Free People today will unveil its first in-store shop in China, a 650-square-foot unit at Lab Concept Queensway Plaza in Hong Kong.
This story first appeared in the April 1, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Hong Kong shop, which is a partnership with Lab Concept, is part of the brand’s broader push into Asia. Last month, Free People opened three stores in Japan. The shop-in-shop will carry the brand’s complete clothing line and intimates collection.
The Hong Kong shop will stay true to the Free People aesthetic, with colorful decor and the handmade details the brand is known for, while incorporating elements specific to the space. The shop features sheesham and teakwood tables, as well as curtains hand-sewn from hundreds of individual squares of fabric. Caged twinkle lights hanging from cast-iron branches illuminate the store, playing on the theme of nature and the outdoors.
Free People in March opened freestanding retail locations across Japan, in Kyoto, Osaka and Funabashi City, Chiba. Additional openings are slated for the rest of this year as the company grows quickly in the Asian market, which it first entered in the fall with two store locations in Tokyo.
The Tokyo stores were instrumental in building momentum for Free People in the region. The brand also plans to have a presence in Korea.
“Lab Concept will open the first Free People shop to give Hong Kong customers a genuine, full experience of the Free People spirit,” said Morgan Tan, vice president of Lab Concept. “With its strong core values, we think Free People will have a devoted, ever-growing following in Hong Kong.”
Japan was Free People’s first international market. In June, the store opened an in-store shop at Selfridges in London. At the same time, Free People opened a 3,600-square-foot showroom in an old carriage house off nearby Marylebone High Street. Krissy Meehan-Mashinsky, global managing director of Free People wholesale, said at the time that the brand plans to open 75 points of sale in the U.K. and is also targeting Italy, Germany, Spain and France.
“We believe in measured and sustained growth, and that ultimately, the customer will determine when, where and how many stores we open,” said David Hayne, chief operating officer of Free People. “However, we do recognize our opportunity in Asia is significant, as it is in Europe, and we’re moving to realize this opportunity.”