INNOVATION DRIVES FASHION FORWARD

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A Close Look into Chinese Designer Brand Business After the Epidemic

May 3,2020

As Covid-19 epidemic now well under control in China, the official trade platform of Shanghai Fashion Week, MODE Shanghai Apparel Trade Fair (hereinafter referred to as the "MODE Trade Fair"), officially opened its doors on April 27.

As the leading event in China's fashion industry, the MODE Trade Fair attracts hundreds of Chinese and foreign fashion brands every season. Luxe.co, as the official chief cooperative media outlet of the MODE Trade Fair, recently went behind the scenes and took an in-depth look at the fair’s operations.

On the one hand, Luxe.co found that MODE, which mainly fulfills orders via fashion buyers, quickly adjusted to open online and offline dual-track order channels. On the other hand, through local designer brands, we were able to get a glimpse of how Chinese niche design brands have responded to the epidemic and how local mid- to high-end fashion consumers behave.

Is Local Medium and High-end Fashion Consumption Affected?

During the epidemic, the demand for fashion apparel fell sharply as people self-quarantined at home. However, after communicating with buyers and shopkeepers in various regions, we learned that the purchasing behavior of mid- to high-end consumers has not changed much. At present, the fastest sales volume recovery is being witnessed in high-end clothing priced at around RMB 3,000.

Mu Jinming, co-founder of CREATORS SHOWROOM, was deeply touched by this. He said that with the gradual stabilization of the epidemic, sales of high-end apparel and accessories priced at more than 3,000 yuan in physical stores have returned to pre-epidemic levels.

Several fashion buyers from all over the country also said that during the epidemic, high-end consumers have maintained their previous shopping frequency and kept on picking new products. Moreover, their spending levels have not changed much.

Buyers in various regions have not been discouraged by the epidemic, but actively expanded their online sales channels and planning to be ready for a possible consumption rebound in the second half of this year and guarantee the same winter budget as previously. They have done this through the selection of more designs and unique products.

In general, fashion buyers are confident in their overall sales potential this year.

Four Local Designer Brands’ Responses to the Epidemic

Adapting to the home scene, expanding the categories, setting up a secondary line, and improving cost performance have become the four major measures with which local designers have actively responded to the epidemic.

The self-quarantining and working from home brought about by the epidemic has seen consumers prefer loose and comfortable clothing that can be adapted to both home and office scenarios. Therefore, many brands have adjusted accordingly. The owner of the brand At Dawn said, "Our design was originally fashion-oriented. This year we’ve used softer fabrics and made more adjustments in comfort. In this way, the clothes can be worn out and meet the requirements for the comfort of working at home. Several of our silk dresses can even be worn as pajamas. "

The brand MaQiAnShu, which specializes customized high-end dresses priced from 10,000 to 20,000 yuan, has added special accessories such as small jewelry and hats with a price range of 100-3000 yuan.

High-end outdoor apparel brand Trickcoo, whose popular jackets are priced from 3,000 yuan to 6,000 yuan, has decided to launch antibacterial sweaters in response to the epidemic. They will be priced at about 700 yuan.

The brand JUNNE LAU has launched the sub-line JUNNE & Eva. The host said, "We have adopted the name Eva to appeal to younger, energetic women, and the brand positioning is younger. The mainline products carry four-digit price tags, and the secondary line is limited to three digits. In this way, we hope to increase the brand’s sales. Besides launching the secondary line, we’ve also designed some very practical styles. "

MODE’s "Dual-track" Ordering System

To create a safe trading space this season, this year’s MODE Trade Fair implemented strict epidemic prevention and control measures, and the number of participating brands and visitors was reduced accordingly.

On the first day of the trade fair, fashion industry professionals accounted for 40% of the total number of participants. Many of these industry professionals were from the supply chain, brand, media, and commercial real estate fields.

Luxe.co learned that At Dawn, Flavors Don’t Lie, Nikita Cai, Capital K, Trickcoo, CREATORS SHOWROOM, and other brands and showrooms have reached cooperation agreements with more buyers through this trade fair.

They generally said that although the number of people at this MODE Trade Fair was lower, buyers were more targeted when placing orders. Ma Xiang, the principal of CREATORS SHOWROOM, told Luxe.co, "This time, there have been more than 50 new purchase inquiries, mainly with southern buyers. Compared with last year, the number of purchase orders on the first day of this year increased. The buyers’ goal is clear, orders are very efficient, and it has become a lot easier to do business. "

Furthermore, BYARN, STEVE&VIVIAN, Yan Wujie, and other brands have expanded their sales channels in second- and third-tier cities. JUNNE, Melissa & Roselia, and other brands at the MODE Trade Fair site also discussed future cross-border cooperation plans with industry professionals.

To help the brands and buyers who could not attend the event due to the epidemic, the MODE order system has fast-tracked the launch of the "cloud order" platform, mode:ec.

After logging in to the "cloud order" system, buyers can search for related products through product classification, keywords, and so on or scan the QR code of specific products, enter the details page, and collect products or place orders. After joining the platform, the brand can see data such as visitors and product collections, and can also automatically generate standardized electronic orders.

According to official reports, only three days after mode:ec was released, it attracted 100 brands and more than 300 buyers.

Zhang Jie, director of the new MODE ordering project, told Luxe.co, "mode:ec can be understood as an e-commerce platform specially set up for buyers and brands. After the MODE Trade Fair, the mode:ec platform will continue to operate and provide convenience for brands to launch new products at their own pace."

To narrow the distance with everyday consumers, this season's MODE Trade Fair also tried to cooperate with TikTok and Yi Live to open the cloud live room for the first time to invite Shanghai Radio and TV hosts, fashion anchors, and industry opinion leaders to share the creative concepts of the participating brands with the wider public.

Regarding this measure, the host of At Dawn told Luxe.co, "There are many viewers paying attention to the live broadcast, and the anchors will also focus on introducing the brand style and design inspiration. This is a good opportunity to publicize and help more people understand our brand. "

| Photo Credit: Shanghai Fashion Week Committee

| Editor: Maier

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