Frankie Morello has signed a joint venture with United Kingdom-based fashion company Oasis Fashion, paving the way for an expansion into China. The Italian fashion brand said is confident that its pricing strategy is the key to its success in a market that is currently challenging for luxury brands.
“In China the luxury brands are going down, they are struggling. But with the medium to high-level brands there is a good opportunity to do good business in China and that will increase. We have the right products at the right time,” said Francesco Riccardi, commercial director of the brand’s parent company FMM Srl. Frankie Morello’s prices in Italy range from 60 euros, or $63, for a t-shirt to 1,300 euros, or $1,374, for a leather jacket. A spokeswoman said prices in China are close to those in Italy.
Oasis Fashion has a good understanding of the China market as well as strong distribution channels, making it an ideal partner for the brand that was founded in 1999 as a collaboration between designers Maurizio Modica and Pierfrancesco Gigliotti.
“Oasis Fashion has very good experience of developing brands in China, it has opened 900 mono brand stores on the mainland,” said Riccardi.
The joint venture will see 128 single-brand stores and 10 outlets open in China in the next seven years, beginning with Guangzhou in April and then Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu and Hong Kong.
“In Beijing we are looking at being in Shin Kong Place, in Shanghai in IAPM Mall or Grand Gateway and in Hong Kong in Harbour City. When we have opened in the first tier cities then we will focus on second and then third tier cities,” said Riccardi.
The 2017-2018 Autumn-Winter collection will mark the first phase of the expansion and will be followed by spaces dedicated to accessories, a key part of the brand extension.
“There is a new generation in China and they are looking for collections that have an average price. We think we can have success across the whole of China,” said Riccardi.
As part of the China expansion, the brand also plans to move some of its manufacturing to the mainland. Currently just over 70 percent of production is in Italy with the remainder, mostly T-shirts, in Turkey.
“Our idea is that 30 percent of the collection will be produced in China so that we can be close to our partners. This will be practical as we will be able to get products to them very fast and will mean they don’t have to pay duty. But of course most will still be made in Italy,” he said.
The brand hopes to become a household name in Asia with stores to open across the region. Riccardi said the brand had already identified a partner in South Korea and is working on a partner for Japan with plans to open in these markets in about a year.