under a licensing deal with WWD parent Penske Media Corp.
This is WWD’s second international edition — WWD Japan was founded in 1979 — and marks an increasing push to break news and deliver deep analysis and trend spotting for a global audience.
As part of that effort, Miles Socha will return to Paris to take on the new role of editor, international, overseeing bureaus in Paris, Milan, London and Beijing and bolstering WWD’s senior editorial coverage across the world.
James Fallon, editorial director of WWD and Fairchild Media, a division of PMC, said: “Our new partnership in China furthers our commitment to covering the world’s major economies and markets, while giving readers access to WWD’s unparalleled editorial content and unrivaled events.
“Our mission to expand our coverage of global news and analysis is further demonstrated by the decision to create a new, international role out of WWD’s Paris bureau,” Fallon said. “Miles’ outstanding journalistic skills will help WWD broaden and deepen its already extensive overseas coverage.”
Founded in 1910 in New York and now with established outposts across the U.S., Europe and Asia, WWD has been steadily raising its profile in China with a bureau in the country’s capital and events that draw both a domestic and international crowd. WWD’s Beijing bureau builds on its heritage of covering the fashion, retail, textile and beauty industries worldwide for more than a century.
Last summer, at a WWD Summit in Xi’an, Socha interviewed LVMH Fashion Group chief executive officer Sidney Toledano on stage, drawing out details about China’s role in Dior’s dramatic run from 200 millions euros to more than 2 billion euros in revenues.
“We started in 1995 when China was not obvious. We were all in Japan, looking at the Japanese market,” Toledano said. “We opened the first store in the Palace Hotel basement. The vision for the company was to do men’s wear because all these people from the [Communist] party were starting to visit Europe and they wanted to be well-dressed and we started with men’s.”
Once the brand saw China’s full potential, the next step was to expand beyond men’s. “To look for the women, not only selling wallets but ready-to-wear, [and] expensive,” he said.
Now, China is much more modern and represents about a third of the global luxury market — and big opportunity all around.
The need for news out of and about China has never been more pressing.
The politics of the day have caused trade tensions to ratchet up. President Trump sparked a trade war that threatens the global economy and could impose duties on all Chinese imports. That’s caused U.S. brands across the spectrum to recheck their supply chains and look for options.
At the same time, Chinese fashion companies are coming into their own, from Green Harbor’s acquisition of Jason Wu and Shandong Ruyi’s deal to buy Invista’s Apparel and Advanced Textile business, to rapid growth of e-commerce through Alibaba and JD.com to the proliferation of homegrown brands.
In March, WWD profiled a group of eight tastemakers — including fashion stylists, photographers, makeup artists and hairstylists — who exemplify the evolution of China’s fashion industry.
Among them was 26-year-old photographer Leslie Zhang who is a leading figure of his generation.
“The constant themes in my work are the beauty of China and romance, especially Chinese faces and the iconography of the late 20th century and early Aughts of China,” Zhang said. “I also try to go beyond what has already been done and create a new romantic language that’s born out of the past.”
The language invented and used by Zhang’s generation is going to continue to shape culture and design around the world, especially in terms of apparel, beauty and footwear.
To capture the breadth of the evolution, China Mind Next is also partnering with WWD’s corporate sibling Footwear News to launch its first international edition, FN China.
Michael Atmore, editorial director at FN and brand development director of Fairchild Media, said: “I am thrilled to launch Footwear News’ first international edition, furthering our commitment to covering the global footwear, retail and fashion industries. China is undeniably critical to the global footwear industry, and this partnership will allow FN to deliver essential news and analysis from the region faster than ever before.”
China Mind Next is headed up by chairman Bentham Liu, who served as president and ceo of both Condé Nast Greater China and Hearst Greater China, and by Lena Yang, who serves as CEO. The group brings deep ties and expertise in the rapidly growing market.